A balanced diet is essential to living and feeling healthy but sculpting a diet full of variety can be better! Incorporating more variety into your daily eating habits can provide you with more essential nutrients that can help your body function at a higher capacity. There are many foods that we consume on a daily basis, which in excess, are incredibly harmful to our health. In this article, we will cover some basics on healthy alternatives to these foods to help you live a healthy and happy life..
1. WHITE SUGAR
White sugar is full of calories and provides no nutritional value whatsoever. It doesn’t contain vitamins, minerals, fibers or any other essential nutrients as they were extracted during the refining process. Excess consumption of white sugar is harmful to the body and can cause health issues including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
It’s important to note that there are many alternatives to white sugar. Here are a few:
– Brown sugar: Although it too must be consumed in moderation, brown sugar is a much better choice than white sugar. It contains minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron as well as vitamins.
– Honey: Another alternative to white sugar is honey. It has less calories than white sugar and is much healthier too. It possesses nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as both antiseptic and antibacterial properties too. It should truly be considered an ally on your quest to be healthy.
Butter is extremely rich in saturated fatty acids. When used excessively, it can be extremely harmful to your health. Even though it’s alright to consume butter from time to time, it’s important to take note of the many alternatives.
– Vegetable oils: Vegetable oils are an excellent alternative to butter. When cooking, try using either olive oil or coconut oil because they are rich in good fatty-acids. Sunflower oil is another excellent choice as it is perfect for baking.
– Avocados: The avocado can be used in both sweet and salty recipes. It’s a fantastic alternative to softened butter and by composition, it is a far healthier substitute; not to mention it’s creamy texture compliments most recipes.
It is important to limit salt intake because excess consumption can lead to issues like hypertension.
Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, season your dishes with aromatic herbs and spices. Herbs and spices are much better alternatives to salt because they enhance the flavor of your dish without putting your health at risk.
There is such a large variety of herbs and spices that it’s possible to integrate them into any recipe. A few of the most common herbs and spices include: basil, thyme, dill, rosemary and many more!
4. POTATO CHIPS
Potato chips are very fatty and high in sodium. It’s not recommended to eat too many of them but let’s be honest, it’s hard to eat just one.
For a better and less guiltful appetizer, try reaching for an assortment of carrots, cucumbers or celery sticks. These vegetables will bring you the crunchy satisfaction you desire but with far less calories and no fat or salt. You can even spice them up by adding different condiments; my personal favorite is cheese sauce!
5. ICE CREAM
Ice cream is a delicious snack but like many other items I’ve mentioned, it’s only good in moderation. It’s ingredients include milk or cream, water, sugar, natural flavors and in some cases, fruit. So be careful with how much you eat.
A much healthier alternative to ice cream is sorbet. It contains simple ingredients like water, fruit, sugar and a collection of different aromas. It does not contain dairy products which is why it contains no fat. Although they are very sweet, sorbets are a good alternative to ice creams but still in moderation.
In the event that your sweet tooth kicks into overdrive, avoid the sugary candy and foods by reaching for sweet fruits like watermelon or pineapple.
We all love to eat pasta as it is a quick and easy to prepare; not to mention delicious. However, it is very high in carbohydrates so you should limit its intake.
There are healthier alternatives to white pasta for example, whole pasta. Whole pastas are more rich in fiber than white pasta, which limits the absorption of sugar in the blood. Overall, whole pasta is better for health.
The benefits of incorporating these alternatives into your regular dietary habits will not appear overnight. They are the result of repetition, consistency and actually incorporating these healthy alternatives into your daily meal routine. Only when you truly learn to feed your body what it needs to survive, will you truly begin to reap the benefits.
Article written by Amélie Vincent, dietitian