5 Easy & Health Conscious Food Swaps
Eating smart doesn't have to leave you dumbfounded. If you are looking to make some healthier choices when it comes to what you eat, here are 5 smart food swaps that may be able to help.
There are foods out there that do your body major good, but there are also those foods that can wreak havoc. These are the same foods that can help you pack on the pounds and that always seem to find their way back into your home.
If you find yourself constantly face to face with these foods you love to hate, it may be time for some serious swapping. With some help from one of our experts, here are 5 of the smartest food swaps you can make.
5. Kick the Carbonated Beverages (Soda) for Water
It’ s no secret that there have been a few scares concerning diet soda and its impact on your health, but it also isn’t a very smart choice for your waistline, even the "diet" variety.
“Soda can be very bad for you if consumed on a daily basis,” say Carrie Wissemeier, a Registered Dietitian and one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD. “The sugar content alone in most carbonated beverages can lead to more weight gain and can actually increase your risk of obesity and other related health problems, like type 2 diabetes.”
Water is a smart swap, simply because it has no calories and keeps you feeling hydrated and energized. If plain ole’ water gets a little boring after a while, unsweetened ice tea is another smart swap.
4. Steer Clear of Hot Sauce
Although hot sauce is not a popular culprit of excess weight gain, it is known to cause bloating and can give you a wicked case of heart burn.
“If you are one of those people who love to put hot sauce on everything, you may want to cool down and use dried herbs instead,” says Carrie.
Dried herbs like curry powder, lemon or lime juice can add just the right combination of flavor and spice to fish and chicken, while dried herbs like basil, sage, mint, dill, rosemary and terragon can add the perfect amount of flavor to any kind of dish.
“Choose these seasonings over things like black pepper, nutmeg, hot sauces and onions,” says Carrie. “These type of spicy foods can stimulate the release of stomach acid, which can lead to irritation.”
3. Ditch the Chewing Gum
Gum can help curb some of those mid-day snack cravings, but there are other, healthier alternatives that can be just as effective and that won’t cause any excess bloating.
“Most people don’t realize that when they chew gum, they are actually swallowing air,” says Carrie. “This extra air gets trapped inside of your GI tract, which causes bloating and extra pressure.”
If you still desire that extra mint flavor, but still combat cravings, pop a breath mint instead or bring a travel size tooth brush to work.
This will leave your mouth feeling clean and help you resist temptation without the belly bloat.
2. Cut Down on the Regular Dairy
“Not only is cutting back on the regular dairy smarter for your waistline, but it can also help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes,” says Carrie.
If you crave dairy, but don’t love all that fat, switch to skim or 1% milk and choose reduced fat cheese. Just remember to be mindful of serving sizes.
“Lighter versions of dairy products contain less saturated fat and can help you cut back on extra calories,” says Carrie.
1. Choose More Surf over Turf
You may like to enjoy a steak from time to time but you may want to consider swapping out some of those artery-clogging saturated fats for some healthy omega-3 fats found in fish.
“Oily fish like salmon, trout, albacore tuna and herring contain a good dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which are very heart healthy,” says Carrie. “Ideally, you should try to have two servings of fish per week.”
If you aren’t typically a fish fan, adding a daily supplement of omega-3’s to your routine can help.