Healthy Kitchen Swaps To Make Now
We all fall into a routine when it comes to grocery shopping. Most people don’t exactly look forward to grocery shopping—it’s a necessary task that just seems to interfere with the things you’d rather be doing. I only ever grocery shop when I realize I literally have nothing left to eat on a Sunday night, and if I don’t grocery shop then, I won’t find time during the workweek and will waste money buying meals out. Or, ordering takeout to bring home, which isn’t much better. But, as you can see, it’s not something I look forward to doing so when I do, I rush things. I don’t make the time to read ingredients or shop very consciously. I just grab the things with which I’m familiar so that I can get out of there—fast. If you’re like me, then you may not be grabbing the best options. Maybe it’s time to swap out some of your old regular purchases for some new ones. Here are kitchen swaps you can make right now for a healthier home.
Swap out: Canola oil
If you’re thinking the issue with canola oil is the saturated fat, think again—we’ve learned that the body needs some saturated fat to build cells, absorb omegas, and do plenty of important functions for the heart. The issue with canola oil is actually that most of it is produced using genetically modified ingredients, and it can throw off the body’s omega-6 to omega-3 ratio because it’s so tremendously high in omega-6.
Swap in: Olive oil
Swap in olive oil. Not only is it loaded with antioxidants, it also has anti-inflammatory properties and just tastes so much better than canola oil. Canola can really only be used for cooking, but it’s not something you want to drizzle on salads and appetizers, the way you do with olive oil.
Swap out: High-sugar fruit
Fruit is certainly good for you, but some of the stuff is so high in sugar that even the fiber it offers doesn’t justify the blood sugar spike you deal with after eating it. Here’s a list of some of the highest and lowest-sugar options, but know that if your fruit is so sweet it may as well be candy, it’s probably too high in sugar.
Swap in: Low-sugar fruit
Low-sugar fruit is an excellent way to get fiber, without spiking your blood sugar, and to help you meet your five servings of fruits and veggies requirements per day if you’re not that into veggies. Citrus, berries, and melon are all typically great choices for low-sugar fruit.
Swap out: Artificial sweetener
Artificial sweetener can bring the calorie count down on something significantly, as well as that grams-of-sugar count. Technically. But our bodies don’t really know how to process the stuff. By the way, even “healthy” natural alternatives can leave us with cravings later.
Swap in: Natural alternatives
Remember that even a little bit of natural sweeteners can go a long way, and won’t hike up your sugar count too much for the day. If you must have something sweet, it’s better to give your body something it understands how to digest, than go for zero-calorie artificial stuff.
Swap out: Chips
Chips can certainly satisfy a craving for something salty, crunchy, and binge-worthy. When you just want to pop bite after bite into your mouth, you reach for chips. Unfortunately, by the time potato chips or corn chips go from vegetable to chip, they’ve been stripped of nutrients and loaded with artificial ingredients.
Swap in: Popcorn
When you want a crunchy, salty snack, pop some popcorn—just go easy on the butter. In fact, grab that olive oil you recently added to your pantry and add a little salt. Popcorn boasts whole grains and high fiber, while remaining very low in calories.
Swap out: Jarred pasta sauce
The concept of making pasta sauce can be intimidating, and when you have a busy life, you just want to boil water, add noodles, and mix in your pre-made sauce. But the jarred stuff is often full of sugar and preservatives.
Swap in: Stewed tomatoes & herbs
Making your own tomato pasta sauce is surprisingly easy. Simply chop up a clove of garlic, about an eighth of a yellow onion, brown these in olive oil, add a small jar of stewed tomatoes, two tablespoons more of olive oil, a quarter cup of water, your favorite seasonings, and simmer for 30 minutes on low.
Swap out: Breakfast cereal
I understand that making an elaborate breakfast on weekdays can be difficult, but pouring a bowl of cereal is always easy. Unfortunately, even the stuff that brags about being whole grain or low on sugar is still low on something critical: nutrition. That’s why you get hungry at 11am again.
Swap in: Muesli
Muesli is super easy to make in the morning, and one cup boasts eight grams of protein and six grams of filling fiber. Plus, it pairs well with those low-sugar fruits we talked about like berries.
Swap out: Soda
Argue all you want about how natural the sugars are in your chosen soda or how low in calories it is, but one thing is for sure about soda: it isn’t hydrating. It’s dehydrating. So, you reach for more, later. It’s a trap.
Swap in: Seltzer water + juice
If you want a refreshing carbonated beverage that’s tasty and hydrating, try this: mix half a cup of seltzer water with half a cup of fruit juice. It’s just sweet enough, without leaving you parched.
Swap out: Sugary yogurt
We’ve grown accustomed to thinking that our yogurt should have 20 ingredients, but that simply isn’t true. At the end of the day, it’s just fermented milk. So toss out that yogurt that’s high in sugar and all sorts of additives.
Swap in: Greek yogurt
Buy Greek yogurt, and make sure the only ingredients in it are Greek yogurt, and perhaps honey. It’s much higher in protein than regular yogurt and much lower in sugar.