Eating well is vital to a person’s success in remaining healthy, but most importantly, it’s how to model good habits for our children. As with several things in life, it is significantly easier to talk about eating better than it is to actually eat better. I’ve found that it is easier to stick to my goals if I choose to just swap out a few things as opposed to overhauling my entire diet. Today, I’d like to look at my top five swap items that help me stay healthy.
1. Swap in Olive Oil Instead of Butter
Not all fat is bad, and, let’s be honest, if you’re cooking your own meals, you often probably find yourself using butter to grease the pan. I started using olive oil instead, and the taste difference is minimal. More importantly, olive oil has less than a third of the saturated fat that is in butter. Just don’t forget, even olive oil has to be used in moderation!
2. Swap in Low Fat Dairy Instead of Full Fat Dairy
I love yogurt, cheese, and milk. If you asked me to stop eating it, there’s no way I could fathom it. But, if there’s a healthier way to have some of my favorite snacks, I can definitely get on board with that. When you select low-fat dairy in lieu of full-fat dairy, you cut some more saturated fat from your diet and potentially lower your blood pressure. With the stress of busy lives, who couldn’t benefit from lower blood pressure?
3. Swap in Red Pepper Slices with Hummus Instead of Pita with Hummus
Hummus is a super important snack in our house, but I knew the pita I often ate with it wasn’t doing me any favors. Enter crudités. I love fresh veggies, and my absolute favorite veggie to snack on is red bell pepper. I can slice it up and eat it plain, or I can dip it in hummus to add a little more staying power to my snack. Red bell pepper has high levels of vitamins A and C, and it is also an excellent source of fiber.
4. Swap in Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Sliced Strawberries Instead of Strawberry Yogurt
Yogurt is one of my favorite breakfast options. I have a hard time with the “fruit” at the bottom of most yogurt cups, so I loved making this swap to Greek yogurt and fresh fruit. Greek yogurt has nearly twice the protein of most traditional style yogurts, and fresh strawberries boost your breakfast with antioxidants. I find it easier to continue eating well throughout the day when I start with a great breakfast, and this is a fantastic option!
5. Swap in Cheese and an Apple Instead of Cheese and Crackers
Cheese and crackers is an easy snack that I used to love, but I never felt full for long. By pure accident, I stumbled onto the idea of having an apple with my cheese instead. My favorite combination is a Honeycrisp apple with Manchego cheese. Apples are a great source of vitamin C and fiber, and whole fruit is a great way to round out any well-balanced diet.
There are so many opportunities to swap a healthy alternative into your diet, but it important that you find the swaps that will work for you for the long-term. Take some time today to review your meal plan for the week and look for your own healthy swaps. I promise they’re there! Then, let me know which swap you plan to put into place first. Even better, what are some new ones I can try?