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Healthy food swaps

Simple healthy food swaps

Small changes can make a huge difference. By making simple food swaps, you can cut calories, fat, sugar and salt, while gaining nutrients and minerals. Cancer Wellness at Piedmont’s Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian, and Chef Nancy Waldeck share their favorite healthy swaps. These swaps are so delicious you’ll never miss the extra calories.

  1. Swap pasta for quinoa. You’ll get more protein, fiber and nutrients per bite.
  2. Instead of store-bought nut butter, make your own in a food processer using almonds or peanuts as the only ingredient.  You’ll get the great taste without added preservatives, salt or sugar. For a creamier texture, add a bit of water and blend.
  3. Trade iceberg lettuce for Napa cabbage. It has more vitamins and nutrients, and is great in salads, tacos or even as a sandwich wrap. Other nutritious swaps for iceberg lettuce include spinach, Swiss chard, kale and baby greens. Remember: the more color, the better.
  4. Skip the store-bought salad dressing and make your own with olive oil, your favorite vinegar, pepper, mustard and/or herbs. Komar recommends reading the label of your favorite dressing, then create your own using the same main ingredients – nixing the extra preservatives.
  5. Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise. Waldeck likes this protein-rich option for chili, dips and chicken salad.
  6. Instead of mayonnaise on your sandwich, slather on some avocado. You’ll get heart-healthy fat with a delicious creamy flavor.
  7. Use fresh citrus juice and herbs in place of salt. Less sodium is key for heart health. Citrus juice adds a bright pop of flavor so you won’t miss the salt in your sauces, main entrees, salads and side dishes. Herbs add incredible flavor so you won’t want to reach for the salt shaker.
  8. Use Bragg Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce for a gluten-free, preservative-free option. They contain essential amino acids and protein, and are non-GMO.
  9. Replace half the fat (like oil) in baked goods with a healthier option. Waldeck recommends mashed cannellini beans, black beans for brownies, applesauce, stewed prunes, avocado or sweet potatoes. Just don’t replace all of the oil or you’ll lose the texture you want.

“When you take things out of a food like fat, sugar and preservatives, you’ve got to put something back in,” says Waldeck. “That’s why a lot of my recipes have herbs and spices – otherwise, it just tastes like ‘health food.’”

Click here for more nutrition tips or visit the Living Better recipe index

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