Living a healthy lifestyle is more than just obsessing over your diet. It’s about finding balance, moving your body, and staying consistent. Healthy habits are easy to talk about and wish for, but are hard to implement. I am here to help you implement those, by giving you a few ideas to start swapping out some of your current food choices with healthier ones. Not to say that any of these are “bad” foods, but that they could help you decrease your calorie intake and save calories for real, wholesome food.
Most of these swaps are a way to decrease calories. We know that fat loss comes from a caloric deficit. And so by making simple changes in your diet that you may not “notice” you can decrease calories without changing too much at once. I know a healthy lifestyle can be a hard one to jump into. So much change at once can throw you for a loop and make you so overwhelmed you never start. That’s why my goal here is to give you a few options to start implementing, that don’t change too much of your current eating patterns.
The rules you always need to focus on when it comes to getting healthy is have the 4 main components in all your meals. This means a carb source, a fat source, a protein source and a vegetable. These simple guidelines will help you start to implement eating healthy meals. By focusing on HOW to eat, you decrease the value on what you eat when starting out, and make it easier to adhere to. Like i said, you can’t change too many things at once.
So aside from decreasing calories, these food swaps are also just a healthier version of similar foods. By picking the healthier swap you can also get more nutrients, decrease inflammation and get more energy! Health is more than decreasing calories or losing weight, it’s about feeling your best!
While I am not one to label foods as “good” or “bad”, I do think there are smarter ways to eat. This just means that the main points of your diet should be healthy, and nutritionally dense. While still leaving room in your diet for fun foods, foods that make you happy and are apart of community and social gatherings.
• Greek yogurt instead of sour cream/mayo.
Substituting these in recipes is a game changer! You can start by switching 1/2 the amount at first to adjust your tastebuds.
• Chickpea/lentil pasta instead of whole wheat or regular pasta (more fiber and protein).
A serving or regular pasta is very same, and a lot of carbs. By switching for a plant based option you can having a bigger portion and more nutrients.
• Carbonated water instead of soda.
We all know about sugar here, but in case you don’t I will link the blog.
• Cauliflower crust pizza instead of regular flour crust.
Pizza is a hard food for some people to limit, so just change your ingredients. Not here to tell you never to eat pizza, but sometimes changing to a lower calorie option is easier.
• Fresh fruit over dried fruit.
This is not to say that dried fruit is bad, just that it is easier to eat in large amounts and those calories add up quick.
• Olive oil spray instead of regular oil. Not always but sometimes this can cut calories.
Fats, even if they are the good kind, add up in calories really quick. So put drizzling 2tbsp in your pan each time you cook, you are adding about 130 calories to your meal without noticing.
• Potatoes/hash browns for breakfast instead of bread/bagels.
Bread and bagels digest really quickly, and can raise blood sugar. When you can, opt for a denser, slower digesting food.
• Plain yogurt with fresh fruit over fruit added yogurt.
Fresh fruit/berries have more fiber content than what you will find in a pre-mixed yogurt. More fiber, fuller longer!
• Grilled chicken over breaded chicken
This is a no brainer. Breaded chicken is higher in calories, but usually fried in crappy oil that can cause inflammation.
• Cauliflower rice to increase portion size for regular white rice.
White rice is higher in calories, obviously. By adding cauliflower to it you can increase volume, and fiber without changing the taste.
• Banana ice cream instead of regular ice cream.
Have you ever had ice cream made out of frozen bananas? It is amazing, and again, more nutrients than dairy milk.
• Chia seed pudding instead of regular pudding or high sugar yogurt.
If you make it right, this pudding has a great texture and tastes delish! The chia seeds are full of healthy fats to keep you fuller longer, too!
I know when we take steps to get healthy, we can’t help but just want to lose weight. We have this tunnel vision that nothing else matters but fat loss. And that gets us into trouble. It makes us cut eat less, no matter what the quality is, because less is always better, right? Well, that is not always the case.
It’s important to focus on the quality of your food when you are trying to change your lifestyle so it is sustainable for the long run. If you start out just cutting calories and not educating yourself on nutrition and the makeup of your food, then you are always going to be confused about progress and health. Health has to do with the make up of your food, and the quality of your food. If you start out being conscious of the type of food you are eating instead of how much, you will reach “health” and lasting results a lot quicker!
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