Sun. Sep 15th, 2019

Swap out the junk food for these healthier alternatives

Want to still enjoy your regular meals but give them a bit of a clean eating make over? Here are healthy alternatives you can use for your favourite treats.

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Within the realm of health food, diet plans and concious eating choices, the term “clean eating” gets thrown around a lot. The key to tidying up your diet is to find healthy alternatives that keep you satisfied.

The phrase refers to a way of eating that limits or completely eliminates most processed food. The aim is to eat foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. Essentially, do not eat anything that doesn’t come out of a box.

Not a bad idea if you are watching your weight as processed foods are low in vitamins and minerals and usually carry quite a hefty caloric load.

By making some small changes and substituting out the less processed foods for a more “natural” counterpart you can not only save yourself some calories but also improve your general health.

Here are some easy substitutes you can make today.

Coconut water or ice tea instead of soda in your cocktails

Substitute out the fizz for a healthier alternative like coconut water. Coconut water is also high in electrolytes which keep you hydrated thus counteracting alcohols dehydrating effect. 

The beauty of an ice tea cocktail is that it can be customised based on the tea you decide to use. From vanilla and peppermint to lemongrass and cinnamon, there is a tea to match your imaginative cocktail creations. 

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Photo: pixabay

Avocado instead of butter

By switching out butter with avocado you could not only gain over 20 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients but you will also be swapping out saturated fat for a healthier alternative.

You could also save a lot of empty calories. 

One cup of butter can be substituted with one cup of avocado.

When using it in baking the added moisture content of the avocado results in much softer baked goods. They also tend to crumble less. 

Greek yoghurt instead of sour cream

According to Healthline Greek yoghurt is similar in taste to sour cream due to the removal process used to strain the whey out of the yoghurt. 

Greek yoghurt is also lower in calories and fat and higher in protein than full-fat sour cream thus makes it a healthier alternative to sour cream. 

Cinnamon instead of sugar

Cinnamon can not only help you cut your sugar addiction but may also boost your metabolism when added to your daily coffee.

We have all heard that sugar is evil and it has even been likened to certain addictive drugs. Regardless, there is no disputing that cutting down or even eliminating it altogether will benefit your health. 

Add some to your coffee to add some flavour without the unhealthy qualities that sugar has. 

Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. 

Although it doesn’t give you quite the same sweet taste, it can be a taste you learn to acquire that will give you a lot of benefits. Plus you will ditch the sugar.

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Photo: Pixabay

Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate

Dark chocolate is less processed than milk chocolate.

The processing procedure is what makes chocolate lose its health benefits. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the benefits of chocolate come from flavonols (phytonutrients found in cocoa), which have antioxidant effects—and a very bitter taste. But as it’s fermented, alkalized, and roasted to help neutralize that taste, those flavanols start to disappear.

Dark chocolate contains super-high cocoa contents, usually 70 to 80 per cent which makes it quite bitter – but the pay off is that it retains more of the flavanols than milk chocolate.

Milk chocolate, to make it more palatable, has milk and sugar added to it. 

Cauliflower rice instead of rice

Heard of the Paleo diet?

It’s the diet that our cavemen ancestors used to eat – meat, vegetables, nuts and seeds. 

The banned substance list also includes grains such as rice. 

Those who follow this diet believe that grains cause inflammation in the gut and result in less than optimal health conditions.

Enter cauliflower rice as a substitute base. This lowers the carb content significantly so appeals to those who are doing a low carb diet as well. 

If you are merely looking for a swop out that healthier nad packs more fibre, nutrients and minerals then go for an alternative like couscous or wild rice. 

Overnight oats instead of milk and cereal

Put down the Coco Pops and Corn Flakes.

When rushed in the morning, we tend to grab the most convenient meal to shovel down as we read the mornings headlines.

Instead of cereal, with just a quick five-minute prep the night before, you can have a delicious and healthier breakfast. Which would also be good to eat on the run.

Overnight oats, made in a jar, are oats that have been left to soak in a liquid of your choice. This softens the grain and gives it the texture of being cooked. 

Add some fruit, nuts or even protein powder. There are a variety of different recipes on the internet that will ensure you always have an interesting and healthy breakfast to kick start your day.

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