Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Change It Up Tuesdays - 9 Food Switches

To continue the theme of finding ways to make your life healthy and fun, I thought we could talk about some ways you can do some substitutes in the foods you eat to get a little more oomph from what you put in your mouth.

My theory is that what you eat should do the most it can for you.  Fresh, whole foods have so many amazing benefits, so by making some easy choices, we can get a well-rounded diet full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that makes our bodies as well as our taste buds happy.

You don't have to make the switch every time - sometimes you really want ice cream or that sweet dessert.  We're not about restricting what you eat!  But sometimes the alternative can satisfy you, and even be healthier for you at the same time.  Win win!

Rice for pasta

Rice and pasta are actually pretty similar nutritionally, but I like how rice can just be much more natural.  When you look at the ingredients lists on foods, my goal is always to go with simple.  And rice is one of the most simple out there.  Pasta (especially high protein or whole wheat pasta) has it's benefits, but it's a processed food, and for me, brown and wild rice will always win when it comes to real food.

Quinoa for cereals

Quinoa has become one of my favourite foods, especially because of its versatility.  You can have it with every meal.  I've started making my own porridge mix, and quinoa flakes are key to the recipe.  I love that quinoa has more protein in it than other grains.  When combined with oats, you get a great source of fibre and protein.  My tip - don't buy cereals any more - they are generally high in sugar.  Make your own quinoa blends, and use them in porridge, toasted muesli or even bircher muesli.


Sweet potato for white potato

Don't get me wrong.  I think healthy carbs are an important source of energy in our diets.  And potatoes in general are natural starchy friends who always win over processed foods.   The differences start to show when you look at the vitamins and minerals.  Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale.  So which to choose?  I choose variety, so I'll eat some of both, but probably more sweet potato on a day to day basis.

Green juice for fruit juice

Sometime we want to be refreshed, as well as treat our bodies with love.  That is where a vegie juice comes out to play for me.  I love that a juice with kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, as well as some apple juice, lemon and mint, gives me a few servings of vegetables for my day, and tastes great (even if it doesn't look like it does!).  I'm all about the vegetables - I think we get enough sugars in our diets, so why add more with a fruit juice.  Even better, eat vegies for snacks!  But just get 'em into you :)

Mineral water for soft drink

This is kind of a no brainer for me, and I can't believe it took me so long to make the switch.  I used to drink diet drinks, thinking at least I wasn't getting the extra calories from the high sugar versions.  But I was still drinking artificial products that can mess with your body (here's some info if you are interested).  So for me, a bubbly water with a splash of lemon juice will win the real food race.  No more diet soft drinks for this girl.

Fruit for lollies

My justification for choosing fruit over artificial lollies comes back to letting your food do the heavy lifting in providing you with the variety of nutritional elements, including potassium, fibre, vitamin C and folate (folic acid).  And it helps that fruit is yummy!  Try freezing grapes, or just having a bowl full of strawberries.  At the moment I'm also really enjoying just a chilled orange.  Simple, yet tasty - and great for you!

Cacao for chocolate

Cacao is my new favourite food.  I add cacao powder and nibs to all kinds of things to sweeten them - biscuits, cakes, porridge, protein balls - just to name a few.  I am even loving a Cacao and Peanut Butter that I spread on toast.  My current FAVOURITE treat recipe is a Cacao fudge - it is to die for.  Cacao is the most pure form of chocolate you can eat, and is supposed to have the highest source of antioxidants and magnesium of all foods.  That's a big call!  Cacao will give you a chocolate hit without the extra additives (especially sugars) you find in chocolate - even dark.


Honey for sugar

Honey is probably what we consider a natural sweetener - especially when compared with the other sugars we see on the supermarket shelves.  Honey has a glycemic index lower than sugar because it also contains water and traces of fibre, fat and protein.  Honey is definitely a form of sugar, but you get a few other bonus benefits, including it being a great treatment for hayfever (if it is locally sourced honey), and can also be used as a medicine due to its anti-bacterial properties.  

Frozen fruits for ice cream

One of my recent loves is frozen fruit.  Or more specifically, when you process frozen fruit to make it like a soft serve icecream - but without the fat and other additives.  Yonanas is a good example of this kind of processor.  Mango and banana are great for this, because of their lower water content.  But don't be limited - give everything a try, and mix and match flavours.  It is also a great way to use fruit before it goes off (which happens quickly in hot summer months).


You can probably see that my aim is always to eat whatever version is most true to the source.  Then you get the most nutrients, vitamins and minerals out of the food, as well as knowing exactly what is in it.  Keep it simple, and your body will thank you.

What foods do you substitute to be healthier?  Share more suggestions with us!

I'm not a nutritionist nor have I had any medical training.  I am just sharing my own personal views.  Please feel free to let me know if I have provided incorrect information.  

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