It’s a new year and many are anxious to start their diet off on the right foot, maybe lose a few pounds, eat better and make smarter food choices overall. Here is a list of great, healthy food substitutes for your usual choices that will help you keep your New Year’s Resolution. They are lower in fat, calories but high in taste!
Love chocolate milk but not so fond of the stomach pain and gas you get afterward? There is a new healthy choice available and it’s not soy! As a lactose intolerant woman, I typically drink soy and rice milk, but my latest choice is wonderful, especially in chocolate and it’s Almond Milk! It has such a clean taste and you’d swear you were drinking the real thing! You’ll want to look in your grocer’s healthy/organic or dairy case. They offer a shelved brand as well, but the refrigerated kind is the best. This yummy treat is from the makers of nuts, Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze. Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, it only has 120 calories and has less fat than even soy so drink up!
Do your kids adore grilled cheese sandwiches but avoid them due to the lactose? One great option for cheese slices is ‘Veggie Slices’ found in the vegetarian section of the dairy case and/or produce area. They offer flavors like cheddar, mozzarella, American, jalapeno, smoked provolone and the best thing is they are low calorie, cholesterol free and have 0g of trans fat! The Veggie Slices brand also offers regular bricks of “cheese” as well as shredded and they are all fantastic, you’d swear they were dairy!
The avocado is a great delicacy and when you want to whip up some guacamole or just put some slices on your salad it’s great to know there is a low fat option. A large avocado trademarked as the “SlimCado” let’s you eat this wonderful fruit (that’s right, if you didn’t know it, the avocado is actually a fruit!) without piling on the calories. It is still meaty like a regular avocado but does have a slightly higher water content, so it’s best used in guacamole. These are about 3 times the size of a regular one and a little can go a long way.
Canned fruit and veggies, if you’re not careful in your selection, can have loads of syrup, sugar and salt! This is not great if you are looking to make healthier choices. You do have options though! Fresh is always best if you can get it and if it is affordable, next best is frozen as it has been proven to have all of the nutrient content as fresh, and last would be canned. With the economy pushing grocery prices to a record high in the past few years, more people are turning to canned goods. Look at the label and ensure that it has no added salt or sugar. When looking at the ingredients you’ll want to avoid anything that has syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or added sweeteners. These add unwanted sodium and calories that are not needed. If you can’t get any without these ingredients, be sure to drain the juices and wash the contents well before using.
Is your weakness cookies? Like many, cookies are a favored treat and comfort food. After all, most are loaded with butter, margarine or some type of hydrogenated oil, loads of sugar and often white flour. There are many new organic and non-organic healthy options that include whole grains, a lot less sugar and healthier oils used. A great one that I adore is the Kashi TLC cookie. They are chewy but add some crunch and one cookie is enough for me, so one box can go a long way. The flavor choices are happy trail mix, oatmeal dark chocolate and oatmeal raisin flax. These powerhouses offer low sugar, seven whole grains, 0g of cholesterol, 3g of fiber and only 130 calories per large cookie!
If you enjoy popsicles and sorbets as a fun fruity treat, here’s a super easy recipe to make some at home to avoid paying a premium on packaged healthy options at the grocery store. I really like Edy’s fruit bars and they are a fantastic, cool treat option! However, with their recent price hike I refuse to pay their now $4 price tag so I’m making my own. I have little Tupperware cups with lids (about ¾-1 full cup in size) Use whatever fruit you have or buy some fresh or frozen fruit. My favorite is blueberry-mango. I put frozen blueberries and store bought 100% pure frozen mango pulp into my food processor. Give it a few pulses until really smooth then pour into the cups to freeze. This is great for kids! No added sugar, no fat, just 100% fruit and SO yummy! You could try bananas, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis, blackberries as well! For something zingy, add in some orange or pineapple juice. No need for popsicle sticks, you can eat it out of the cup with a spoon.
Veggies and dip can be a staple at parties and they can appear healthy until they are coated with dip that is usually high in fat, high in salt and is typically one made from dairy. If you haven’t tried it or you’re used to buying it from the grocery store, now is the time to make your own hummus! Hummus’ main ingredient is chickpeas also known as garbanzo beans. You can buy a can, drain them, wash them and then dump them in your food processor with a clove of garlic, some pepper and a bit of sea salt to taste and some tahini. I just use what I have in the house, so I usually wind up using ground cumin which has a nice flavor too. Add a tbsp of olive oil and pulse until smooth and creamy looking. Hummus is great for a spread on cracker, bread or a dip for veggies, and anyone can eat it whether your vegan, vegetarian or lactose intolerant.