Like I've often said, one of the most important lessons to learn when implementing a healthy diet is that you don't have to totally give things up, rather you should just look for healthier alternatives to them! As you start to incorporate a healthier diet, sometimes you stumble across exciting products with awesome macro ratios (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.. I will also add in sugar and fiber comparisons today), whether it's through a social media post, a Facebook ad that has somehow managed to target you, or just being adventurous in the health foods section at Kroger. Today I'd like to share a few of my favorite food swaps. I'm not talking about "swap your Taco Tuesday at T bell for homemade crockpot tacos" - duh, we get that. I'm talking about condiments, snacks, and other little tricks I've learned that add up in big ways (read: hidden sugar traps) . And before we start - yes, some of these items are processed foods. But honestly, sometimes we just gotta do the best we can with what America's messed up food industry has provided us. Here we go!
1. Replace regular bread with Ezekiel bread: Oh. My. God.... GAME. CHANGER. I had seen a lot of people mentioning ezekiel bread on Instagram, but after several searches in the bread section, bakery, and health foods section, I always came up empty handed. Until one day I finally asked one of my favorite Kroger workers. And let me save you the trouble: it's in the FREEZER section of the health foods area. Anyway Ezekiel bread is great because it uses the whole grain, legitimately. It's not just a white bread that has been fortified again and marketed as "whole wheat".
Macro comparison: regular white bread - 1g fat, 15g carb, 1g fiber, 2g sugar, 2g protein
Ezekiel bread - 1g fat, 15g carb, 3g fiber, 0g sugar, 4g protein
2. Replace sour cream with Fage nonfat plain greek yogurt: This is a great topping for baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tacos. Greek yogurt is great because it's a good source of protein. Make sure to get the NONFAT, PLAIN. Some greek yogurts are loaded with sugar. This one is pretty reasonable. It's a bit of an acquired taste because it's a little bitter, but once you get used to it you won't be missing sour cream at all.
Macro comparison: Sour cream - 12g fat, 2g carb, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein
Greek yogurt - 0g fat, 3g carb, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 6g protein
*per 1/4 cup
3. Replace ketchup with Heinz sugar-reduced ketchup: I love ketchup. But ketchup is loaded with sugar. This one doesn't need an explanation, you just need to know (if you don't already) that sugar reduced ketchup is a thing.
Macro comparison: Heinz ketchup - 0g fat, 5g carb, 0g fiber, 4g sugar, 0g protein
Heinz sugar-reduced ketchup: 0g fat, 1g carb, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 0g protein
4. Replace Yoplait yogurt with Dannon Light & Fit Greek yogurt: Yogurt is usually marketed as healthy, right? Not necessarily - they are loaded with sugar. Greek yogurt is the healthier alternative, right? Well - most of these guys are loaded with sugar too. However, the dannon light & fit greek yogurts have THE best macro ratios I have ever seen. Plus (unlike the plain, non fat stuff I substitute for sour cream, which can be bitter) they are tasty! Strawberry cheesecake, toasted cocunut, and vanilla are some favorites of mine.
Macro comparison: Yoplait - 2g fat, 33g carb, 0g fiber, 26g sugar, 5g protein
Dannon Light & Fit - 0g fat, 9g carb, 0g fiber, 7g sugar, 12g protein
*single serving containers
5. Replace syrup with Cary's Sugar free syrup - I try to limit sugar wherever I can, so similar to the sugar reduced ketchup, this just makes sense to me.
Macro comparison: Mrs. Butterworth syrup - 0g fat, 52g carb, 0g fiber, 37g sugar, 0g protein
Cary's sugar free syrup - 0g fat, 12g carb, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein
*Per 1/4 cup
6. Replace regular milk with unsweetened almond milk - I've never been one to sit down and drink a glass of milk, even as a kid. I find it really odd that humans are the only adults to drink milk. I also think that since milk's purpose is to make baby cows fat, it's really not something I'm interested in. BUT - there are times when I need to make things a bit richer, so I use a little almond milk instead of regular.. for example in overnight oats, a protein shake, or to give my coffee a little flavor.
Macro comparison: 2% milk - 5g fat, 12g carb, 0g fiber, 11g sugar, 8g protein
Unsweetened almond milk - 3g fat, 1g carb, 0g fiber, 1g sugar, 1g protein
*per 8 oz
AND BEST DISCOVERY EVER FOR LAST....
7. Replace Ben & Jerry's ice cream with Halo Top Ice Cream - Guys. This is seriously an amazing discovery (also found in the freezer section of health foods area). I eat ice cream on the regular now. The fact that this stuff is as good as it is and not loaded with sugar is just fantastic. Even when Cam and I are having a cheat meal, I still choose this option for dessert because I know I will have WAY less of a stomach ache. I'm going to share the macros for one pint instead of a serving, because to me... one pint is one serving lol
Macro comparison: Ben & Jerry's - 56g fat, 92g carb, 0g fiber, 80g sugar, 16g protein
Halo Top - 12g fat, 48g carb, 16g fiber, 16g sugar, 28g protein
I still can't get over this one. Less than 1/4 the fat, 1/2 the carbs and 1/4 the sugar PLUS more protein. Score.
That's all for now! Feel free to leave a comment of some of your favorite swaps I may have missed and let me know if you end up trying any of these.