Don't Eliminate, Exchange
Did you make a New Years resolution? Though we are almost to the end of January (can you believe it?), it's never too late to make some resolutions to make small changes that can make a big difference in the overall health equation. Whether it is adding a short walk during the lunch hour, one less cup of coffee, or one more piece of fruit everyday, making a small habit that can stick can have a huge impact.
That said, there isn't always a need for deprivation or completely taking out the luxuries that make life great. I am a huge fan of swapping in healthier choices that feel just as special as the originals. Sometimes the swap ends up being more satisfying and more fun to enjoy!
Swap #1: Pure Dark Chocolate for Candy
Candy might satisfy that sweet tooth, but it is definitely not doing your body any favors. Dark chocolate is rich and velvety, and a small amount can be super satisfying. It has beneficial antioxidants and flavanols, and has less impact on blood sugar than other chocolate varieties or candies. Forget those Sour Patch Kids... bring on the Ghirardelli!
Have you heard of the banana ice cream revolution? It started with a post from a vegan blogger, and took over the cyber world. I have tried it, and it's great! Just freeze a few peeled bananas (one per serving) until frozen solid, and blend them until light, fluffy, and smooth. For fun, add some dark chocolate chunks (see swap #1!), cinnamon, or vanilla extract. This swap decreases sugar, fat, and dairy intake, provides fiber, and adds to your daily fruit intake. What's not to love?
Swap #3: Vegetable Blended Soups for Cream Soups
There is no time for hearty soups like January. Instead of packing in the calories and fat with a cream soup, try making a pureed soup using vegetables for the "creamy" component! Some successful recipes: potato, cabbage, and leek; celery root and cauliflower; butternut squash with ginger; and white bean. It's easy- boil chopped vegetables in broth or seasoned water until tender, blend with a blender or immersion blender e voila! Creamy soup! Be sure to use potatoes, beans, cauliflower, celery root, or another starchy vegetable/legume to up the creaminess.
(Bonus: look for a creamy vegetable soup recipe next week!)
Do you use sugar in your tea, coffee, on your cereal, or perhaps to add sweetness to fruit? This is a beyond easy swap. Use honey! It is as sweet as sugar, but is natural and minimally processed. There are more benefits too if you choose a raw, local, organic variety. Honey may decrease regional allergy symptoms (since pollen is the basis of honey, your body develops a tolerance to regional types), and is a natural antibiotic.
Swap #5: Red Wine...
Kidding! Why would anyone want to swap out wine? Plus there are beneficial antioxidants, as long as you choose red varieties.
Have you made any healthy swaps this year? Are there any foods/drinks that you want to swap out for a healthier choice?