Be it for your heart health, shedding those extra pounds, or, just to boost your immunity, small changes in your eating style can go a long way. When you want to lose quickly, it is tempting to sign up for crash-course or restrictive diets. These may work in the short-term, but they aren’t sustainable in the long-term and can even negatively impact your health. Also, they come with rules and guess what nobody likes rules, especially with food! Following rules in your diet can be tiring and challenging. But, worry not, smart eating always makes our life better. Let us discuss 10 healthy and smart food swaps to maintain your health and keep those extra pounds in check.
Eating whole fruit instead of drinking juice
Most of us have the habit of consuming fruit juice in the morning or post-workout. Let’s change this habit. A glass of orange juice contains very little of the pulp and the fiber content is low or not there at all. So, skip the glass and go for the real fruits – apples, oranges, grapes, guavas – to reap the full nutritional benefits (full fiber, natural sugar, vitamins, etc.).
Mushroom sauce yay! Canned gravy nay!
Canned gravy is high in sodium, causing more harm than good to your health. Per many public health forums, excess sodium can increase your blood volume and even put a strain on your heart and blood vessels. On the contrary, mushrooms are a good source of Vitamins B and D that boost your metabolism.
Tip to make the mushroom sauce: Sauté diced mushrooms and add about a cup of no-added-salt chicken or vegetable stock with a tablespoon of tahini (a healthier swap for sour cream). This gives that thick creamy texture and is much low in calories than the regular canned gravy.
Swap white rice with brown rice
Not that white rice has anything wrong in it, but brown rice has more fiber. A small amount of brown rice can make you feel fuller than twice the amount of white rice. This helps in fewer calorie intakes as well as boost up the metabolism. White rice is not amongst the unhealthiest option. What makes it not a healthier choice is that it offers absolutely zero nutritional value in your diet. Another healthier option is ‘cauliflower rice’ or ‘farro’.
Choose wholemeal/rye bread over white bread
Bread has almost become a staple for most of us. Be it in the breakfast, or something to go with coffee in the afternoon, even a bite with pasta; we all love breaking bread. Hence, we don’t have to ditch bread to improve our diet, instead choose a healthier option to substitute the white bread with. Again, the high fiber levels in wholemeal or rye bread make them a better option against white bread. The way wholemeal or rye bread is digested also means that the sugar, which turns into energy, is released into the bloodstream much more slowly than in white bread, too.
Swap butter with olive oil
Olive oil has many benefits beyond the flavors that it adds to the food. It is rich in monosaturated fats (good fat that can help to lower LDL cholesterol) instead of saturated fats. It contains zero trans-fat and is even free of cholesterol, sugar, salt, and gluten, making it a better alternative than butter. Many studies have also found that dunking your bread in olive oil could cut your heart attack risk.
Let’s go for poached more than fried eggs!
Weekend breakfast can’t ever be complete without eggs, but let’s make our weekend brekkie healthier by ditching the butter or oil and be a little experimental with the eggs. Boiled eggs are a good option, but I understand it is boring. Meanwhile, well-cooked poached eggs (without oil/butter) placed rightly on a wholemeal bread slice, sprinkled with parsley and goat cheese will definitely make your mouth water. This is a much healthier way to start your weekend!
Caffeinate with a cold brew
If you are looking to trim your love handles, then a pure black blend with no added sugars would be the best bet. A cold brew (with no added sugars) will serve you right for that morning jolt you need as well as take care of the calorie count.
Sweeten with cinnamon
A day starting with the right energy carries it throughout. Hence, starting the day with sweetness means your body will crave for it the whole day. Rather than loading your morning coffee with sugar or other artificial sweeteners, try sprinkling cinnamon, which helps in regulating blood-glucose levels. So, now your morning good old cup of Joe will also have metabolism-boosting benefits. Say bye-bye to those M&M cravings!
Say yes to nuts and no to chips
That bag of chips which is too irresistible right now is full of sodium, saturated and trans fats. This unfortunately contributes to the buildup of plaque on the inner walls of your arteries, increasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Apart from that refined carbohydrates found in chips spike your blood sugar levels. The healthy way to satiate your snacks hunger is to try a handful of nuts instead of that bag of chips. Regular eating of nuts reduces the risk of heart diseases. But too much of anything is still harmful given you to tend to increase the calorie count. So, make sure to eat a small portion (probably an ounce) rather than mindless munching.
What to do with the sweet tooth? Let’s go dark!
Sweet treats such as cookies, cakes, and pastries get their delicious flavor from a host of unhealthy ingredients like sugar and white flour, as well as butter, margarine or hydrogenated oils, which are high in trans fats. To satisfy your sweet tooth, try a piece of dark chocolate instead. Dark chocolate still has fat, sugar, and high calories, but when consumed in moderation, it’s a healthier dessert choice than all the bakery items.
Eating right is a way for us to take small steps towards being healthy and have a disease-free world. Filling your body with junk only to make it suffer ten folds is not a cool way to live life. Let’s spend lesser time in hospitals and nursing homes and more with life living it to the fullest. Eat, travel, laugh, and live!