28 Oct Swap it Out: 6 Healthy Food Swaps for Everyday Eating
Sugary cereals, white bread, soda, granola bars, and energy drinks are examples of foods and beverages that many people consume daily.
Although these items may be convenient and tasty, they can harm your health if consumed regularly.
Fortunately, healthier substitutes for many of these items are easy to buy or make at home.
Here are 6 healthy swaps for everyday food and drinks.
1 Instead of coffee creamer use a homemade, low sugar creamer
Creamer gives coffee a smooth, sweet taste and comes in a variety of scrumptious flavors, such as pumpkin spice and peppermint mocha.
But it’s typically packed with artificial colors, preservatives, and thickeners like carrageenan — not to mention the added sugar, often in the form of high-fructose corn syrup, a sweetener linked to several negative health effects like an increased risk of weight gain.
Swapping out creamer is surprisingly simple. For a dairy-free, limited-ingredient creamer alternative that’s low in added sugar, use this simple but delicious recipe:
- One 13.5-ounce (400-ml) can of whole or reduced fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of maple syrup (or more to taste)
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vanilla extract
Simply place the ingredients in a bottle or glass mason jar and shake well. Keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze in ice cube trays for long-term storage.
If you want to experiment with other flavors, try adding a dash of cinnamon or coconut extract. For a seasonal twist, add a spoonful of pumpkin purée and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice.
Shake your creamer well before using it.
2 Drink sparkling water, green tea, or kombucha instead of soda
The negative health effects of soda and other sugary beverages have been confirmed through years of scientific research.
Although many people think that switching to diet soda is the best option, it may also increase your risk of conditions like metabolic syndrome and stroke.
Plain water is your best bet for staying hydrated throughout the day, but if you drink soda regularly, consider trying these:
- Infused sparkling water. Toss slices of your favorite fruits into a bottle of sparkling water for a flavorful, healthy soda substitute.
- Sparkling green tea. If you’re craving a caffeine fix, sparkling green tea brands like SOUND or Minna contain far less sugar than soda. You can also make your own using this recipe.
- Kombucha. For a kick of subtle sweetness with the added health benefits of probiotics, grab a low sugar kombucha. Brew Dr.’s Clear Mind and Ginger Turmeric flavors contain only 10 grams of sugar per 14-ounce (415-ml) serving.
3 Try oatmeal, chia pudding, or a yogurt parfait instead of sugary cereal
For a healthier alternative, choose one of the following high protein, high fiber breakfasts:
Healthy Breakfast Alternatives
- Oatmeal. Oatmeal is a natural cereal alternative that’s high in fiber and protein. Try to use plain, rolled, or steel-cut oats and nutritious toppings like berries, nuts, unsweetened coconut, and nut butter.
- Chia pudding. For a slightly sweet but fiber-packed meal that’s kid-friendly, try this delicious, high protein chia pudding recipe.
- Yogurt parfait. Layer whole or 2% plain Greek yogurt with fresh berries, unsweetened coconut, and crushed almonds for a filling breakfast option.
4 Choose a healthy or homemade granola bar
Granola bars are a go-to snack choice for many people. Yet, most popular granola bars are filled with added sugars and other sweet ingredients, such as chocolate chips or candy coatings.
All the same, several brands manufacture healthy choices. Thunderbird, RX, Purely Elizabeth, and Autumn’s Gold granola bars are a few examples that use whole foods and pack plenty of protein and fiber.
Additionally, you can try out a homemade granola bar recipe, such as this one. It’s low in added sugar and uses healthy ingredients like nuts, oats, seeds, coconut, and dried fruit.
5 Enjoy sliced veggies, homemade veggie chips, or roasted chickpeas instead of chips
With their salty taste and crunchy texture, chips are a highly satisfying snack.
However, fresh, sliced vegetables like cucumber, carrots, celery, radishes, and daikon also provide a satisfying crunch — and they’re loaded with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Pair your veggies with a nutrient-dense dip like guacamole, hummus, or black bean dip for a filling, flavorful snack.
Here are a few more healthy chip substitutes:
- Kale chips. Low in calories but packed with nutrients, kale chips come in various flavors. You can also make your own cheesy kale chips by following this recipe.
- Beet chips. Beets are brightly colored vegetables that offer several benefits, such as reducing inflammation and boosting heart health. They’re delicious when made into nutrient-dense, crunchy chips (recipe).
- Roasted chickpeas. Chickpeas are loaded with fiber and magnesium — a mineral that’s important for blood sugar control and nerve function. Follow this recipe to make crispy chickpeas for a perfect chip alternative.
- You can also make plantains, zucchinis, parsnips, eggplant, carrots, and radishes into nutritious chips in the oven.
By roasting thin slices of potato or sweet potato, you can craft a healthier alternative to store-bought potato chips, which are often high in calories, oils, and salt.
6 Try whole grain, sprouted breads or grain-free alternatives instead of white bread
Lots of people prefer the soft, pillowy texture of white bread over heartier breads like whole wheat or rye. Yet, like all refined grain products, white bread offers little nutritional value, as it’s low in fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
If you’re looking for a healthier bread, choose a whole grain, sprouted type, such as Ezekiel bread. It’s high in protein and fiber, and the sprouting process may increase the availability of certain nutrients and reduce the bread’s effect on your blood sugar levels.
And here’s some more ideas:
- Sweet potato toast. Thin, toasted slices of sweet potato make an excellent substitute for white bread. Sweet potato toast is not only highly nutritious but also versatile, as it can be topped with almost any ingredient.
- Swiss chard or lettuce wraps. Wrapping sandwich ingredients in a leaf of Swiss chard or romaine lettuce can significantly reduce your calorie intake. Plus, these leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Portobello mushroom caps. Portobello mushrooms are packed with nutrients like B vitamins, fiber, and selenium. Furthermore, they’re low in calories.
- Butternut squash toast, cauliflower bread, flax bread, and 100% rye bread are other healthy options that you can use in place of white bread.