The Standard American Diet is horrible and it contributes to development of many serious health issues. In an attempt to help you improve your plate and thus improve your health, we`ve decided to present 30 simple swaps! Check them out!
1. Pasta < Spaghetti Squash
Swapping spaghetti paste for spaghetti squash notably reduces the calorie content of the meal, as a cup of cooked squash contains as little as 42 calories, meaning that replacing pasta with squash saves you about 180 calories. For a person who eats spaghetti once weekly this swap translates to 2.5 pounds of weight loss annually.
In addition, squash is also packed with essential minerals like selenium, zinc, manganese, copper, and calcium as well as vitamins like vitamin A, B vitamins, and vitamins C, E, and K.
2. Skim Milk < Almond, Hemp or Coconut Milk
Skim milk is packed with synthetic vitamins which are added to replace the ones that have been list in fat-removal. It also contains milk solids to compensate for the calcium and protein lost in processing. One cup of skim milk contains 90 calories and up to 12 grams of sugar.
Replacing skim milk with almond, hemp or coconut milk cuts the calorie intake in half, without any sugar or additives commonly found in dairy milk.
3. Soy Sauce < Coconut Aminos
Unfermented soy has been scientifically found to be a hormone disrupter, especially an estrogen mimicker. Those with autoimmune disease or any form of endocrine system imbalance should stay away from unfermented soy at all costs.
Coconut aminos are sweeter than soy, without the wheat or soy content contained in soy sauce. The amino acids found in coconut help improve brain and nervous system function, repair and rebuild muscle tissues, and boost both physical energy levels and immune system. This is why consuming a diet rich in amino acids is extremely nutritionally beneficial.
4. Agave Nectar (refined sugar) < Raw Honey
While agave nectar is marketed as healthy sugar substitute, the truth is that it contains up to 80% fructose, which is even more than the amount contained in high-fructose corn syrup. Most agave nectar is lab-generated sugar-condensed fructose syrup.
On the other hand, raw honey has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It acts as potent antioxidant, boosts immunity, promotes digestive health, eliminates allergies, and it serves as very effective remedy for infections and skin wounds.
5. Gatorade (or any energy or sports drinks) < Coconut Water + Organifi
Nature`s Gatorade is a natural sports drink which offers the same nutrients as formulated sports drink, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, and phosphorus, with the added bonus that they are in their natural form.
Organifi is packed with phytonutrients that boost energy, antioxidants, and adaptogens. It helps you keep invigorated and alkalized all day!
6. Sugar-Laden Latte > Organic Black Coffee with Butter or Coconut Oil
While espresso drinks are tasty, they are loaded with empty calories and huge amounts of sugar. In addition to this, coffee is a GMO crop, so opt for organic beans in order to avoid chemicals and pesticides/
Instead of a sugar-laden latte, opt for organic black coffee with coconut oil and butter. For extra flavor, add some vanilla stevia. Black coffee has been scientifically shown to decrease oxidative stress and thus lower the risk of diseases like cancer. According to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism,” coffee helps prevent and treat diabetes, too.
7. Margarine < Butter or Ghee
Margarine is packed with chemicals, dairy, and sugar. It consists of trans fat, which is known to increase bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol.
On the other hand, butter or ghee has a robust nutritional profile, providing a solid amount of trace minerals like chromium, selenium, zinc, copper, and magnesium as well as vitamins like A,D,E, and K. it is a good source of iodine as well.
8. Sugar < Cinnamon
Sugar is known to cause inflammation, which is the root cause of most chronic diseases. Simple as that!
Ceylon cinnamon is the ‘real’ cinnamon that is packed with cinnamaldehyde, a compound that has a positive effect on metabolism and the overall health. Cinnamon contains relatively large amounts of antioxidants and it even outranks oregano and garlic in terms of their antioxidant activity. It also acts as anti-inflammatory agent that helps lower the risk of various diseases. Ultimately, cinnamon has been found to increase sensitivity to insulin and reduce fasting blood sugar levels.
9. Bread < Collard Wrap
Bread is loaded with sugar and carbs, which are bad idea for those who are trying to lose weight. In addition to this, if also contains gluten, a substance that the majority of the population is intolerant to. This leads to digestive issues, skin problems, brain fog, and potentially chronic diseases.
Collards, on the other hand, are full of nutrients, such as manganese, calcium, fiber, B vitamins, and vitamins A, C, and K. They have cholesterol-lowering properties, too.
10. Sour Cream < Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt contains good bacteria which are beneficial for the gut and the immune system. Those who are dairy intolerant should avoid it and opt for organic kefir. Although this is still dairy, the amount of good bacteria has been found to help reverse lactose intolerance. Always purchase organic!
11. Store Bought Salad Dressings < Olive Oil & Apple Cider Vinegar
Store bough salad dressings are often loaded with sugar and fillers. Instead of using such ingredient, drizzle some olive oil and apple cider vinegar instead, both of which have a robust nutritional profile and offer a wide plethora of health benefits, from detoxifying the body to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.
12. Iceberg Lettuce < Spinach, Chard, Kale, Romaine
Although iceberg is extremely high in water content, it doesn’t have a lot much to offer, though. On the other hand, veggies like spinach and kale are richer in nutrients, supplying the body with different vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.
