So, you’ve finally made the decision to take charge of your health, change your diet and get healthier! Great!
But where do you start?
What do you eat?
And what about all your favourite foods and snacks?! Is this the end of burgers and ice cream?!…
Let’s be honest, the benefits of eating a healthy diet sound very appealing (hello glowing skin and hot body!) but the thought of giving up ice cream, chocolate and pizza and instead living on cauliflower rice, zoodles and wheatgrass shots may not seem so exciting!
By the way, I CAN’T stand cauliflower rice, zoodles and wheatgrass shots and I’m just (trying) being funny here! You don’t actually have to eat cauliflower rice, zoodles and wheat grass shots to be “healthy”.
Being healthy NEVER has to be boring, bland and restrictive and there’re plenty of healthy recipes that are so delicious, it will blow your mind! I promise! I should know because I’m a big foodie because #foodislife and I can’t stand tasteless bland food!
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked…back to what I was saying… basically, you can still enjoy your favourite food and snacks whilst following a healthy diet. The key is to pick healthier options and the simple way to do this is to buy, prepare and cook healthy versions of the foods you already eat. Below are my top 8 healthy food swaps:
1.Cow’s Milk for Plant-Based Milk
Cow’s milk is so unhealthy and linked to a number of health issues including acne, allergies, eczema, sinus problems, weight gain/obesity and hormonal-related cancers such prostate, ovarian and breast cancer. If that’s not bad enough, it also contains hormones, antibiotics and pus (eeww!).
Ditch the cow’s milk and swap it for plant-based milk instead. There’s almond, soy, coconut, oat, hazelnut, hemp, quinoa, rice and cashew milk available in the market. That’s plenty of options and your bound to find one or a few that you love. My top favourites are soy milk and almond milk, they both taste so delicious!
2.White Refined Sugar for Coconut Sugar
Apart from its taste, there’s nothing sweet about refined sugar! Its high in calories but contains no nutrients hence why it’s referred to as “empty calories”. It’s very addictive and linked to a number of health issues including weight gain/obesity, tooth decay and type 2 diabetes.
The best swap for refined sugar is coconut sugar, which is an unrefined product and contains fibre, vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium.Also unlike white sugar, coconut sugar has a low glycemic index which helps balance blood sugar level in the body.
3.Refined Grains for Whole Grains
Always opt for whole grains over refined grain as whole grains are loaded with nutrients, provide amazing health benefits and even reduce risks of certain chronic diseases. Refined grains, however, are not so healthy and are stripped of certain vitamins and minerals, including all fibre and most of the iron and B vitamins during the refining process.
Refined grains include white rice, white flour and other products made from white flour such as white bread, rolls and sandwich buns. Whole grains are brown rice, oatmeal, millet, quinoa and other products made with whole-grains such as brown bread and whole grain pasta.
4.Fruit Juice for Fruit Smoothies
When fruits are juiced the fibre is removed and the fruit sugars become more concentrated which spikes up blood sugar levels in the body when consumed. Most of us don’t get enough fibre in our diet and because fibre plays such an important role in health, weight management and even disease prevention, it’s important to make sure we’re eating high fibre foods every day, so drinking fruit juice seems counterproductive when eating the whole fruit is much better for our health.
If you do, however, fancy having a fruity beverage, then swap fruit juice for fruit smoothies, which are super healthy as they’re made using whole fruits and still contain the fibre along with vitamins and beautifying minerals.
When you make a fruit smoothie at home, you can even add leafy green vegetables and turn it into a green smoothie. Click here to learn about the incredible benefits of green smoothies.
5.Meat for Beans and Legumes
All meat (including chicken and fish) is very unhealthy as it contains saturated fat and cholesterol, which contributes to weight gain and puts you at a high risk of developing obesity, heart disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Eliminate meat from your diet, as it’s not only unhealthy but also unethical and unsuitable for the planet. Swap the meat in your favourite meat-based dishes with beans and legumes, which are high in protein, are satiating and don’t contain artery-clogging fats and actually minimise the risk of developing chronic diseases.
As well as beans and legumes, there is tempeh and tofu (both made from soybeans), which are also a great alternative to meat as they both have a “meaty “ texture.
6.Mayonnaise for Avocado
We all know that mayonnaise is far from healthy. It’s loaded with high amount of cholesterol (from the eggs) and contains cheap vegetable oils, which cause inflammation in the body and are linked to obesity and chronic diseases. It also contains refined sugar (Yes, Most, if not all, mayo brands contain sugar! Check the labels.), and other processed ingredients as well as additives and preservatives.
Now, with the rise of veganism, there’re many vegan versions of mayonnaise in the market made without eggs, which are way better but they still contain oils and other processed ingredients and since our aim is to stick to eating predominately whole foods for optimum health, the best mayo swap is avocados.
They’re creamy, delicious and taste great in mayo alternative recipes. You can use mashed avocado as a spread on toast and sandwiches, or use it in a potato salad dish instead of the mayo. You can also make countless delicious, healthy dips and salad dressings using avocados. They’re so versatile and nutritious and are one of the top everyday superfoods and contain amazing health and beauty benefits.
7.Dairy Ice Cream for Banana Ice Cream
Dairy ice cream made from cow’s milk is not only high in saturated fat and cholesterol, but it’s also loaded with processed white sugar other processed ingredients, additives and preservatives. It may taste good but it’s one of the worst things you can eat and it’s extremely high in fat. And I’m talking about the bad kind of fats here… the fats linked to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes! Yikes!
But worry not fellow ice cream lovers! You don’t have to give up ice cream for good to be healthy because there is a healthy alternative, which is… Banana Ice Cream, also called “nice” cream or nana ice cream.
It’s made using frozen bananas as a base and mixed with varies fruits, nuts and even spices such as cinnamon and/or vanilla depending on what flavour you want it. Banana ice cream is just as thick, creamy and delicious as dairy ice cream, but it won’t make you fat and will actually help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Also because it’s healthy, you can eat as much of it as you want, whenever you want with no guilt feelings involved! Ice cream for breakfast anyone??!
8.Chocolate for Organic Raw Cacao
You may have heard that chocolate is good for you and has many health benefits and this is actually true!… BUT it’s the organic raw cacao that contains the health benefits, not cocoa, which is the processed version of cacao. Cocoa is heated at a very high temperature, which results in nutrient-loss, including antioxidants.
When cocoa is made into commercial chocolate bars and other chocolate flavoured snacks and deserts, other processed and unhealthy ingredients are also added such as heaps of refined sugar, dairy, vegetable fats/oil, additives and preservatives, which is why commercial chocolate snacks and desserts are unhealthy and promote weight gain.
So, if you love anything and everything chocolate flavoured, stay away from cocoa-based products and opt for raw, organic cacao-based products instead. You can even get organic cacao powder and make your own, homemade chocolate flavoured snacks and desserts.
I make a delicious chocolate flavoured vegan milkshake from time to time, which has 3 ripe bananas and 2 tablespoons of cacao powder blended with 1 cup of soy milk. It takes 2 minutes to make, it tastes like heaven and it’s healthy! Go ahead and try the recipe, you can Thank me later! 😉
So there’re the 8 healthy foods swaps. Any comments or questions? Leave them in the comment box!
P.s Don’t forget to sign up for my FREE 7 Day Green Smoothie E-course!