Food Substitutions

Eating healthy and cutting out unhealthy foods is never easy. The good news is, you can substitute some of your unhealthy foods with healthier alternatives. By simply substituting some of the foods you eat every day, you can consume fewer calories that have less cholesterol. It also benefits your body in other ways like weight loss and lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, etc. Your body will thank you!

There are so many things that I’ve found can be easily substituted. This past week I focused on using all of my substitutions. I figured if I was able to substitute healthier versions in the majority of my meals this week that would mean I significantly cut out a good chunk of processed, artificial foods. One thing I did was put a scoop of almond butter in my fruit smoothie instead of a scoop of peanut butter which has more added sugar and preservatives than natural almond butter. The only downside is it isn’t as sweet, but it still added the nutty taste to my smoothie so it worked!

For dinner, I asked my mom to make brown rice with vegetables instead of white rice or plain pasta noodles. Brown rice is a healthier whole grain and you could barely notice the taste was any different when you mixed them with the vegetables. After dinner, for dessert, I usually have Breyer’s ice cream but instead, I had a chocolate frozen yogurt popsicle. It was a different consistency but still chocolate so it did the job. Also, to satisfy my sweet tooth I had pieces of dark chocolate instead of Hershey’s milk chocolate.

An easy, less drastic way of creating and maintaining a healthier diet is substituting foods you already eat with healthier versions. Just fully cutting out foods you like and eat regularly is not sustainable. Especially if you don’t then add in new foods, you’re creating negative feelings of deprivation and omission. You want to be excited and happy about creating a healthier lifestyle because that is the most likely way you will be able to sustain it and make lasting impactful changes.

Additionally, introducing a bunch of brand new foods can be overwhelming and scary. No one likes unknowns. Especially in regards to their foods. A lot of times mealtime is meant to be an enjoyable time, where you get to have downtime or get to get together with people. If you take that away by making eating, a time of uncertainty by not knowing if you’ll like what you eat you again create a negative stigma around this new food pattern that will decrease the likelihood you sustain it.

By substituting foods you already enjoy and eat you know you’re at least somewhat familiar to what you’re trying, making it less scary and overwhelming. Usually, healthier foods aren’t too drastically different, and if anything they just lack a lot of artificial sweetness that gets added that often makes processed foods sweeter and almost addictive. A substitution doesn’t create the feeling of deprivation if anything you are adding more variety and options to your diet! Whole grain, natural, healthier options usually leave you feeling more satiated, so you don’t have to eat as much to feel full or feel the desire to keep eating.

Overall, substituting healthier versions of foods you already eat will create a more positive stigma to altering your diet as opposed to a negative one. This positive outlook will help make this process more enjoyable, less overwhelming, and will increase the likelihood these eating patterns will be maintained so the benefits can be reaped long term.