Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging, especially when unhealthy temptations are around. However, there are many small changes you can do to healthify your food choices. It’s usually not the specific meal that we are craving, but the feeling it gives us. And the good news is that there’s ways to achieve the same feeling of satisfaction through healthier food choices. Check out those healthy food swaps to make better decisions without compromising the taste.
TV food: Instead of going for the chips, choose air popped corn dressed with olive oil and sea salt. Your substitute fried food for healthy monounsaturated fat. Plus, you get some fibers. But the best thing for me is that even a huge bowl of that popcorn has fewer calories than a regular bowl of potato chips.
Just looking to have something to munch on? Grapes, or fresh blueberries can be just what you’re asking for. Those sweet and juicy berries let you munch all night long without adding calories, with the added benefits of antioxidants!
Chocolate: Since chocolate itself is not the biggest threat, there’s many food swap you can make to satisfy this craving without the unhealthy fats and sugar. You could have a heart healthy chocolate pudding, as example. Or you could make an easy chocolate dip for fruits by mixing raw almond butter with cocoa, some milk (dairy, soy, rice or nut), and a dash of honey or maple syrup. And if only pure chocolate will do, at least choose high quality dark chocolate. Aim for at least 70% cacao, and without palm or other exotic oils. High quality chocolate should be made with cacao butter only. And to keep a good karma, always choose fair trade chocolate. Don’t let me start again on making choices that reflect our core values!
Salty food: If you crave for something salty, choosing olives, or tamari covered nuts and seeds are far better than chips and fries. You could also choose to make some pita chips, or healthy crackers or veggies with hummus, veggie pate, or other healthy dip.
Sweets: Dates are my favorite when I’m craving for sweets. Other unsweetened dried fruits are also good for that. If possible, select those not treated with sulfur. 100% juice popsicles can also be a good alternative. No sugar added fruit roll-ups or even natural, no sugar added gummy bears could be a better option than regular sweets when nothing else will do.
Cookies: Instead of choosing cookies loaded with fat and sugar, why not make your own. Substitute some fruit purée for a part of the fat, and honey, maple or agave syrup instead of white sugar. You could easily cut the sugar content by around 1/3 in most recipes without affecting too much the flavor. Or try my own no sugar added vegan and gluten free banana cookies recipe.
Fried food: When we crave fried food, it’s the fat that we’re looking for. Choosing healthy fats instead can help us manage this craving while limiting the damages. Avocados, nuts and seeds are a great source of naturals, healthy fats. If only fries will do, try oven-baked sweet potatoes or home made Greek style oven-baked potatoes for a healthier option.
Learning to make healthier diet choices is something we all should aim for. Finding the emotional source that lurks behind overeating and unhealthy habits is the key to find health and freedom. But it doesn’t mean that we can’t indulge once in a while! But if we do, being aware of your own choices, and your own power over what you do can make you realize all the options that are out there, and help you make the best decision for yourself.
Do you have a favorite comfort food? What are your own healthy swaps? Share them with us!