The key to a healthy life always lies in the smartest food decisions that you make. Even if you are looking to maintain your weight or to lose some of those pounds, 80% of your goal depends on the food you eat rather than physical activity.
The internet is full of weight loss tips and tricks, and you must be wondering that here we are with another one! You might think of many of the diet charts, and plans are given as highly superficial and weird, but this one gotta be the easy one if you are a beginner or not.
How this article is going to be different than the others could be your next question. Don’t worry; this is not yet another one that talks about how much calories each food has or what is a balanced diet, because we already know you know. This article is just going to help you formulate your balanced diet in a better and long term effect on your health.
Here we are with some of the craziest yet easiest food swaps that you should consider to make your meals healthier.
Having The Whole Fruit Instead Of Juice Or Smoothie
You might see anybody following a diet opting for a fruit juice while you are hanging out with them at a cafe or a restaurant. Fruits, as we know, are the healthiest substitutes for any junk food or fried food that we get in our usual eateries, but it is also important to know what is the best way to consume them.
The relished juices and smoothies made with fruits are quite popular in recent years. But the consumption can be defined as a semi-optimal one because a major part of the fruit is being avoided here.
The focus here is on two things – the stomach filling ability and the rich fiber content you get. When you have the juice, your body reacts in a different way with the sugar levels when compared to having the whole fruit itself because of the absence of the fiber.
The next major thing to consider is that juices curb your appetite. When compared to having solid food, your appetite is not satisfied because the liquid content is not equal to the solid content here.
Another important thing to consider is the amount of added sugar in the store-sold drinks that are packaged.
The thought here is, can you eat those three oranges on the whole at once like you can drink the juice made by blending them with sugars? Not really right?
Takeaway – Replace your smoothies and fruit drinks with the whole fruit.
Alternative Milk Instead Of Cow Milk
Dairy milk from cows is the traditional way of consuming the goodness of fat and calcium from the source it is. But it cannot be avoided that plant-based milk has been gaining momentum in the past few years given the advent of vegan diets and animal cruelty.
While cow-milk is undoubtedly the best source of nutrients like protein, calcium, riboflavin and potassium, these sources from the plants also provide a fairly good alternative to this traditional form.
But compared to cow’s milk, the plant-based ones offer a better and healthier outlook to the foods we eat, and at the same time provide similar texture and taste to the foods that use them as ingredients too — the main reason why this is advantageous in that the calories are significantly lower in the plant-based ones.
The other sources that can fill in for cow’s milk are almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk and coconut milk. A wide range of recipes, especially the ones related to baking, suggest using these alternatives for better taste and texture.
A recent study by the US Department of Health Science, NIH, around 65% of the total populace has a diminished ability to process lactose past infancy, which means that there’s a decent possibility that dairy items are causing a few inconveniences in your body. Avoiding it for two or three days or weeks may improve skin and stomach related problems. Hence it is worth a try!
The next best part about these plant-based milk are they can be made at home itself if the procedure is followed keenly and precisely.
Takeaway – Substitute your dairy milk from cows with plant-based alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc.
Off-white Or Brown Rice For White Rice
We all have been seeing a lot of brown rice suggestions all over the place to substitute the conventional white rice used by a lot of Indians in their recipes.
The key to why you should consider brown rice is the amount of calorie intake. The amount of starch and carbohydrate content in white rice makes it a little riskier for people looking at weight loss or maintaining the average calorie count.
Did you know there is a middle ground between the white and brown that can also be opted for?
We are talking about the cauliflower rice that is doing the rounds on the internet from the past few months. There are very many benefits of cauliflower rice when compared to conventional white rice.
One of the main reasons to consume cauliflower rice is that it will reduce your calorie intake while adding to your veg count. Eating cauliflower also has several other benefits for your health.
It contains Vitamin C and phytochemicals that stimulate cancer-blocking enzymes. Its high fiber content, Choline content makes sure your body gets all the essential nutrients that are lacking.
Cauliflower is so versatile that apart from using it in rice, you can also replace grains and legumes with it. This is particularly for those are following low-carb diets as the carb content in cauliflower is considerably low when compared to grains and legumes.
On the whole, cauliflower rice is a high-fiber, low-carb alternative to white rice which is also packed with a decent amount of antioxidants and Vitamins. It is a very simple dish, which is always a good sign of a food’s nutrition.
Takeaway – Choose brown or off-white rice such as cauliflower rice over having your meals cooked with white rice.
Baked Potatoes In Place Of Fries
Well, who doesn’t love fries! Potatoes are considered number 1 on the most satiating foods list, and they are a dilute food calorie-wise. A pound of potatoes has 340 calories, while a pound of cooked whole grain pasta has around twice the number of calories.
