Friday Fit Tips - 5 healthy food "swaps"

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Friday Fit Tips - My top 5 healthy food swaps

 

     Many people don't know just how easy it can be to lead a healthier lifestyle.  There's no need to live in a gym or spend a ton of money on new programs or weight loss supplements (or ANY extra money, for that matter).  One of my favorite ways to lead a healthier lifestyle is to find food "swaps" or alternatives to either unhealthy or high-calorie/chemical options.

 

     Below are my Top 5 healthy food "swaps" that are sure to help lead a healther lifestyle & reach your health/wellness/fitness goals.

 

Almond Milk

Food Swap #1 - MILK

       While milk isn't necessarily unhealthy, it does pack a lot of calories & fat.  Swapping to a lower calorie alternative can shave off a lot of weight.  My favorite milk "swap" is Almond Milk.  On the plus side, it's got a sweeter flavor than dairy milk, is low in sugar, low fat, low calorie, and offers more calcium than dairy milk.  The only down side is it's less creamy than whole milk, but that's a mild sacrifice for the benefits.

     Be sure to stick with unsweetened almond milk, as many companies offer sweetened, sugary versions as well.  Other options are coconut milk & chia milk.

 

Food Swap #2 - BREAD

     I love breBread for Diabeticsad.  Garlic bread, sandwiches, paninis, ciabatta, the list goes on.  Many types of bread pack a lot of calories and carbs into not a lot of space, making them a less than healthy option.  One 'swap' option is to pick a heartier, healthier bread such as multi-grain or whole wheat over traditional white.  As a rule of thumb, the fewer ingredients and less "bleached" ingregients the better. 

     If you're lucky enough to find it, my all-time favorite is California lifestyle bread (pictured here) - this is a low carb, high fiber, high protein bread that tastes great and makes an amazing peanut butter sandwich.  I get it at my local Sprouts, but you can probably find a similar product at any natural food store.

 

Food Swap #3 - WHITE RICE/PASTA

     Rice and pasta are a dangerous game, not because they're entirely bad for you, but because it's so incredibly easy to eat so incredibly much.  Next time you eat rice or pasta, measure out an actual serving size - I'm sure you'll be shocked at how small it is.  Super high in starchy carbs, it's easy to pack away 500+ calories of this stuff without batting an eye.

A safer bet is to go with alternative starches/carbs, such as quinoa (my favorite) or quinoa-based pasta - high in protein and amino acids, quinoa offers a healthier (and in my opinion, better tasting) option.  You can sub quinoa anywhere you'd normally use rice (my favorite is quinoa pilaf), and as a bonus, in many cases quinoa is faster to cook!  Just be wary of portion sizes, as with any type of grain, a serving is smaller than you think.

 

Food Swap #4 - SALT

     I think it's an American thing to put salt on everything.  If someone sold salt on a stick, some of us would still sprinkle salt on it.  While salt isn't terrible on it's own, the amount of it in the typical American diet is a surefire way to end up with poor health.

     Since it's tough to avoid since nearly all packaged food is high in salt (soups, baked goods, meats, etc), it's best to avoid adding any extra while cooking or seasoning food - instead, find spice mixtures - these are a super healthy alternative that offer good side effects.  Herbs & spices can not only add more flavor, but can easily tranform a simple item into many different flavors. 

     Some of my favorites are cayenne, garlic, ginger, lemon zest, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, and oregano.  Experiment with some mixtures, and you'll find that you can pack more flavor into a much healthier option than the salt shaker can offer.

 

Food Swap #5 - SODA (or pop, or cola, or whatever you call it)

     Soda reminds me of cigarettes.  It's terrible, everyone knows it, yet no one blinks an eye before putting away a 20oz soda and immediately looking for another (a former coworker used to bring a 2 liter to work EVERY day).  Basically a concoction of chemicals and sugar, the side effects of regular soda consumption are too many to list, but it's one of the worst "foods" you can put in your body.

     Need the caffeine boost?  Drink coffee or tea instead. 

     Need something sweeter than coffee or tea?  Add some stevia to sweeten things up, or if you need that sweet fix, add a flavor enhancer to water.  While I wouldn't promote a colorful powder (a la Crystal light) as a health food, it's a better option than guzzling a Dr Pepper (although...I love me some Dr Pepper - on occasion!)

If you can make the switch to water, that's your best bet. 

     Based on the 1 pound of fat = 3500 calorie formula, substituting one 20oz cola per day with water would shave off about 25 pounds over a year.

 

     As you get ready to tackle that New Years resolution of losing weight or getting healthy, keep these food swaps in mind - they're much easier than hours in the gym, and much tastier than an air & sunlight diet.

 

    

 

 

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Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

John -  great tips especially coming in to the season of new resolutions!  I'm happy to say I agree with all but Tip #4, at least in part.  I agree with the processed foods that we should all be avoiding but I've read a few new medical reports that have now reversed the opinion with regard to low sodium eating.  I eat high quality sea salts with loads of good minerals such as Pink Himalayan Crystal Salt or Celtic Salts.

Other than that, great and simple tips to follow for a healthy and happy 2014!

Dec 06, 2013 11:20 AM #1
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Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Thank you for the great tips. I like sweetened almond milk.

Dec 06, 2013 07:55 PM #2
Rainer
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Jason Stewart
Stewart Estates - San Diego, CA
Realtor

Great tips John.  I'm a health buff and I try to be more conscious of what I eat.

Dec 06, 2013 09:55 PM #3
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Susan - thanks for the comment & you're obviously ahead of the game!  Salt/sodium absolutely is important and needed.  Many people just get far too much while eating processed food.

Gita - thanks!  Almond milk was my favorite swap, I really enjoy it more than dairy.

Jason - thank you, it's definitely important to be aware of what we're putting into our bodies.

Dec 07, 2013 03:36 AM #4
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Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

Hey John, I like salt on my salt sticks....lol

Great tips and I appreciate everyone of them since I'm into health and exercise.

Dec 07, 2013 08:57 AM #5
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
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Haha Bob you're not the only one!  Hope I can keep some good stuff coming on Fridays that you'll enjoy, I love health & fitness too.

 

Dec 07, 2013 01:22 PM #6
Rainmaker
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Bob Ratliff
Robert Ratliff Realty - San Antonio, TX
"Sold with Bob"

Hey John, just checking in today to say Howdy. I was at the gym this morning and since I've been eating everything in sight.....lol

Dec 08, 2013 04:28 AM #7
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Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Those are some tough swaps in my book John. I just like food too much. The only one I've been able to manage changing is salt. I was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure 8 years ago and I was on a low sodium diet. I don't salt ANYTHING any more!

Dec 10, 2013 10:59 AM #8
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John Meussner
Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA, - Walnut Creek, CA
#MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852

Bummer Donna!  The ones above were the easy ones for me because I actually prefer some of the above to the alternatives.  Almond milk, quinoa, and the low-carb bread were all pleasant surprises.  Shoot for alternatives that you enjoy, lots of healthy options out there that are also delicious!

Dec 10, 2013 02:05 PM #9
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