New year, new restrictions.
Working with clients has taught me a very valuable lesson— feeling deprived never works and results in adding unnecessary stress on the body. Instead, we take the approach of CROWDING OUT the less than desirable ingredients and swap in more notorious boosting foods.
Health is not all or nothing. It’s about finding balance in all things we do and it’s about the big picture, the long haul, not in short term ‘fixes’. What you do for a few days, or weeks even, throughout the year is fairly inconsequential. If you want to see change happen, you’ve got to make changes that are sustainable for years to come. And be consistent, that’s where you’ll see all the little changes add up over time to large health gains.
I’ve rounded up some of my top favorite nutritious ingredient swaps that’ll get you more of what your cells need to function properly without giving up flavor. It’s about nutrient dense food – think about the most bang for your buck(nutrition vs calories).
Top nutrition swaps:
Dairy cream, milk or half & half: This may sound undoable, but remember, it’s baby steps. Many people are unknowingly sensitive to dairy. Plus, honestly, we are the only mammal that drinks milk from another’s mother.
Swap in- Coconut milk, cashew cream or blend up homemade almond milk like a pro.
Cheese: See dairy above 😉
Swap in- Nutritional yeast is an easy ingredient to shake on, or blend in for that ‘cheesy’ essence. Try a cashew sauce like Cashew Béchamel or this Garlic Cashew Cheese Dip/Spread, or this easy baked almond cheese ball.
Mayonnaise: Mayo is made with highly processed oils, promoting inflammation.
Swap in- Smashed Avocado, hummus, tahini or use any dip, dressing, pesto or spread in it’s place. You’ll love bigger flavor boost!
Refined white and brown sugar: Refined sugar is completely void of nutrients and causes a bevy of issues. Sugar is still sugar, so even swaps in moderation is important.
Swap in- Low glycemic, 1 to 1 monkfruit sugar (also available in golden), coconut sugar, dates, black strap molasses.
Cocoa Powder: Cocoa is typically processed with heat, which destroys many of the natural cocoa nutrients.
Swap in- Cacao powder uses a cold-press method that keeps the powerful antioxidants in place. Try it in my homemade ‘nut free nutella recipe‘.
Bonus swap- Dark chocolate over milk or white. I’m obsessed with these Hu Gems for their clean ingredients and flavor. Pop one or two in and let them melt slowly.
Oil: Vegetable oils are highly processed and promote inflammation through the body. Even extra virgin olive oil can be harmful if overheated.
Swap in- For higher heat: use grass-fed butter, ghee, avocado oil, cold-pressed coconut oil or sauté in water versus oil. Keep the extra-virgin olive oil, flax seed oil, and other nut oils for dressings and drizzles.
Ice cream: Most are loaded with sugar, fake flavorings, stabilizers and preservatives.
Swap in– Blend up Banana Nice Cream, or purchase an ice cream with cleaner ingredients, like Ripple, Halo, Nada Moo, and Coconut Bliss.
Chips & crackers:
Swap in- Better choices chips and crackers, like these and these. If you are adventurous, try making these simple gluten free carrot crackers.
Need to start slower, with simpler food swaps? Start here:
- Oranges for processed orange juice
–> Any whole fruit for processed juice
- Spinach for iceberg lettuce
- Sugar-free dressing for those with added sugar
- Himalayan pink salt for refined white salt
- Stevia sweetened soda for regular soda
- Better choice dressing for sugar and processed oil dressing
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