Nowadays it’s easier than ever to eat better, healthier foods. There are so many options in the stores and you can even order food online if you can’t find it at your local shop. Furthermore, if your New Year’s resolution is to become healthier and lose weight you want healthier substitutes for everyday foods. Best thing about this is that you can substitute food and at the same time get more nutritional value while still keeping your meals tasty! Below is the list of foods you can switch next time you go shopping.
WHOLE GRAIN/BROWN RICE INSTEAD OF WHITE RICE.
One interesting fact about brown rice is that it is actually white rice that hasn’t been hulled. We get brown rice when the husk (the outermost layer of a grain of rice) is removed. White rice goes through more processing where the husk, the bran layer and the germ are removed.
White and brown rice are mainly similar when it comes to calorie and carbohydrate value. But when it comes to vitamins and minerals, brown rice has a great advantage. Since only the husk is removed, brown rice is whole grain and it’s a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine, niacin, vitamin B6 and manganese. Brown rice is also higher in fibre than white rice.
OATMEAL INSTEAD OF BREAKFAST CEREAL.
I know, breakfast cereals are far easier to make and they always taste good and delicious. But guess what? Oatmeal can taste just as delicious and it has great nutritional value. Furthermore, breakfast cereals are packed with sugar, refined carbs and they’re processed in so many ways. On the other hand, oats are a natural, single ingredient with nothing added. So take extra 10 minutes in the morning to make yourself a healthy oatmeal breakfast.
If you’re working on losing weight, oatmeal can help you with that. Oats are rich in soluble fibre which means they keep us feeling full for longer because our bodies take longer to digest it. In addition, oatmeal is a great source of protein and carbohydrates that will boost your energy.
Now, the important thing is that you don’t buy those packets with oatmeal already made, where you just have to warm it up in the microwave. That kind of oatmeal is just as bad as the breakfast cereal. Buy 100% natural whole grain oats. They can be rolled or steel-cut, the choice is yours!
COMBINE SWEET POTATO AND REGULAR POTATO.
Choosing between the two potato varieties is up to you and your current meal plan or goals you want to achieve. This is one ingredient you don’t have to swap but it would be good to switch between them every week or two. The only reason I’m saying this is because both of the potatoes are fairly similar in nutritional value. However, when it comes to nutrients and minerals, they vary slightly.
For example, 100g of baked white potato has 93 kcal, while baked sweet potato has 90 kcal. Potato is a starchy food so most of the calories come from the carbohydrates. You get pretty much the same amount of carbs from both potatoes, but sweet potato has a slightly higher fibre count.
When it comes to vitamins, sweet potato has far more vitamin A then white potato. One serving of sweet potato provides 384 percent of your recommended daily vitamin A intake. Sweet potato is also higher in vitamin C. On the other hand, white potato contains more folate then sweet potato. White potato is also better source of iron and potassium.
WHOLE GRAIN PASTA INSTEAD OF WHITE.
So far in my life I haven’t met a person who doesn’t like pasta. However, it seems that white pasta is tastier to a lot of people. If you haven’t tried whole grain pasta yet, I suggest you do. Here are the reasons why.
Like I mentioned before, all rice is whole grain at the beginning. It’s the same case with pasta. White pasta you’re eating was once whole grain, it was just processed a few more times to remove a couple of outer layers. These layers that are removed contain a lot of good nutritional value and that’s why whole grain pasta is always a better choice than white pasta.
Whole grain pasta contains more fibre, more phosphorus and magnesium. When it comes to carbohydrate and fat content, both pastas have similar value. If you don’t like the taste of whole grain pasta, try making a half-half bowl. Half white pasta, half whole grain. Gradually increase the whole grain pasta ratio until you get used to the taste of it.
NOTE: When you’re buying pasta, check the ingredients and make sure it says “whole grain”or “whole wheat”.
EAT NUTS AS A SNACK AND FRUIT INSTEAD OF SWEETS.
This might sound very simple but I understand it is a lot harder to actually do it. The easiest way to make this swap is to get rid of all the bad foods you have. Any chocolate, candy, cookies, crisps or chips, get it out of your sight.
Instead, get a fruit bowl, fill it with bananas, apples, nectarines, pears, any fruit that you like and make sure it’s always within your reach. It goes the same for crisps/chips substitutes aka nuts. If you’re the type of person that eats better if things look nice, go and buy a couple of cute jars. In each jar place something different. For example, one jar for almonds, another for walnuts, hazelnuts, etc…
You can also buy frozen fruit and make delicious smoothies. This will satisfy your sweet cravings but it will also nourish your body with different vitamins. And for those times when you’re really craving a bag of chips/crisps make yourself popcorn. If you can’t make it, then buy air-popped popcorn.
DITCH SODA AND FIZZY DRINKS. TRY TEA AND WATER INSTEAD.
You’re probably aware of how much sugar is in a soda can, you probably know all the bad influences it can have on your health, yet you can’t find a way to stop drinking it. First thing you can try is switch to diet soda. Diet soda is unhealthy as well but it has less or zero sugar and is free from calories.
Next step is to set yourself a limit. Let’s say you drink 3 cans per week. As you feel more determined, reduce the number to 1 or 0 cans per week. When you’re ready, switch from diet soda to tea and water.
Nowadays we have endless tea flavours, and if you don’t like plain water you can add fruit and veggies to it for flavour. Green, black and white tea particularly stand out as they are the most beneficial teas out there.
Teas are full of antioxidants, they contain less caffeine than coffee, they can boost your immune system and soothe the digestive system. On the other hand, we know fresh water is the best way to stay hydrated, healthy and happy. So work your way to increasing your water intake.
As always, if you have any other tips, recommendations or advice on this topic, please leave it in the comment section below,