REALISTIC Healthy Food Swaps to Make Now brings 13 super easy ideas based on my everyday experience for a few healthier choices.
13 REALISTIC Healthy Food Swaps
Givin’ it to ya straight, kids. Your girl’s brain is often in a wicked foggy haze as life dishes up more uncertainty. For corn’s sake. What season is it? Why does it feel like midnight some nights when we’re eating dinner?
What the heck am I even gonna make for dinner tonight? Why am I so starved at 9 p.m.? (Probably too much sugar and carbs…great when you wanna gain a few pounds like me…not good for an anti-inflammatory diet or extra pounds!).
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I’m not suggesting anything earth shattering. Just simple food swap ideas for real people to get closer to our wellness goals.
I independently selected products in this post—if you buy from one of my links, I may earn a commission.
1. Ditch Mayo for Mustard
I adore mayo (omg, in the olden days…a schmear of Miracle Whip on Wonder bread with nothing else? Color me a happy camper!), but this one’s fairly easy, oui? Calories in mustard? Zip.
BTW. As a little girl, my Southern granny introduced me to mustard as a delicious, light, zero calorie dressing for pasta…it’s so good and reminds me of her…try it!
Made in Sweden Spreaders Are So Happy in the Kitchen!
2. Say Hello to a Grill Pan
I have shared this a zillion times, but I use a 12″ cast iron nonstick grill pan almost every single night for grilling rather than frying.
It does not wear out and is probably the single most important weapon in my healthy cooking arsenal.
If you want to spend a little less and don’t think you’ll need the handle to be stainless (allows me to also use grill pan in oven), here’s a less expensive option by Calphalon:
3. Say Hello to Lovely Lemon Water
Here’s a most important healthy swap for me personally since I still need to eliminate Diet Coke. Ditching it whenever possible for lemon water is likely to increase energy, decrease cravings for carbs, and improve complexion.
Attractive water goblets for your lemon water, darling? You just can’t beat the price and quality of these:
4. Trade Baked Potato for Fries
French fries are beyond delicious and hard to resist, but go for the baked potato and go to bed skinnier! For seasoning the potatoes and beyond…
When eating out, ask for this substitution as well – who knows how many fatty calories those restaurant fries contain!
For More Even Cooking…Potato Nails
Make the Best Baked Potato!
5. Eat One Slice, Not Two
Whether dining out or making toast at home, consume one slice not two. Making a sandwich? Leave it skinnier, one-sliced and open-faced!
Yes, indeed this Jesusfreak owns a holy mother toast stamp…and she thinks Jesus of Nazareth might laugh too.
Madonna Toast Stamp
6. Sub Fresh Herbs for Cheese
While I’m not suggesting an herb substitute for all of the cheese in your grilled cheeses, think of all the casseroles, tacos, sandwiches and recipes where cheese is mindlessly sprinkled when the thing could be brightened and lightened with clean, lean, fresh green.
We interrupt these smart swaps to make you feel better than ever about your current dietary habits no matter how wack and high in calories they are (Also. This vid just may work as well as hypnosis for weight loss…)
7. Green Up That Pizza
Stick with me now, pizza pie peeps. You don’t have to strip your whole pizza pie naked of cheese. But I’m sure every now and again you have topped your pizza with fresh lettuce salad. So come on now, do this more regularly!
8. Hard-boil ‘Em
Skip the fat associated with fried and boil your eggs instead.
Also cute egg cups…how civilized.
9. Instead of Sweetened Breakfast Cereal…
Eat a bowl of oatmeal like gram always insisted! Over the years, I have experimented with methods for cooking my old fashioned oats perfectly (which means the way my beloved Southern granny cooked oatmeal!), and I’d love to hear your preferred recipe.
I eat my oatmeal in bistro bowls like this:
10. Skinnier Pasta
Any green beans fans in the house? I do love me some green beans (please don’t sprinkle saute them with sugar like my Southern daddy does…not a fan here!). I discovered long ago I could make a pasta dish a whole lot healthier by subbing French cut green beans for half of the pasta.
These days, my diet includes lots of spinach (every single day, y’all), and here’s a yummy way to add it:
11. Thin Over Deep Dish
Oh this one is such a challenge for a ChiTown deep dish girl. Even though I have a restricted fat diet, I still love a mile high pan pizza crust. But let’s try to indulge our bodies with self-kindness and less dough (lest our tummies begin to resemble that dough).
If you MUST have pan pizza, then make a small pan, and if you like lazy make ahead recipes, I have made this a million times (with just a little cheese since fat is a problem for me) and am always awed by the airy, impossibly fluffy results:
One of my dream house amentities? A pizza oven like this:
12. Swap Refined for Whole Grains
Go for the higher fiber and nutrients whole grains offer over refined grains which are associated with thickening of the arteries. If you have yet to discover my favorite no-flour, no-knead, g-free healthy bread, FIND IT HERE.
It is based on the method and recipe from the bread recipe developed by My New Roots which you can see demonstrated here:
Read those labels on bread at the grocery store carefully. I found a wholegrain oat bread I like with triple the fiber of everything else. Here’s a genius design for a bread basket (or fruit basket or any number of things!).
