Thinking of switching to a healthier diet? Go slow by substituting food you want out with a similar ingredient in taste or texture, but of a higher nutritional value. Check out these 7 easy food swaps to start you off!
1. Swap out Sugar for Honey
Processed sugar sits right at the tip of the food pyramid, making it advisable to consume minimally. Sugar is found in various common foods like chocolate bars, canned drinks, bubble tea and more. Though you can’t control the amount of sugar being put in readymade food, you can control your sugar intake when it comes to home-cooked recipes. Replace sugar with alternatives like honey (rich in antioxidants), red dates (packed with vitamin B and C) or substitute processed snacks with fruits.
2. Avocado over Butter
Butter is saturated fat and extremely high in calories. Saturated fat and calories can play a part in weight gain and the rise of unhealthy body cholesterol. Minimise the use of butter whenever possible and replace it with unsaturated fats like avocado or olive oil. These substitutes are known to be a good source of numerous minerals and vitamins, provide energy to the body and can reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Check out this easy Avocado Toast recipe!
3. Seeds and Nuts for crunch
Be it croutons in your salads or potato chips, seeds and nuts make a great substitute when you’re craving something crunchy. They are also known as a ‘superfood’ and are full of protein, fibre and healthy fats. They can be eaten as a snack, topped as a garnish, or baked with your favourite pastries. Each seed and nut also comes with its individual taste profile and crunch factor. Here are 7 seeds and nuts you should add to your diet and learn what each ingredient is good for.
4. Brown Rice instead of White Rice
Though it’s generally a known fact that consuming brown rice is better than white rice, many are still not too sure of the facts and information around this simple food swap. Brown rice contains a higher nutritional value in terms of fibre, antioxidant properties, essential minerals and vitamins as compared to white rice. The lack of nutrients in white rice is due to the removal of the bran and germ of the grain, which holds the main supply of minerals and nutrients. The consumption of white rice has also been linked to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in Asian countries, hence making brown rice the healthier option.
5. Homemade Salad Dressings
Store-bought salad dressings are often jam-packed with unhealthy unsaturated fats, sodium, sugar and calories, which defies the purpose of eating clean with a salad. Opt to make your own so you’ll be able to control the ingredients being used in the recipe, the taste and texture that you prefer and an overall assurance that you’re not undoing the good work made by your salad diet. Here is a compilation of 8 salad dressings you can make at home.
6. Trade Mayonnaise for Greek Yoghurt
The difference between mayonnaise and greek yoghurt is not too far off. They have the same texture and taste profile (tangy with a sweet aftertaste), which makes greek yoghurt the best substitute for almost all recipes requiring mayonnaise. Greek yoghurt also contains a higher proportion of essential nutrients like calcium for bone health, probiotics for gut health and definitely far less sodium than mayonnaise.
7. Use Lean Meat
For anyone striving for a set weight goal, replacing your usual proteins with lean meat like ground chicken (skinless) or ground turkey can set you off on the right path without needing to curb all intake of meat. Lean meat comes with a lower percentage of calories and fat while supplementing your body with the required proteins for everyday activities and exercise. When preparing your lean meat, remember to avoid adding any unnecessary fats or calories (such as butter) into the recipe and substitute as much as possible.