Easy Swaps to Make Meals Healthier

olive oil poured over bowl of vegetable salad

Most meals can be made healthier by swapping out little things, like cheese, for other alternatives. These alternatives can cut extra calories and provide more nutrients. Many items that you buy from the grocery store, like sauces, can be made easily at home, making them lower in oil and sugars. Follow some of these easy swaps to help make your meals healthier.

Salads:

Use salted nuts instead of croutons. These nuts are heart-healthy and contain good fats. Switch to a homemade dressing. These dressings can be made easily by combining olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar. You can use salt and pepper to up the taste without upping the calories. Stop using the salad dressing that you buy at the store.

Coffee:

If you are ordering anything other than black coffee, order iced coffee. Iced coffee has the minimal amount of calories, at least when it comes to the coffee shop. It can also contain a lot of antioxidants, which are very good for you. Stop ordering the frozen drinks like frappes. They are full of extra calories and are mostly made of sugar.

Breakfast:

Get into Greek yogurt. It is packed with protein and helps you to stay fuller for longer. It also has antioxidants. Greek yogurt has also bowl of greek yogurt with berries for breakfastbeen shown to provide better metabolic health. Stop eating regular yogurts with fruit in them. This fruit is sweetened with sugars so that they do not go bad. You will get less protein and eat more sugar. You can also fry up some eggs for breakfast. Eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are very good for you. They also have beta-carotene, another antioxidant that is very good for your body. Make sure that you are buying whole eggs and not just egg whites. Although egg whites are not terrible for you, a full egg contains more proteins, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Spaghetti, everyone’s favorite food:

You can replace spaghetti noodles with zucchini noodles. They are full of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and have minimal carbs. For your sauce you should make homemade tomato sauce. You can make a sauce by using cherry tomatoes with olive oil in a skillet. Throw in some garlic to add extra flavor. Stop buying the sauce from your grocery store. It is full of sugar and processed oils. For a topping, you can use nutritional yeast. It has protein, vitamin B, and protein. It is a yummy alternative to processed cheeses.

For a burger:

You can use a large mushroom cap, like a portobello instead of a bun. Grill up this mushroom cap for a full load of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals. If you use olive oil when you are grilling, it will add extra flavor. Burger buns are generally just empty calories. Even if you do not want to use a portobello mushroom, ditch the bun either way. You can top your burger with hummus instead of refined, calorie filled, sauces. You will get protein and fiber from this. The good news is, hummus comes in many flavors and you can pick one to compliment your favorite burger flavors.

For a taco:

Put your taco in a lettuce wrap instead of a tortilla. Lettuce has almost no calories and has essential nutrients for your diet. Flour tortillas are not great for you. Flour is a refined grain and is just empty calories that help you to gain weight, instead of lose it. It is calorie-dense and you should ditch it, even if you do not want to use lettuce.

For a dessert:

scooping peanut butter with spoon as dessertFor a dessert, so you can combat your sweet tooth without crashing your diet, you can eat a spoonful of peanut butter. For added flavor, top your peanut butter with cacao nibs, not cocoa nibs. Cacao nibs do not have sugar. They also have disease fighting flavanols, so it’s a win-win situation! Do not use milk chocolate chips, it will just be added sugar. Also look for organic peanut butters over other types.

For a snack:

For a snack eat cucumber slices. Cucumbers are mostly water, but they do have a small amount of fiber. They are also sturdy enough to use as a chip. Replace your chips for cucumbers and eat all the guacamole that you want, okay maybe not all that you want, but you get the point. Chips are very often over salted and contain oils that are unhealthy for you.

Foods to avoid:

  • You should avoid granola bars. They are a junk foods disguised as a health food. Yes, they do give you some nutrients, but overall they are full of processed sugars and fats.
  • Avoid bottled juices, especially those advertised to kids. These juices are generally chock full of sugar and will literally make your teeth rot. They are often disguised as healthy, because they are advertised to children, but believe me, they are not as healthy as they are advertised as.
  • Whole wheat bread that is packaged. Many times, the whole wheat bread that you pick up at the store is full of sugar so that it stays fresher for longer. You should look for whole grain breads instead, especially those that are made directly in the bakery.
  • Fake meat. This is already incredibly sketchy, but these fake meats are often full of processed ingredients. You never truly know what went into fake meat foods, so be weary of them all the time.
  • Gluten-free junk food. Even if the brownie claims to be gluten-free, it is still a brownie. Many people are gluten-free because they believe that it is healthier. It really isn’t, being gluten-free is more of a fad that doesn’t do all that much for you. Now, if you are gluten intolerant, all of these gluten-free foods are a lifesaver!

You should always talk to your doctor about your nutritional needs before you begin making any changes to your diet. You may be surprised by what your doctor recommends that you cut out and what you should keep.