Common Food Substitutes To Make Your Meals Healthier

Dr, Donna Restivo

Posted on November 10 2016

The best place to start when you are trying to lose weight or improve your health is your diet. Simple changes can make a huge difference in the amount of calories and nutrients you consume on a daily basis. There are many healthy foods that make ideal substitutions for foods that aren't so good for you. Natural, healthier foods often have more flavor, fewer calories and a large increase in fiber compared to some of the foods that are already in your diet.


Herbs Instead of Salt

In the summer, many people crave salt because of the sodium they lose when they sweat. Others who use it simply for flavor, can avoid the pitfalls of salt by substituting blends of herbs and spices. One or two herbs can add to the taste of foods, but blending several herbs and spices together can create a seasoning that is unique and adds an abundance of flavor. Many herbs and spices, especially the different types of peppers, increase heat within the body and will actually help you burn calories. Blends can include any number of herbs and spices. Mix and match your herbs to create new, flavorful blends.


Fresh/Frozen Instead of Canned

Many people use canned vegetables in their recipes and for sides during meals. Canning destroys the majority of the nutrients in vegetables making them essentially empty calories. Fresh and frozen vegetables still retain the bulk of their nutrients and only require a few more minutes to prepare. Fresh food may take longer, but in most cases, they have a heartier flavor than vegetables that have been either frozen or canned.


Dark Leafy Greens for Ice-burg Lettuce

If you're a salad fan, eliminate ice-burg and the other lighter colored lettuce varieties. They are mostly water and have very little nutritional value. Spinach, kale and arugula are full of both nutrients and fiber. They are also rich in taste and texture. Mixing the different types of dark, leafy greens will also provide a colorful, visual experience. When it comes to eating the rainbow, the dark green colors create a pleasing background for the red tomatoes, yellow peppers, and orange carrots that top the salad.


Olive Oil or MCT Oil for Canola Oil

One of the healthiest substitutions you can make is substituting olive oil for other types of oils. Olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats and also provides antioxidants that help to fight free radicals. When used in recipes it offers a unique flavor. Olive oil cooks just like other oils and does not leave behind a greasy film or taste.

When you begin to start including healthier lifestyle habits, one of the first things you will need to do is evaluate the foods you already include in your diet. Instead of just eliminating the troublesome, unhealthy, foods, find healthier options to replace them. Doing this allows you to get healthy without giving up the flavors and textures you like. Dieting is much easier when you feel like you don't have to give up the things you love. Explore healthier options and try new foods. You might be surprised at some of the things you discover that you like.


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