We could probably all use a little more healthy eating, but there are so many traditional nutrition swaps that it’s kind of a bummer (no, rice cakes are not an acceptable substitute for rice pudding, thank you very much). Adding more wholesome, plant-based foods that you actually enjoy eating is ultimately the key to sustainably cleaning up your diet. Here, you’ll find delicious food swaps alongside a selection of healthy recipes—precisely zero sad rabbit food suggested.
Omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fats that raise good cholesterol (HDL) and lower bad cholesterol (LDL), can be found in abundance in walnuts (HDL).
Try this: Include some walnuts, dried figs, and anise seeds in your bag for a nutritious on-the-go snack. (The anise releases flavour as the ingredients sit together.) Or you can try this recipe for Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts.
The whites offer up protein with little calories (and zero fat or cholesterol) (and zero fat or cholesterol). Egg yolks get a bad rap, but don’t skip them—they are awash with vitamin B12 and vitamin A, and they contain choline, a nutrient that’s particularly important for pregnant women. 3
Do this: Make a sandwich with whole-grain bread, sliced hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, olives, anchovies, red onion, and a drizzle of olive oil. Or try Italian Baked Eggs.
Another cholesterol-fighting food high in fibre. Use pearl or quick-cooking varieties on weeknights. More time? Give hulled barley, with its extra layer of bran, a try.
Try this: Add sautéed mushrooms and sherry vinegar to cooked barley. A different option is Chicken Thighs with Barley and Peas.
Think calcium, B vitamins, and beta-carotene when thinking about how nutrient-dense chard is. This leafy green fuels your body with fiber, too.
Try this: Sauté chopped chard with sliced garlic, then toss with whole-grain pasta and raisins. Or try Swiss Chard With Chickpeas and Couscous.
Sweet treats such as cookies, cakes and pastries get their delicious flavour from a host of bad-for-you ingredients like sugar and white flour, as well as butter, margarine or hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. To fulfil your sweet desire, consider a piece of dark chocolate instead. Isuk explains that the flavanols found in cocoa, the primary component of chocolate, help lower blood pressure and enhance blood vessel function.
While dark chocolate still has fat, sugar and high calories, in moderation it’s a healthier dessert than most choices at your local bakery. Research suggests that eating chocolate a few times a week could reduce your risk of experiencing heart attack, stroke or chest pain by 11 percent.
Broil or grill salmon instead of steak.
Steaks, hamburgers, and hot dogs are frequently the first foods we consider when it comes to grilling. But the saturated fat content of those meats raises levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDL-C), or “bad” cholesterol, in the blood. A major risk factor for heart disease is having high levels of LDL cholesterol.
The better choice? Grill salmon or albacore tuna — and choose a steak cut for your fish instead of a fillet. (It is a thick, hearty cut that won’t crumble when grilled.) Both varieties of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce blood fat levels and artery plaque development.
7.Nuts or Seeds
The addition of a crunchy topping improves any salad. Swap in nuts or seeds for croutons on a salad for a healthy alternative packed with nutrition. Nuts and seeds have more fibre, protein and nutrients than plain croutons. Additionally, they have less sodium per ounce than plain croutons—5 milligrammes per ounce of pumpkin seeds as opposed to 200 milligrammes per ounce.
Despite the fact that these foods share many of the same ingredients, trail mix contains all of the good fats, protein, and nutrients found in snack bars without the additional sugar that is used to sweeten and keep the bars together. The combination of healthy ingredients in trail mix also means that you won’t crash an hour later due to too much sugar that spikes then quickly drops blood sugar. Instead, your energy levels will be sustained throughout the afternoon. As an added bonus, trail mix won’t melt if left in a backpack on a hot day! Create your own trail mix to make it more inexpensive and meet your taste preferences.
While chips taste wonderful, they’re filled with very little nutrition and have high fat, high sodium and very few healthy elements. When you’re in the want for something salty and crunchy, choose one of these healthier alternatives:
Nuts: Nuts contain heart-healthy, unsaturated fats along with fibre and other nutrients (just don’t overdo it). Almonds are my favourite!
Air-Popped Popcorn: Swap in this light and crunchy whole grain snack that has more fibre than potato chips.
Roasted Chickpeas: Chickpeas are loaded in fibre and magnesium, which is helpful for blood sugar regulation and neurological function.