8 Food Swaps That Will Change Your Eating Habits

Eating Healthy Can Be Easy

Cacao Nibs Add a Healthy Sweetness

Trying to adapt to a full-blown diet can be difficult. It can also get pretty pricey and time-consuming with all the organic, healthy food and meal preparation. An easy way to introduce healthy habits into your life is food substitution! There are a lot of foods out there that taste absolutely delicious but maybe aren't the best for you. This is where food substitution comes in. You can enjoy delicious foods you've always enjoyed, guilt-free and without flare ups.

Switch out brown or white rice with quinoa. Rice isn't necessarily bad for you, but quinoa holds more nutritional value. While a cup brown rice has 5 grams of protein and a cup of white rice has 4 grams of protein, a cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein. A cup of brown rice has 3.5 grams of fiber, and white rice has 1.2 grams of fiber; a cup of quinoa has 5 grams of fiber. Quinoa is also great in a pinch, as it cooks two times faster than rice typically does. Because of quinoa's high nutritional value, it helps people feel more satisfied and helps with portion control.

Ditch regular bacon for turkey bacon. Pork bacon may smell delicious, but it actually carries a lot of unnecessary fat and sodium. Three pieces of pork bacon hold 9 grams of fat with 3 of the grams being saturated fat. Three pieces of turkey bacon, on the other hand, hold 4.5 grams of fat, with 1.5 grams saturated fat. Three pieces of pork bacon have 576 milligrams of sodium, while three pieces of turkey bacon hold 405 milligrams of sodium. A bonus of turkey bacon? It shrinks less than regular bacon! However, keep these processed meats as a Saturday or Sunday morning treat, as both of these types of bacon are cured with sodium nitrate, which increases your risk of developing certain cancers. 

Swap out sour cream with plain Greek yogurt. While these two foods are essentially the same, Greek yogurt has more nutritional value than your average sour cream. The non or reduced fat options are the ones you should gravitate towards most often. A cup of nonfat Greek yogurt contains 133 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 8 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of reduced fat sour cream contains 416 calories, 32 grams of fat, and 16 grams of carbohydrates. Greek yogurt also has the benefit of having higher grams of protein than sour cream, along with a higher dose of vitamin B-12. 

Switch up the sugar with stevia or honey. Average table sugar is an ingredient found in nearly everything tasty. Sugar can be hard to cut out of your life, so try introducing stevia and honey to your diet. While honey is not necessarily better in calories than sugar, it contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your health. Also, when purchased locally, can help with your pesky pollen allergies. However, the best sugar alternative is stevia. Stevia is an herb used as a non-caloric sweetener, that does not contain any vitamins or nutrients. Since it comes from a natural herb, it doesn’t taste like all of those other artificial sweeteners out there. 

Swap regular chocolate for cacao nibs. We’ve heard for years that consuming dark chocolate is better than milk chocolate (which is still true!) but there is something better: cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are roasted cacao beans that have a chocolatey taste but are not as sweet as regular chocolate. From cacao nibs, you can soak up nutrients you wouldn't otherwise get from a candy bar. One ounce of cacao nibs contains 9 grams of fiber, 6% of your recommended daily iron intake, along with more antioxidants than you'd normally get from dark chocolate. 

Try zucchini noodles instead of pasta. If you’re cutting down on carbohydrates (or can’t eat gluten) but you want to enjoy the wonders of spaghetti, try zucchini noodles! A cup of cooked spaghetti contains 220 calories and 43 grams of carbs, while a cup of spiral zucchini is 33 calories and 6 grams of carbs. Cooking zucchini noodles is pretty easy (if you wish to cook them); all it takes is a few minutes of stir-frying with whatever seasonings or sauce you want. Cooking them too long causes them to lose their color, shape, and firmness. 

Eat frozen fruit instead of ice cream treats. It’s no secret that snacking on fruit is better than any other sweet treat around. But freezing your fruits can be a great substitute for ice cream or sugary ice pops. Most of the time, we find ourselves unable to finish our bunch of bananas before they go bad. When your bananas are perfectly speckled peel them and throw them in the freezer. Whenever you feel a craving for ice cream, throw those frozen bananas into a blender for a creamy treat. This is also a great trick for people allergic or intolerant to dairy. Frozen grapes are also a nice treat with a similar texture to ice pops.

Ditch cow’s milk for almond milk. Unsweetened almond milk is low in calories and free of cholesterol, saturated fat, and lactose. While whole milk contains 146 calories in one cup, almond milk contains 60 calories. Almond milk is also low in sodium and high in healthy fats, which is only beneficial to your health. However, if you're drinking cow's milk for the protein or calcium, it's probably not the best option to use this substitution as almond milk lacks them. 

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