There is a healthy alternative for pretty much everything, and the same goes for the food. There is no excuse for unhealthy living, and if you say that you can’t live without a certain food, that only means that you haven’t tried hard enough. Here are some unhealthy foods that people commonly use and healthy alternatives.
1. White bread – whole-grain bread
We’ll start with white bread since it’s part of every meal for many. Surely it would be best if you could eliminate bread altogether, but if you can’t then choose healthier variants. The reason why white bread is considered unhealthy is that it is made from refined wheat. That’s why it has a huge amount of calories, not to mention gluten which can cause an allergic reaction in many people. On top of that, it can significantly raise blood sugar levels. The alternative option is whole-grain bread. It has less sodium and sugar, but more protein and fiber compared to white bread. However, you still have to pay attention when buying it, since there are many options that are not 100 percent whole grain.
2. Sour Cream – Greek Yogurt
Sour cream is yet another product that is highly used in many ways. Whether you use sour cream as a topping for salads, as an indispensable part of cream soup or in many baking recipes, Greek yogurt can replace it. The consistency of Greek yogurt is not like regular yogurt, it is quite thicker, almost like sour cream. By switching these two you will not only take in less fat, but you will also reduce calories and increase protein intake. Greek yogurt is good as a replacement for sour cream, but it can make a great breakfast as well. All you have to do is add some fruit to it and you get a healthy and refreshing meal.
3. Fruit juice – whole fruit
This is a no-brainer. First of all, you should stop drinking processed fruit juice altogether. The percentage of sugar in those juices is high and not only that, it’s questionable how much fruit is actually used and how much artificial colors and flavors are added. The better option is to make a juice yourself out of fresh fruit. Squeeze lemon or orange, or make a juice in a juicer. However, it would be best if you just eat the whole fruit, because you don’t lose any fiber. One more reason you should eat the whole fruit is that sometimes you need to peel it in order to make a juice from it, and you lose most of the health benefits by doing that.
4. Salt – herbs, and spices
For most people salt is an inevitable spice, it adds flavor to all dishes, and it simply makes everything taste better. But people are not aware that sodium is present in many other herbs and spices. Think about it, salt has no other useful ingredient, in fact too much salt, in the long run, affects your heart and can lead to high blood pressure and stroke. On the other hand, most herbs will not only add flavor to your dish, but they benefit your body as well. You got a variety of healthy spices to choose from and pepper, garlic, ginger, basil, cardamom are just some of them. You can add them chopped or whole, or choose a dry spice, like garlic which can be found in powder form that is equally delicious.
5. Blueberry pie – blueberries
We have chosen blueberries only as an example. The thing we want to emphasize is that it’s best to replace cakes and pies with fresh fruit. This is the bad habit that we all need to get rid of. The fact is that we don’t consider fruit to be a dessert and it is not sweet enough for us by itself. When you combine fruit with sugar, chocolate, or simply when you process, bake or cook fruit, it loses most of its benefits. On the other hand blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and others contain natural sugars that will give us energy throughout the day. You don’t need to have that instant sugar energy bomb that sweets give us, which is followed by a sudden drop in energy.
6. Cow milk – Soy milk
Just think of a vegan diet. There is a whole variety of products that can replace cow milk, which is healthier, have less fat, fewer calories, and are lactose-free. People say that the biggest obstacle when it comes to transitioning to some other milk is the taste. We are used to cow milk so, in the beginning, we will taste the difference, especially in coffee or drinks that we consume regularly. However, soy milk is just one example of plant-based milk; there are also almond milk, coconut milk, and rice milk. Try it all and decide which taste best suits you. They all have a slightly sweet taste and are very creamy, and they can be used in the same way as cow milk.
7. White rice – Brown rice
Rice is pretty much part of the everyday diet in Asia. It doesn’t have a strong and distinctive taste, so it can be combined with almost everything. Also, it is easy to prepare and is quite cheap. Even though brown rice is slightly more expensive, it’s worth paying a bit more for more quality. It comes with more vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and minerals. We can’t say that white rice is not good for you, but its nutritional value is much lower compared to brown rice. By choosing the brown rice you can increase the benefits with the smaller portions. Numerous studies have shown that brown rice is good for regulating blood pressure, blood glucose levels, weight management, heart health, etc.
8. Unhealthy sauces – Vegetable sauces
The sauce is often an irreplaceable part of a meal. If something is too dry, too plain, we will add sauce to it to make it taste better. But we don’t consider that we add extra calories and unhealthy ingredients. Think about it, most of the sauces are usually full of cheese, cream, salt, milk, butter, etc. Add it to already unhealthy macaroni or something else, and you get a few kilos and numerous health risks. So why not switch to healthier alternatives, for instance, tomato sauce. Tomato sauce made from organic tomatoes will not only taste amazing, but it will also bring numerous health benefits to the table. For example, it contains lycopene, which has been proven to prevent certain types of cancer, as well as stroke.
9. Full fat cheese – Reduced-fat cheese
We all know that people love cheese not only in the sauce but in sandwiches or even cheese by itself. Like milk, the same goes for the cheese, there are plenty of plant-based and low-fat options. Switching to low-fat cheese is a big step in the right direction. Some of the best low-fat cheeses are Feta, Ricotta, and Mozzarella, but if you are dedicated enough and want the healthiest option, the first alternative that comes to mind is tofu cheese. It still has great taste and buttery, soft structure, but it is made from tofu and potatoes. It also comes in variants; there is fresh and smoked tofu. However, if you’re all about the taste, this might not be the best option for you.
10. Snacks – Nuts
Eating snacks is one of the unhealthiest and worst habits. There isn’t one good thing to say about it except that it can help us calm down when we’re nervous. However, emotional eating is again a bad thing. Snacks are usually full of salt and unhealthy ingredients. Even if we make it at home it is usually toasted bread with cheese, ham, and mayo. That’s why it’s good to always have some almonds, walnuts, or peanuts. They are very healthy and also tasty. Nuts are also low in calories, and awesome as an addition to other foods, for example, yogurt. Buy them fresh, not salty, then you can fry them in a pan without adding oil. But don’t eat too much of them because they are very caloric.
11. Sugary cereal – Plane cereal
Cereals are considered to be a very good and healthy meal. Usually, they are recommended as a breakfast or dinner. They are nutritious and tasty, but also low in calories. But sometimes cereals can bring more bad than good. The thing is that they can be full of sugar and other things that are not really necessary. It is true that they can become boring, but it is better to buy plain cereal and add something yourself, like fruit or nuts. You can also experiment and eat it with low-fat yogurt, milk, or fresh juice. Pay special attention to cereals for children, they are often full of sugar and unhealthy colors and taste enhancers.