13. Cheese < Nutritional Yeast
Although many people do tolerate dairy, dairy is mucus-forming and causes inflammation. Instead of sprinkling cheese on your food items, opt for nutritional yeast. It has pretty much the same flavor, plus a solid amount of vitamin B12 and protein. It is also gluten and sugar-free, low in sodium and fat, and high in iron.
14. Soda < Anti-Anxiety Drink
This alternative is tasty and it helps relax the body, reduce anxiety, improve digestion, and provide mineral support that the body needs.
15. Banana < Avocado
While bananas are healthy and add a creamy texture to smoothies, those looking for a low glycemic index should definitely consider avocado. It provides the same creamy texture, plus solid amount of folate, potassium, healthy fats, and vitamins B, C, E, and K.
16. Granola < Steel Cut Oatmeal
Granola is often loaded with sugars, which increase inflammation and cause a wide range of health issues. Steel cut oats, on the other hand, are packed with dietary fiber and are low glycemic, which makes them a great choice for those with diabetes as it helps help blood glucose levels in check. The soluble fiber content in oats may also have an impact on blood pressure levels. It keeps you full for an extended period of time as well, which in turn reduces the chance of overeating.
17. Egg McMuffin < Veggie Scramble
Replace the carb-loaded muffin with super-nutritious eggs with vegetables, which boost the overall health from cellular level.
Eggs are rich in selenium, protein, folate, and vitamins A and B. Make sure you eat the whole egg, as most nutrients are contained in the yolk. Both parts are equally important!
It is also worth mentioning that eggs don’t affect blood cholesterol whatsoever, despite their high cholesterol level. However, the cholesterol in diet doesn’t increase cholesterol in the blood.
18. Alfredo Sauce < Vegan Pesto
Cream based sauces like alfredo sauce are high in calories, dairy, and sodium. Pesto is a better idea, using nutritional yeast instead of cheese.
Combine basil, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and sea salt to prepare your own tasty, nutritious, and super-healthy vegan pesto.
19. French Fries < Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are highly processed, which is the reason for their quite bad reputation. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are nutritious and found to help reduce homocysteine in the body, a compound associated with heart-related problems and various diseases. They are a great source of iron, magnesium and vitamins C and D. Although sweet in nature, they actually help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent spikes and dips.
20. Conventional Beef < Grass-Fed Beef
To avoid the hormones and chemicals found in conventional beef, opt for pure, organic variety that is packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals.
21. White Rice < Cauliflower Rice
Cauliflower has been associated with cancer prevention due to its nutrient support to three important blood systems related to cancer: inflammatory-anti-inflammatory system, antioxidant system, and detox system. Imbalance in any of these can significantly increase the risk for cancer, but luckily cauliflower supports all the three!
22. Potato Chips < Kale Chips
Trans fats found in potato chips are what makes them addicting! Opting for kale chips is far better idea, as these are packed with fiber, folate, omega-3 fats, protein, and vitamins A,C, and K. Feel free to add cayenne for additional punch or nutritional yeast for a cheesy-like flavor!
23. Cheese and Crackers < Apple and Nut Butter
Swap this typical American snack for apple and nut butter, a combination that supplies the body with protein and fiber, while keeping you feel full longer and giving you the “ sweet & salty” flavor!
24. Snack Bar < Handful Raw Almonds
Most snack bars are loaded with sugar, gluten and fillers; none of them is good for you. On the other hand, almonds are extremely nutritious and make you feel full until the next meal, keep your mind sharp, and balance your blood sugar levels.
25. Conventional Dairy < Kefir
Conventional dairy contains added hormones and sugar. But, kefir is packed with beneficial bacteria that support the immune system and gut, which makes it ideal for those with lactose intolerance as it helps them reverse it.
26. Croutons < Toasted Nuts
Toasted nuts are full with protein, vitamins, minerals, and heart-healthy fats. Some of them are healthier than others, and the best options include Brazil nuts, almonds, and walnuts.
27. Ice Cream < Frozen Banana
Peel and chop one banana and place it on parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet. Freeze it blend it along with cacao powder once frozen. Bananas are packed with potassium and offer a wide range of health benefits, so this swap is definitely worth it!
28. Canola Oil < Coconut Oil
Canola oil is one of the highest GMO crops, so it`s definitely a bad choice for those who are trying to eat healthy. Coconut oil contains beneficial medium chain triglycerides which helps you burn more fat, increase energy expenditure, and boost brain function. Coconut oil withstands high temperatures without going rancid, which makes it ideal choice for cooking.
29. Milk Chocolate < Dark Chocolate
Milk chocolate is made up of sugar and dairy, while dark chocolate is mostly made up cacao. High cacao chocolate, such as dark chocolate, is packed with copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, fiber, and antioxidants which are known to protect against free radicals.
30. Cake or Cookies < Fresh Fruit with Cacao Nibs and Coconut Milk
Gluten, dairy, and sugar, all of which are key ingredients in any cake or cookie, are known to lead to inflammation, weakened immunity, brain fog, gut troubles, skin issues, various disease and many more.
To give yourself a treat, without any guilt, grab some berries, some unsweetened coconut milk, and a handful of cacao nibs.
As you can see, there is a way put an end to your not-so-healthy changes. You don’t necessarily have to incorporate all of these swaps in your daily diet, sticking to a few of them is enough for the beginners and goes a long way to cultivating healthier habits.