Everyday Food Alternatives for a Healthier YOU
Before eating a certain food, do you ever glance over the Nutrition Facts? It’s a great habit to get into, especially to know exactly what is going into your body. Most people in America eat very similar meals and dishes. I don’t mean eating the same thing multiple times, I mean just about everyone eats pasta, drinks milk, or lately, adds agave nectar to their beverages and baking. Well many times, there are better alternatives to those dishes, with a very similar taste or outcome. These alternatives can be much better for you and your body, and can lead to a healthier diet and overall health.
- Sour Cream – This is a pretty big one. Sour Cream is a high calorie product that many people use in cooking, baking, and especially toppings. It is most commonly topped on baked potatoes, tacos, burritos, and also a prime ingredient in a lot of dips. There is an easy and almost identical alternative to Sour Cream, and that is Greek Yogurt. Ye, it is still a dairy product, but it contains beneficial bacteria that Sour Cream does not, which is great for your immune system. These bacteria go by the term you hear every now and again – Probiotics. Greek Yogurt also has loads more protein and vitamins B-12. Lastly is the calorie count, where Greek Yogurt can beat out Sour Cream by almost 300 calories per cup!
- French Fries – This is a huge one! People in America eat French Fries like they’re, well, French Fries! Yet, everyone knows how bad they can be for them. They are fried in fatty oils, overly salted, and then eaten by the handful. They alternative for regular French Fries is Sweet Potato Fries. For starters, Sweet Potato Fries are much higher in vitamin B-6, which has been shown to decrease the risk of disease and heart issues. They also have a great amount of magnesium, which over 75% of society is lacking in their diet. Sweet Potato Fries have 100 less calories per average serving, and nearly half the amount of fat. If you bake them, you’ll really be winning in the health department.
- Agave Nectar – It has been a trend for some time that Agave is a better alternative to sugar or even honey. The reason this came about is because it is much sweeter than both of the other options, so you don’t have to use as much. There is just one problem with Agave, it has almost double the Fructose than the others. A recent study has shown that if you consume the same amount of calories between using sugar and using Agave, you will have a larger weight gain with the Agave. That is because your liver can’t process large amount of fructose and produces triglycerides, which can lead to belly fat. The best alternative is Natural Honey.
- Pasta – This is another huge one, not just in America, but around the world. People all over eat mounds of Pasta or Spaghetti. Believe it or not, people think it is a healthy, low-calorie option that is great for a weekly family dinner. While that may be the case if you limit your portions properly, it isn’t for most people. One of the best alternatives for Pasta is Spaghetti Squash. To put it into calorie perspective, Pasta has 6 times more calories than Spaghetti Squash. On top of that, Pasta has almost 5 times more carbohydrates than Spaghetti Squash. The only benefit Pasta has over Spaghetti Squash, in terms of health, is that it has a little more protein, but then again, lacks in the vitamin department, while the Squash soars with vitamins.
Now that you have some healthy alternatives to everyday foods, give them a try and see what you think. Maybe you will like the alternative more than the original. If you are already using some of these alternatives, let us all know what you think and what pushed you in that direction. Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Kim Shapira MS, RD