Simple Swaps for Healthier Day

Posted On Jan 10, 2014 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

Sugar substitutes

If you feel overwhelmed by trying to change your diet or don't know where to start, begin by changing a few items every few weeks. These gradual, yet continuous, changes will leave you with an eating plan you can stick with, instead of going "on" and "off" a diet.  Simply exchanging a few items in your meal plan will provide you with more nutrients for the same or fewer calories. Most of the suggestions below don't require any extra time, making the healthier options easier adopt. These new options also contain more fiber, protein, and healthy fats– three macronutrients that will not only keep your waistline trim and your body energized for workouts, but provide you with more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to ward off disease.

Having a meal or snack with fiber, protein, and healthy fats provides the optimal balance to keep blood-sugar levels balanced, leading to more stable hunger and energy levels. If you feel hungry within a few hours of eating or your energy levels are dragging, chances are you could benefit from making a few swaps even if you're not trying to lose weight.

All of the swaps below are lower in sodium, added sugars, and saturated fats. Most of the healthier options in the right-hand column are minimally processed or not processed at all, meaning digestion will be slower and weight loss will be greater.

If you don't see anything in your current diet on the left hand side, select 2-3 items from your meals and swap them out for fresh fruits or vegetables. Even replacing the same food with one that contains fewer ingredients will help reduce the negative elements you put in your body. Pay close attention to sauces, condiments, dressings, or little accompaniments, such as coffee creamer and croutons. These flavoring additions can add lots of extra calories without filling you up.

Graph showing ideal breakfast, snack and dinner meal plan for healthy diet