It is no secret the best way to fuel our bodies is with clean, whole foods. While it should be your goal every day to consume minimally processed foods that offer a variety of nutrients, sometimes we have to choose foods that are packaged and quick. That doesn’t mean that you have to reach for the Oreos, though. There are many options available to you that are healthier versions of the foods we love, you just have to make an effort to find them!
I have spent the last year transforming our kitchen and teaching our son to choose clean, whole foods for snacks and meals. It has been a slow (and sometimes painful) process, but we are on the right track. I’m going to share some healthy substitutions with you so that you can get to work on transforming your kitchen and your health.
Back to Nature Round Crackers instead of Ritz Crackers
I think I did a little dance when I found these crackers. Cole used to be obsessed with Ritz crackers, but when we started making the switch to healthy, those were one of the first things that had to go. Ritz crackers are full of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and enriched flour. Back to Nature crackers do not have high fructose corn syrup, and use wheat flour instead. My son loves these, and honestly, they taste great to me too! While they are obviously still processed, they are a much better option that you shouldn’t have to feel guilty about. So far I have only been able to find them in Publix and on Amazon.
Natural Unsweetened Applesauce instead of regular Applesauce
This one seems like an obvious, but a lot of people tend to reach for the applesauce with sugar added without even thinking about it. My son likes the cinnamon applesauce, however, they don’t sell a natural applesauce with cinnamon (at least not that I’ve found), so we add our own at home.
Applegate Organic Nitrate Free Hotdogs instead of Oscar Mayer Hotdogs
These hot dogs are a favorite of ours. They are organic, nitrate free, 100% grass fed beef. They only have 8 grams of fat, compared to the 15 grams in most brands, and they are high in omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re going to eat a hot dog- eat these!
Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream
Greek Yogurt has a naturally occurring sour taste to it, which makes it a great substitution for sour cream. I have used it in recipes, on tacos, and in dips. Not only does it have less fat, but it also packs a good protein punch!
Avocado instead of Mayonnaise
Avocado is creamy, just like mayonnaise, but the health benefits are far greater. It is a nutrient dense food that provides nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, vitamin E, and folic acid. It is full of healthy fats and will help to keep you full longer. I use avocado in place of mayonnaise with my tuna fish sandwiches. It pretty much tastes the same but it keeps me full so much longer! You can spread avocado on your sandwiches or chop it up into your salads.
Coconut Oil instead of Vegetable or Canola Oil
Vegetable Oil, Canola Oil, and many other oils are hazardous to your health. They are refined oils that have been processed and cleaned with chemicals. Most of them come from genetically modified corn, soy, or canola. Vegetable and Canola Oil are often heated to very high temperatures during processing. This oxidizes the oils, and creates free radicals that can damage your body.
Coconut Oil is the better choice. It contains medium-chain fatty acids that can be absorbed into the body quickly for energy. When choosing one, be sure to look for organic, virgin Coconut Oil to make sure you are receiving maximum benefits.
I like to use Coconut Oil when making popcorn on the stove. All you need is 1 teaspoon of oil to 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels, and you have a delicious, heart healthy snack!
Natural Peanut Butter instead of regular Peanut Butter
Regular peanut butter, like Peter Pan and Jiff, are full of sugar. Somewhere along the line, those companies decided that people would enjoy peanut butter more if there were more sugar. While it might taste good to you, it certainly isn’t good for you. I resisted Natural Peanut Butter for a long time because I didn’t think I liked it. I stuck to whipped peanut butter, which had less sugar, but still wasn’t the best choice. When I realized how much peanut butter we were adding to our Shakeology and how much peanut butter my son was eating, I knew I had to make the switch. I am so glad I did- we don’t even notice a difference! Our favorite is the Smucker’s Organic Natural Peanut Butter. So yummy!
Pure Maple Syrup instead of Aunt Jemima Imitation Maple Syrup
This one was a hard switch for us. Let’s face it- Aunt Jemima is where it’s at! I have finally adjusted to the taste and now I don’t even miss the old stuff. The first two ingredients in Aunt Jemima’s Original are Corn Syrup and High Fructose Corn Syrup. Yikes! We don’t use it that often, but we do enjoy waffles or pancakes sometimes on the weekends. I also use it as a sweetener in some baked goods, so I knew we had to make the switch. Pure Maple Syrup has a much thinner consistency and it has ONE ingredient: Pure Maple Syrup. You don’t get much more clean than that.
These are just some of the little changes we have made throughout the past year. Making small changes like this has helped to propel us forward into healthier eating. It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Think baby steps, and take it one day at a time. I hope these help!
Leave a comment below and share some of your own healthy substitutions! Don’t forget to subscribe to my posts by email!