Since the start of the year, I’ve had a few readers write in to say they want to start eating healthier, but they’re not sure where to start.
Let me say, I think it’s great so many folks want to take these steps to getting healthier.
The perks of eating healthy, nutrient-packed food are no secret.
A well-rounded diet is the foundation to living a long, vibrant life.
And if your food has been less than ideal for a few months… or years… just getting started is probably the hardest step.
The good news is, eating healthier doesn’t mean a lifetime of eating bland, flavorless food.
I always recommend starting slowly… with food swaps.
By making a few healthy substitutions, you can begin your journey to eating better… without depriving yourself of flavor.
If you’re a fan of greasy, salty chips, try snacking on nuts instead.
Chips are not only high in fat and calories, they’re also packed with sodium which can send your blood pressure soaring.
Nuts, on the other hand, are chock full of nutrients like omega-3s, vitamin E, magnesium, fiber, and phytosterols.
They’re also low in saturated fat and contain heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
As an added bonus, nuts will make you feel full and satisfied… so you’re less likely to overindulge later in the day.
Just remember that a few nuts go a long way.
A handful of nuts is plenty to tide you over as a snack.
Are you a chocolate lover?
Opt for dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate has been shown to support healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
And like nuts, promotes satiety… so you feel fuller longer and are less likely to overeat later.
Milk chocolate contains none of these benefits.
Chocolate is high in calories, so experts only recommend consuming about a half ounce to an ounce a day.
Look for a variety with a high cacao content (at least 70%).
The higher the cacao content, the higher percentage of antioxidants per serving.
If pasta is your go-to comfort food, swap out traditional spaghetti for spaghetti squash.
Spaghetti squash is a hard winter squash that ranges in color from pale yellow to orangey-yellow.
The more orange the squash, the more beta carotene it contains, so grab the most orange squash when shopping.
When you cook the squash, the flesh develops threads that resemble spaghetti.
The taste is somewhat mild, so it’s the perfect partner to a zesty sauce.
If you’re looking for a low carb alternative to spaghetti, this is the way to go.
1 cup of spaghetti squash has just 30 calories and 7 grams of carbs.
While a cup of traditional spaghetti gives you 220 calories and a whopping 43 grams of carbs.
Craving ice cream?
Try a frozen banana, instead.
Peel a ripe banana and cut it into evenly-sized slices.
Put the slices in a freezer bag and freeze for at least 2 hours… overnight is better.
Once frozen, blend your banana pieces until you have a creamy, custard-like texture.
Eat the banana then, or re-freeze to firm it up.
Enjoy the fat-free, sweet tasty treat with about a third the calories of premium ice cream.
Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to live on salads and veggie sticks all day.
Enjoy your favorite foods… in moderation.
And, swap out some of the less wholesome foods with more nutrient-dense alternatives and you’ll be on the right path to a healthier living.