Further, confirming the fact, veggies and chicken that are served as health foods are lower on the satiety index, which means they won’t keep you full for long. In other words, potatoes serve a healthy, low-calorie meal while also making sure you don’t feel hungry for a long time.
However, it is also important that watch in what form or way you are having your potatoes. We eat them in a lot of ways from mashed potato to deep-fried munchies.
In order for you to yield their health and weight loss promoting benefits, you must skip adding oils, cream, cheese, or butter while preparing potato-based meals.
A pound of fries on your plate means taking in 1350 calories at one. The quantity of fries you eat is directly proportional to the number of calories on your plate. On the other hand, a pound of baked potatoes adds up only to 445 calories. That is quite a large difference, now, isn’t it?
Hence, the best way to satiate your taste buds while also being cautious about your calorie intake is to simply strip the potatoes while keeping the skin, seasoning them with your favorite seasonings, and baking them.
Takeaway – By replacing fries with baked potatoes, you consume your favorite snacks while keeping calories in check.
Not just with potatoes, you can do the same with eggs as well. Let’s see how and why.
Swapping Fried Eggs With Boiled Or Poached Eggs
Eggs are delicious in any form. Boiled – soft or hard, fried, poached, scrambled, and how-not! Fried eggs and boiled eggs contain almost the same nutritional value, calories and fat content. However, a significant difference occurs in the way you prepare them.
If you are making fried eggs for your next meal, the oil, butter, or grease is what makes fried eggs a not-so-healthy option due to the saturated fat content in these oils which results in high cholesterol levels and other weight-gain problems in your body.
Another major concern is the cholesterol level that these two varieties of eggs contain. Regardless of fried or boiled, eggs contain 210 mg of cholesterol. Hence, it is always safe to choose boiled or poached eggs over fried ones to avoid the increase in your cholesterol levels.
A weekend breakfast would be incomplete without eggs. Therefore, you can make them healthier by chucking oil or butter. You could actually give roasted or dry-fry eggs a try.
They will serve as crispy as well as healthy and satisfy both your health concerns and taste. The oil or butter that you use is what makes all the difference, so try a dry-fry egg recipe, or you could also stick to boiled or poached eggs.
Takeaway – Keep your cholesterol level in check by switching fried eggs with poached or boiled eggs.
To further increase your options of healthy and tasty snacks, let’s see how you can healthily munch on your favorite chips.
Swap Chips With Popcorn
Cravings are something that most of us cannot escape and lead us to make some unhealthy choices such as munching on a tub of ice cream or a big pack of chips while watching your favorite movie or a show. They are so tasty that you can keep your hands away from the pack and lose track of how much you eat.
Although popcorn may sound like one of those junk food varieties to you, they are actually a very healthy option. They contain low fat and are wholegrain when compared to their counterpart fried chips or other munchies.
However, make sure you avoid adding in extra sugar or salt and also to watch how much quantity you are consuming as it is very easy to eat a lot considering how to light a snack they are. They are so light that three whole cups of popcorn only adds 100 calories.
On the other hand, chips have high fat and calorie content and a small amount of fiber. You can eat 6 cups of popcorn for the same number of calories that one cup of chips contains.
In other words, eating 6 cups of popcorn is equal to one cup of chips. Further, even one cup of popcorn can fill your tummy more than one cup of chips would.
Next time you are sitting for a movie marathon or a good board game with your folks, roast some salted-popcorn for a healthy snack.
Takeaway – Replace snacks such as chips and other junk with a healthier option like air-popped salted popcorn.
Swap White Pasta For Whole Wheat Pasta
Pasta is available in various forms, and all of them are equally delicious and satiate your taste buds. The real problem lies with taking white pasta as it is made with refined carbs which means that it has been stripped of essential nutrients while being processed.
Whole wheat pasta, on the other hand, is a healthier option as it is packed with nutrients such as fiber, protein, complex carbs, magnesium, iron, and zinc.
The Mediterranean Diet is the perfect diet as we all know, but if you want to make things more workable for you, it is better you shift to the whole grain pasta.
Takeaway – Whole wheat pasta chosen over white pasta adds to health as well as a tasty option.
On the whole, simple food swaps can go a long way and ensure you lead a healthy life. They make sure to keep your health in check while also not holding you back from eating delicious meals and snacks.
The trick to do any of these swaps is simple – mindful eating. Mindful eating is basically a practice of making sure what you are eating, how it affects your body and mind, and what you should and should not eat according to your body type.