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Simple Changes For The New Year: 5 Healthy Food Swaps

January 22, 2014

Photo credit: Neil Conway

Happy New Year!

This is the time of year for making changes as we set out to fulfill resolutions that will hopefully improve our well-being.  Dietary changes are at the top of the resolution list for many people, yet for all the good intentions behind them these changes often just don’t stick.  But making over your diet doesn’t have to be a dramatic affair.  Simply substituting certain foods for a more nutritionally dense version can have a big impact on your health.  Consider the following five food swap ideas:

  1. Avocado in place of cheese. The avocado mimics the appealing creaminess of the cheese, but offers a healthier fat profile, plus fiber, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Smash it up with a little sea salt for a sandwich spread or quick guacamole dip for tortilla chips or raw veggies.  Garnish your salad, soup, casserole, or omelet with some slices. 
  2. Organic corn tortilla chips in place of flavored chips.  If you love chips as a snack but think they can’t fit into your healthier diet, think again.  Replace flavored chips that are high in sodium and many mysterious ingredients with simple plain organic corn tortilla chips.  For a more balanced nutritious snack, dip them in guacamole, fresh salsa, or hummus.
  3. Zing bar instead of candy bar or granola bar. Made with high-quality, nutritious ingredients, Zing bars provide a good balance of healthy fat, protein, and fiber to help you stay off the blood sugar roller coaster.  And with several different flavors, plus vegan and nut-free options, you’re sure to find one you like!
  4. Nut or seed butter in place of butter.  Often given a bad rap due to their high calorie content, nuts and seeds offer lots of nutritional bang for your buck.  In addition to being a source of healthy fat, nuts and seeds offer fiber, protein, plus vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium among others.  Spread it on your toast or pancakes.  Toss it with pasta and veggies.
  5. Sweet potatoes in place of regular white potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are nutritional powerhouses, higher in fiber and most vitamins and minerals than regular white potatoes.  This includes both the orange and the white-fleshed sweet potatoes you find in your grocery store.  Try roasting them for a simple, delicious side dish or snack.

We want to know – what are some of your favorite healthy food swaps?  Have you made a small dietary change that has lead to bigger changes?

Erin Hugus, MS, CN has a Master’s degree in Nutrition from Bastyr University. Erin is an expert in Diabetes care and is passionate about empowering people with realistic strategies for optimal health. She takes great pleasure in her time spent in the kitchen and loves cooking nourishing meals for her family.

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