3 Easy Healthy Food Swaps
Being healthy and fit is all about making small choices that add up to a healthier lifestyle. None of us can be perfect, but we can make baby steps towards progress. When you want to eat better, it can feel overwhelming to try and deprive yourself of all your favorite treats. That’s why I suggest making healthy food swaps to start; exchanging one treat for a better-for-you-alternative whenever you can. Here are three easy healthy food swaps you can make today to be healthier.
1) Swap Out: Store-Bought Energy Bars and Make Your Own
Swap out store bought energy bars and make your own with my recipes from my cookbook, Choose This! Skip all the added sugars, chemicals and preservatives by making your own. They are delicious and a favorite in my house that never last long! I make batches of these and keep them in my freezer. When they are individually wrapped, the kids just grab and go. Adults love them too; they are healthy and satisfying. And you will be thrilled when your kids are begging for more! They don’t even realize they are eating flax seed and walnuts. Keep it your secret!
2) Swap Out Sugar Cereals or Granolas for KIND Snacks
Swap out sugar cereals or granolas for KIND Snacks Healthy Grains instead! If the ingredient list of your favorite cereal could pass for a box of cookies … it may not be the best choice. Go for high nutrient value. That is why I love KIND Healthy Grains (my favorite flavor is Cinnamon Oat Clusters with Flaxseeds.) New in stores, I had to try it because I am a granola lover. A better KIND of granola is made from whole grains, full of nutrients and tastes amazing. KIND also boasts a list of healthy ingredients: gluten free, non-GMO, no refined sugars, contains Omega-3s. So how do you avoid too much sugar in your cereal? Aim for added sugars not to exceed 25 % of total calories.
Related: 5 Scary Ingredients In Your Food
Here is how you figure out the percentage of calories from sugar in your cereal:
• Multiply the grams of sugar per serving by 4 (there are 4 calories per gram of sugar).
• Divide this number (calories from sugar) by the total number of calories per serving.
• Multiply this number by 100 to get the percentage of calories from sugar.
Also, check out the other ingredients on the label. Do you recognize them? Go for no artificial colors, flavors, or hidden sugars. Give it a try—it’s crunchy and delicious with almond milk, on my yogurt, in my smoothies and oatmeal.
3) Swap out Milk Chocolate for Dark Chocolate.
There is nothing wrong with a little chocolate in our lives, especially when it’s dark chocolate. Chocolate has some heart healthy properties due to the flavonoids (antioxidants), which help protect the body from the free radicals and the bad LDL cholesterol that damages our arteries. Moderation is the key. Dark chocolate contains much greater amounts of cocoa, and therefore more flavonoids, than other forms of chocolate. It is also a part of the MUFA’s (monounsaturated fatty acids) which are the plant-based fats found in some of your many of your favorite foods–avocado, nuts and seeds, oils, olives, and dark chocolate! Studies show that these good-for-you fats enhance heart health and protect against chronic disease. And now the latest research shows that these nutrient dense superstars may even target fat where it’s hardest to lose–in your belly! Truth be told, a favorite combo of mine is a small piece of dark chocolate with a glass of red wine—now that’s a heart healthy Swapportunity!