Eating is one of the great pleasures of the human experience. Unfortunately, it also happens to be one of the main things that makes us sick or even kills us. The good news is that it’s quite possible to eat well and extend your life by replacing unhealthy items with healthier ingredients. Let the feast begin with these painless, surprisingly delicious ingredient swaps!
Try a Red Meat Substitute
The consumption of red meat has unfortunately been linked (no offense to sausages) to numerous health issues, not the least of which being an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. There’s also the environmental toll of meat to consider. You’ll especially want to steer clear of processed and fatty cuts of meat.
No doubt this is a bummer for those of us with a carnivorous bent, but there are oodles of tasty meatless alternatives to choose from, including falafel, tofu, and even outside the box flavors like jackfruit.
Make Your Spuds Sweet, or Veg Out
Do you like French fries? Come one now who doesn’t. Unfortunately our beloved fried, salted ‘taters sliced from Idaho’s finest are not good for us, but sweet potato fries can be a much healthier alternative (so long as you don’t fry them in unhealthy oil and douse them with salt). Carrots, zucchini, and even green beans are just a few more healthier ingredients you can substitute in to satisfy your fry craving.
Swap the Sugar
Many of us have a raging sweet tooth that must be kept at bay… or else. You can keep the sweet-rage at bay without ingesting as much sugar by using vanilla, cinnamon, applesauce, or by plopping in some fruits like blueberries.
Sodium bombs are lurking everywhere in today’s processed, preservative-packed food world. Even innocent seeming dishes can contain toxic levels of sodium. If you’d like to cut back on sodium, and perhaps fend off the hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease it’s been known to cause, you can do so by using healthier ingredients like garlic powder, vinegars, limes, and other salt-free spices. You can also substitute sea salt for regular salt. If you’re a soy sauce fiend, give liquid aminos a try, or brew up your own concoction.
Beware the Butter, Oil, and Cream
There are plenty of ways to eat around the butter, oil, and cream conundrum; though it should be noted that a certain amount of fat is needed for a healthy diet.
For butter, here’s a list of options ranked by heart health. As for oil, here’s a buyer’s guide to selecting the healthiest. Cream you can always sub out in favor of evaporated skim milk, avocado, cottage cheese, or any number of pureed vegetables like peas or asparagus.
Rice or Pasta
White rice and enriched white pasta can raise your blood sugar and make your insulin spike. Choosing whole wheat pasta and finding a white rice substitute can make a huge difference for your health. Try to get in the habit of eating healthier ingredients like brown rice, bulgur, or quinoa.
Finding Healthier Ingredients That Work For You
The bottom line is that you don’t need to be a nutritionist or break the bank to start eating better, feeling better, and living better. By making small changes—mixing in one healthier ingredient at a time—you are one step closer to preventing a disability, and possibly saving your life. You can do it!
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