13. Trade Fatty Meats for Lean
If you aren’t cutting out red meat entirely, begin replacing half of your normal consumption with lean cuts and fish.
Bonus: Move Over Marg
…and make room for Merlot. Red wine offers a few health benefits in addition to being lower in calories than a margarita.
I rarely drink alcohol so this one’s easy for me…in fact, I would rather cook with red wine than sip it since I love how it elevates flavors.
I may not be as fit or young like Mimi, but I can eat healthy like her…baby steps.
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Peace to you right where you are.
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amo o blog de vocês. Tem mil inspirações. Gosto de ver as lindas postagens de seu país.
Thanks for reading! Happy New Year! 🙂
Great post!! I do most of your 14 tips but some were new great ideas & an encouragement to KEEP IT UP! The first video was HA-LAR-I-OUS and second one had SUCH great ideas/recipes!! Thanks for sharing both. Your blog continues to be one of my all-time favs for many reasons! So glad I found it as I don’t follow many…thanks! You do an awesome job. May 2019 be full of grace and peace for you and yours.
So grateful for your loyal readership – I love hearing from you and am so happy you found some smiles here. Best to you in this new year, full of hope and new mercies every single day. 🙂
I had to laugh about throwing the “spring mix” lettuce into the garbage….I thought I was the only one doing that on a regular basis!! Just a funny, quirky little thing that we probably all do!
Isn’t that hilarious! It is resonating with so many people! Thanks for tuning in. 🙂
I am with you on the deep dish chocolate chip cookie pie. OMG, too much. I like all of your healthy food swaps. I am so into lemon water, but a dentist told me that the acid in the lemon water can damage your teeth. I still add lemon but not all of the time. Even when it is good for you, it affects something else. I eat oatmeal almost every morning.
I am not sure why I don’t receive emails when you post at my parties. Curious!
So glad you stopped by and hope your weekend is going great.
That is a helpful point about dental health, and I need to research this further. Thanks for hosting and adding a layer of beauty here! xox
Love these swaps! Oh my goodness, the french cut green beans for half the pasta!!?? That is genius, and I never would have thought of it! (Also, it’s funny, just yesterday I was asking my husband if he had ever eaten Miracle Whip on a slice of white bread when he was little! I did it all the time! (Although, the thought now makes me literally gag a little!) Thanks for sharing at Thursday Favorite Things!
Thanks for hosting and adding fun here – love your energy and spirit! xox
So many great ideas here! Thanks so much for sharing at TFT!
Oh and I prefer herbs over cheese! I have been DF for 7 years due to food allergies but I don’t miss it anymore!
Hi Amber! Great to hear you have adapted to life beyond cheese… that gives us all hope! I appreciate your visits to so much – thank you!
I have a healthy eating plan which I write down for every week. Includes most of your tips. Ref. Oatbowl, in
Spain we call it Avena and it is part of my daily breakfast. I soak the oats together with some mixed graines
over night and cook it for 7 min. next morning refilled with milk or water, so it isn’t sticky but rather creamy and
soft. Some berries, pears, bananas etc. make a nice deco and are also healthy. Never heard of a glass herb preserver because I wrap my herbs in a wet kitchentowel where they keep fresh for 1 week. Throwing any food in the garbage is a no go for me because it is a gift for us from nature and if you are a bit reasoning you can make some delicious
little starters from it.
Writing it all down is such an important tip that I should add to this list because it is only when I am very intentional and plan ahead, that I can stick to a smarter, healthier diet. If I wait until I am starved to think about meals, I will definitely overeat (a disaster for me and my GI issues) or choose poorly. I tend to be a minimalist with my oatmeal – especially now since I still can’t taste (an unfortunate post-covid thing I have hope will someday resolve). Now if I could only drink my coffee black with no flavoring! 🙂
Great info on easy swaps to make!! And I totally understand/agree about trying to drink black coffee! One thing I have tried that seems to help some is adding collagen to my black coffee…it seems to take away some of the bitter/stronger taste of black coffee for me. It’s kinda like adding plain creamer, but it doesn’t change of color of the coffee as much! ha! Try it & let me know what you think! But remember…it’s def not the same as a flavored creamer!
Haven’t ever heard that – thank you, Amy. Guurrrrrl, I could use some collagen. 🙂
I am so delighted to see you hear at the party. I hope you are well. So glad that the snow is off the roof. Spring is coming!! I love all of your diet swaps. I remember eating mayo in a slice of Wonder bread. To this day, I am not a big fan of mayo. lol!
Snow is nearly gone from the ground, Bev!!! So exciting to wake up each morning this week and watch the disappearing act. Thanks so much for visiting!
Love all of your swap ideas. Congratulations, you are being featured on Thursday Favorite Things. I hope you stop by. https://www.eclecticredbarn.com/2022/02/thursday-favorite-things-party_01113007350.html
Yay! Thanks so much for the support and shout out, Bev. Hope you’re having a lovely week. I’ll be joining you at TFT again and always the reminder that it’s Thursday (can you tell I’m in the throes of moving????). Hahaha.
You are so welcome for the feature. Yes, if it helps someone, then it is all with it. I always love reading your posts, they are so informative with a side of whimsy,
Shucks! Thanks, Bev. 🙂