Satisfy your cravings with some of these healthier and easy to stick to food swap alternatives. Makeover your pantry, fridge and mealtimes too! The following list of 11 Food Swaps lists healthier and realistic alternatives. While I make homemade suggestions, sometime you can get pretty good store-bought versions as well.
1. Ice Cream
Skip the ice cream in favour of probiotic-rich yoghurt. Look for natural Greek-style yoghurt to get that creamy texture without excess fat, sugar or additives. Or make ice creams and sorbets in your blender!
Yoghurt: have some natural Greek-style yoghurt instead. It’s rich and creamy just like ice cream. Serve with some chopped strawberries, peach and cinnamon or frozen blue or raspberries. Blender sorbets and ice cream: blend together frozen berries with some coconut water or milk. For chocolate ice cream, blend some banana and avocado (freeze both in chunks beforehand) with raw cacao and milk. Add some peanut or almond butter for an indulgent and nutritious treat.
2. Fruit-flavoured Yoghurts
Make your own by mixing Greek-style yoghurt with protein powder or frozen berries. You will avoid added sugar, juice-sweetened concoctions and other additives.
Store-bought: opt for dark chocolate around 70% cocoa. If you like flavoured versions, go with dark mint or dark chocolate with almonds. Homemade: Keep raw chocolate in the fridge in bite-sized pieces.
Store-bought: only ever buy original or salted chips because others tend to contain additives, some have MSG added. Opt for those flavoured with sea salt. Alternatives: kale chips are fantastic, as are nori sheets. Raw unsalted nuts are always a good option too.
5. Dairy and Cream Cheese
Always opt for full fat varieties. Low fat options are usually packed with thickeners, additives and sugar. Most store bought cheeses contain additives, some even colours and preservatives. Make your own cream cheese using Greek-style yoghurt. Add it to dips, use in cheesecakes and spread on your toast.
Ditch white and other home brand bread. Swap it in favour of wholemeal, multigrain and sourdough varieties. Spelt sourdough tastes great and is one of the easiest breads to digest. Encourage your kids to do the same. Start small – change only one of the slices and work your way up from there.
Store-bought: try a few of the different gluten-free or wholemeal varieties. Buckwheat pasta is one of our favourites as are rice noodles for soups. Organic soba also feature on our menu often.
Try brown rice instead of white. Add a smidgen of quinoa to the mix to boost its nutritional value. Use quinoa, buckwheat and barley instead of rice too.
9. Eggs, Meat and Seafood
Buy only free-range organic eggs. Sure they are more expensive but think about where they come from. Place yourself in the shoes of the hens that make them and tell me, how would you prefer to live? The same goes for chicken meat. Free-range or organic are the best options for our own health and that of the chickens. When it comes to beef, lamb and pork opt for free-range as well. Grass-fed lamb and beef comes from animals that have been raised as close to as nature intended. Talk to your butcher about what you need and where they source their meat from. Try to only buy sustainably fished local fish and seafood. Pole and Line caught canned fish is also a gentler choice on the environment. Opt for fish in springwater or pure olive oil (not olive oil blends – check ingredients list). See the Sustainable Fish Guide for more info.
I recently wrote about butter, margarine and other oils and my fat preferences here. For cooking I use macadamia, coconut and light olive oils. For salads I like to use macadamia, extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil as well.
For more nutrient dense alternatives try coconut sugar, muscovado, rapadura. Brown and raw sugar are not the healthiest options because they are processed the same way as white sugar, with all nutrition stripped away. Honey is also a fantastic sweetener. If you are fructose-conscious try rice syrup, natvia or xylitol.
Do you have any other healthy food swap suggestions? Leave your favourite tips in the comments below: