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20 Healthy Food Swaps | Easy Food Life Hacks Graphic © healthpowerboost.com. Background photo: Pixabay (PD)
Every time you eat or drink is an opportunity to nourish your body with nutrients that make you feel great and reinvigorated. It’s a chance to support your health now and in the future—to reduce disease risk.
But from time to time, we throw caution to the wind—allowing our taste buds and creative marketing by food companies to influence our eating choices. Low-nutrient foods may be tasty and convenient, but they can negatively affect your health when consumed regularly. What does this mean for people who would still like to enjoy their favorite treats but are rightfully health conscious?
Healthy Food Swaps For Common Foods And Drinks
The healthy choice is to reduce your intake of low-nutrient foods in favor of healthier alternatives. Here are some healthy food swaps as suggested by Nikole from HealthNut Nutrition:
1: Sugared Cereals –> Puffed Grains:
It’s easy to assume breakfast cereals are an excellent way to kickstart your day. But this is not always the case. Standard boxed breakfast cereals are high in added sugar, which is liked to an increased risk of heart disease. 
2: White Sugar —> Coconut Sugar
If you need a sweetener, consider coconut sugar over white sugar. It has a lower glycemic index and contains nutrients found in coconut palm—while white sugar is essentially empty calories.
3: Gummies —> Dried Fruit
Kick gummies to the curb and try some organic dried fruit. It’s highly nutritious and rich in several minerals and vitamins. 
4: Tortilla Wraps —> Lettuce Wraps
For a low-carb and nutritious wrap option, toss out tortilla in favor of lettuce.
5: Sports Drink —> Coconut Water
“Sports drinks” are marketed as a solution to boost your athletic performance and energy. What they don’t openly tell you is that most of these beverages are loaded with added sugars, artificial colors, and other questionable additives. Swap sports drinks with nutrient-rich coconut water.  Be sure to check the labels and get 100% pure coconut water!
6: Vegetable Oil —> Apple Sauce (Baked Goods)
An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? So consider using apple sauce for your baked goods instead of oil.
7: Cooking Oil —> Vegetable Stock
Similar to substituting oil for applesauce in your baking adventures, consider using vegetable stock in the place of cooking oil as a healthier alternative.
8: Ranch Dressing —> Hummus
Ranch dressing is a culinary staple in many kitchens. While it can be healthy, some brands are full of fats and ingredients that are not. A great alternative is hummus, which is packed with nutrients linked to several health benefits. 
9: Cheese —> Nutritional Yeast
If the name did not give it away, nutritional yeast is packed with nutrients—including proteins, trace minerals, B vitamins, and powerful antioxidants.  It’s a great replacement for cheese.
10: White Rice —> Cauliflower Rice
White rice is highly processed—stripping it of nutrients and fiber.  On the other hand, cauliflower rice is rich in fiber, nutrients, and several beneficial plant compounds. 
11: Fried Egg —> Poached Egg
Eggs are admired for their affordability and nutritious value. But how you cook them can affect their nutrient profile. High-heat cooking, such as frying, may reduce the number of nutrients . For this reason, poached eggs may maintain more nutrients than fried eggs. Plus. They have lower calories because you don’t add any extra fat.
12: Potato Chips —> Air Popped Popcorn
Potato chips are typically fried in oil and flavored with salt, among other additives. Snack on air-popped popcorn as a healthier substitute.
13: Mayonnaise —> Smashed Avocado
Mayo gives you a dose of saturated fat with little nutritional value. While you could switch to low-fat mayo, smashed avocado is a healthier substitute—rich in unsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. 
14: Sour Cream —> Greek Yogurt
Sour cream is high in saturated fat. Greek yogurt is a good alternative with low fat content.
15: Soda —> Lemon Water
Similar to sports drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages, soda is typically low in nutrients and high in calories. Excess sugar is linked to several health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and tooth decay.   And while diet soda does not contain sugar, it’s still associated with a higher risk of metabolic syndrome. 
16: Spaghetti —> Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)
Pasta can be part of a healthful diet. But you know what’s healthier? Zucchini noodles, which are rich in many nutrients and antioxidants. .
17: Fries —> Sweet Potato Fries
Swap french fries for sweet potato fries to boost your intake of vitamin A. 
18: Ice Cream —> “Nice Cream”
Ice cream is a sweet delight that can be tempting. Unfortunately, most options in the market contain refined sugar and are calorie dense. If you have a sweet tooth, consider “nice cream” – i.e., frozen bananas mixed in a food processor with almond milk.
19: Heavy Cream —> Cashew Cream
Cashew milk is rich in protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and a variety of minerals and vitamins. 
20: Fruit Base —> Frozen Veggies (Smoothies)
Cut your fructose intake by swapping fruit base smoothies with some vegetable alternatives.
Here’s the video:
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 Bennett, L. E., Singh, D. P., & Clingeleffer, P. R. (2010). Micronutrient mineral and folate content of Australian and imported dried fruit products. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 51(1), 38-49: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21229417/
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 Imamura, F., O’Connor, L., Ye, Z., Mursu, J., Hayashino, Y., Bhupathiraju, S. N., & Forouhi, N. G. (2015). Consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, artificially sweetened beverages, and fruit juice and incidence of type 2 diabetes: systematic review, meta-analysis, and estimation of population attributable fraction. Bmj, 351: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26199070/
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 Li, Y., Hruby, A., Bernstein, A. M., Ley, S. H., Wang, D. D., Chiuve, S. E., … & Hu, F. B. (2015). Saturated fats compared with unsaturated fats and sources of carbohydrates in relation to risk of coronary heart disease: a prospective cohort study. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 66(14), 1538-1548: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26429077/
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