As far as I’m concerned, when it comes to eating healthier, there are three major factors that come into play when making food choices: simplicity, taste, and the way the food makes your body feel after eating it. In today’s fast paced world everyone is looking for quick and easy ways to eat better without having to sacrifice too much of their precious time or bore their taste buds. In regard to my third point, that wholesome feeling that your body gets on a cleaner diet is something that in my opinion beats out the taste of any food you can find. However, it is obviously still nice not to sacrifice taste if you don’t have to!
Below is a list of some of my favorite healthy alternatives to commonly eaten foods that taste great and will leave your body feeling happy and energized. While some of these may be a little bit more expensive than their less nutritious counterparts, at some point you have to make the decision to put your health first.
1. Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
White rice has been eaten as a staple food in many Asian countries for centuries and centuries. However, it really has no place in the modern world where an easily accessible alternative exists. Not only is brown rice higher in fiber, magnesium, and major vitamins, but those who consume white rice regularly have been shown to be at higher risk for type 2 diabetes. Make the switch to brown rice and your body will thank you later!
2. Pure Nut Butter Instead of Processed Alternatives
This one is really a no-brainer. Why go with useless additives like high fructose corn syrup or refined cane sugar when you can have the real, raw thing? When shopping for almond butter I look for one ingredient and one ingredient only… almonds!
3. Plain Greek Yogurt Instead of Flavored Alternatives (Add Your Own Flavoring)!
Plain, 2% Greek yogurt is one of the most heavenly foods I can think of. I only started eating it recently but I am never going to look back. Many flavored yogurts are marketed as being super healthy but in reality; they actually contain a lot of sugar and can actually be pretty bad for you. Try mixing plain Greek yogurt with honey and granola for a quick protein packed snack.
4. Chia Seeds instead of Bread Crumbs
Eating a few teaspoons of ground chia seeds a day is a fantastic way to incorporate more fiber and omega-3 fatty acids into your diet; you can also substitute them in recipes that call for breadcrumbs. No matter how you are going to eat them, make sure to grind them first! Studies have shown that grinding chia seeds before consumption increases their bioavailability and helps your body reap their nutritional benefits at a greater level. Additionally, while it is popular to buy pre-ground seeds, you should really take the time to grind them on your own right before you eat them to get the most out of their nutritional content. This can be done with a simple coffee grinder or food processor.
5. Nuts and Seeds as a Salad Topping Instead of Croutons
Croutons add unnecessary salt and empty calories to an otherwise perfectly healthy salad. To keep things clean go with nuts such as almonds or walnuts instead. This gives you that familiar tasty crunchiness and also offers a good source of vitamin E and protein.
6. Oatmeal Instead of Sugary Cereals
And last, my personal favorite. Nothing beats a heaping bowl of oatmeal in the morning to start your day right and to help keep you full all the way to lunch time. This is one where you definitely can cook up something delicious too if you add the right ingredients. I like to go with full old-fashioned oats, grape nuts, granola, ground chia seeds, goji berries, and to top it off, a glob of almond butter or coconut-peanut butter. Try this out with a cup of tea and some fruit on the side and I promise you will never want to eat anything else for breakfast ever again!
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