When you think about a healthy diet do images of brussel sprouts and asparagus float through your head? Maybe you envision endless hours in the kitchen, chopping and prepping. To some extent, I guess that is true, but there are some healthy food swaps you can make that don’t require endless hours in the kitchen.
First let me start with my definition of healthy. I’m not one to cut out whole food groups, so you won’t see me being anti-dairy or meat. I mainly focus on eating foods that are as close to the way the good Lord made them as possible. That means I try to avoid artificial colors and flavors and stay away from refined flours and sugars. At the risk of being a hypocrite, I will say that there are times that I eat something processed. It’s not an all or nothing for me, it’s more of a “do the best you can” lifestyle. I also believe the journey to being healthy is a marathon, not a sprint so I’m all about the baby steps. So just keep those things in mind as you see my healthy food swaps.
Oatmeal swaps are WAY easier than you think. Flavored instant oatmeal implies that it’s significantly faster than old-fashioned oatmeal, but did you know that traditional oatmeal only takes 5 minutes on the stove? That’s for a whole pot, not just a small packet. They can also be made in the microwave. Simply add a healthy sweetener and some fruit and you have a delicious bowl of oatmeal that’s WAY healthier than the store bought flavored stuff. While “instant” oatmeal isn’t horrible the “flavorings” add a whole lot of sugar and other junk that I try to stay away from.(Related Reading: Quick & Easy Blueberry Oatmeal)
Now I will be completely honest here, I love white potatoes, I really do. Despite my desire to eat healthier, they still find their way to my table. However, not near as often. What do I swap for? Sweet potatoes or radishes. Radishes…yuck, right? Not so. If you throw these little jewels in a crockpot with a roast they are delicious! Another cool swap is a sweet potato. These are healthier than a regular white potato and much kinder to your blood sugar. Plus they add some nutrients that you can’t get from a white potato. I believe that both have their place in our diets, but don’t get stuck in a white potato rut! (For more info on sweet potatoes and white potatoes check out this post from Cleveland Clinic.)
Sugar for Stevia
Now I say stevia here because that is my sweetener of choice. I feel like it’s safer than artificial sweeteners and doesn’t appear to increase cravings like the others do. It has been my experience that sugar exaggerates other health issues in my body. For years I was plagued with horrible joint pain. This pain seems to go hand in hand with my sugar consumption so I try my best to stay away from it. Not a fan of stevia? Then check out some other healthier options. Honey & maple syrup are both healthier choices than plain white sugar, but they do still pack a caloric punch so use them sparingly. (Check out some info on stevia vs sugar here.)
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Switch your drink
Do you know how much sugar is in your drinks? Are you a soda drinker? Maybe it’s just fruit juice. Whatever it is, don’t drink your calories! I know this one seems overwhelming, trust me, I’m a former Moutain Dew addict. However, I’ve been “clean” for a year and a half now. How did I do it? I just did it gradually. Don’t try to go cold turkey, but just make a small cutback every day. Eventually, you will find yourself totally off the sugary drinks. Be sure to check out my favorite drink…..Good Girl Moonshine, or GGMS for short.
Switch your bread
It seems like there’s a big gluten-free movement in America right now, and while I know that some people really have gluten problems I also feel like it’s the latest fad diet. I even tried it myself without any results. I do however feel that the quality of the bread you eat is important, and bread is a simple switch. Just simply switch to whole wheat, or sprouted grain. These are both much kinder to blood sugar and contain more nutrients than the regular white stuff. Bonus points if you can find one without a bazillion preservatives. I know it seems like it’s a hard switch, but trust me you will eventually crave the good stuff. Actually, most white bread tastes horrible to me now.(Related Reading: white bread vs whole wheat bread)
So there you go, a few of my healthy food swaps. I’m a firm believer in baby stepping your way to a healthier lifestyle. Trying to do too much at once only ends in crashing and burning, in my experience at least. Do you need more encouragement on your health journey? Come join the family at Happy Healthy Homeschool Moms!