When I start working with a new client, a common fear is that I will tell them that they can no longer have any of the foods that they enjoy currently. I can completely understand this hesitation because we all have foods that we enjoy and form habits around, whether for emotional reasons or physical dependencies. I still experience this myself from time to time, and although it is important to maintain balance and still enjoy the foods you love, there are easy changes you can make that will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
One of the best ways that I have found to make the transition to a healthier diet is to make simple ingredient swaps in your current meals to help make them healthier. Over time, these ingredients will become staples in your home and you will find new ways to use and enjoy them! To get you started, this week's Friday Five offers 5 Healthy Ingredient Swaps that you can make right now.
1. White Flour
White flour is completely devoid of nutrients. The original grain has been stripped, bleached and highly processed to become the product that it is. The healthy alternatives offer benefits such as added fiber, more complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and some vitamins and minerals. Since flours are generally made from grinding down the original ingredient, you can experience the benefits of that ingredient in a new way.
Brown Rice Flour
2. Cooking Spray
Cooking spray is often just a mixture of chemicals that you are unnecessarily adding to your recipes. The healthy swaps offer the benefits of good fats, while achieving the same result that the cooking spray would. Not only that, but the swaps have a higher smoke point, meaning they will not convert to free radicals or destroy the nutrients in them.
3. Margarine, Vegetable Oil
Similar to cooking spray, margarine and vegetable oils are largely made up of chemicals and additives. Contrary to label claims, they generally offer no nutritional value. The healthy swaps offer healthy fats, are better for your digestive system and reduce the chemical load.
Butter or Ghee
Apple Sauce (in baking)
4. Soup Bouillon/Boxed Stock
Store-bought bouillons (especially in cube or powder form) are loaded with sodium and preservatives and rarely include actual ingredients that you would find in a homemade version. Making a stock at home is super simple, and can be done by saving vegetable scraps/ends and adding them to a pot with water and spices of your choice. (they also freeze really well for future use!). This allows you to control the ingredients that go in, and enjoy their benefits.
Water and Sea Salt
5. White Sugar
White or brown sugars are highly processed and offer zero nutritional value. They have also been linked to things like obesity, diabetes, mental illness, inflammation, cancer, etc. The healthy swaps are either not processed, or minimally processed and do contain some nutritional value including antioxidants and minerals.
Pure Maple Syrup