REPOST: Try these 21 food "power swaps" to boost your nutrition!
Here at our gym in Portland, OR, we get pretty excited about food and nutrition. We're stoked to have a clinic ALL ABOUT engineering a leaner food environment here at TFW Portland on Saturday July 28th at 11am. For more info, click here.
Until then, try these food swaps that are delicious AND good for you.
Yours in Strength,
1. SWAP PASTA WITH ZUCCHINI NOODLES
Because zucchini is exceptionally low in calories that makes it a great ingredient when your goal is to lose weight. Shred raw zucchini into thin noodle-like strands and you’ve got the perfect substitute for pasta. Use “zoodles” in place of wheat or rice noodles, in pasta salads, pesto dishes, or simply with some tomato sauce and high-quality cheese. Give it a try with your favorite pasta recipe. Zucchini also contains good amounts of potassium that helps reduce blood pressure. Its high-fiber content helps in lowering cholesterol and the high levels of Vitamin C play a huge role in keeping the immune systems healthy and fighting against respiratory problems.
2. REPLACE SOUR CREAM WITH GREEK YOGURT
Sour cream has almost two times more calories than Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is also a rich source of protein and packed with probiotics. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can help boost your immune system and decrease stomach issues.
3. REPLACE CROUTONS WITH ALMONDS
Croutons taste good, but so do almonds. Almonds have over two times the protein and three times the fiber than regular croutons. Almonds are rich in antioxidant flavonoids, plant-based compounds present in the skin of almonds that work with vitamin E to improve artery health and reduce inflammation. Almonds also hold key nutrients to heart health, including arginine, magnesium, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium. Almonds are also considered one of the best brain foods. They contain riboflavin and L-carnitine, two key nutrients capable of positively affecting neurological activity and preventing cognitive decline.
4. REPLACE HAMBURGER BUNS WITH SWEET POTATOES
Traditional hamburger buns have almost no nutritional value with empty carbs. Try to substitute buns with a slices sweet potatoes with the skin on. Sweet potatoes natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain. Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which are the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease and they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.
5. SWAP TORTILLA WRAPS WITH LETTUCE LEAVES
Fan of tortillas? Try swapping flour tortillas with fresh lettuce. It´s an easy switch that can lighten up any wrap or taco dish. Be creative and try different kinds of lettuces to find your favorite substitute.
6. SWAP POTATO CHIPS WITH KALE CHIPS
Instead of reaching for that bag of potato chips, try kale chips. Even though if you are not the biggest fan of kale, these ones might surprise you. If you don’t have any kale, use lots of vegetables to make great veggie chips. Kale is actually related to cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens and brussel sprouts. It is loaded with all sorts of nutrients, vitamins, and compounds that are believed to have protective effects against cancer. Given the incredibly low-calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
7. SWAP REGULAR PANCAKES WITH BANANA EGG PANCAKES
Regular pancakes are heavenly but also loaded with calories. Cut down the calories with this simple recipe. Take two eggs and one banana. Mash up bananas in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and add to the banana paste. Fry it all in a pan with a little oil or organic butter. By doing this swap you get more vitamins, fiber, and protein. One egg contains 77 calories, 6 grams of protein, 5 grams of healthy fats and numerous other important nutrients making it one of most nutritious foods on the planet.
8. SWAP SALT WITH HERBS AND SPICES
It’s always wise to watch your sodium intake. The USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon salt) daily. One good way to lower your sodium consumption is to cut back on packaged foods and get back to cooking your own food again. Herbs and spices can help ease the transition to lower-salt cooking by waking up other flavors. Spices originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. Herbs and spices not only improve the taste of foods but can also help preserve them for longer periods of time. Most herbs and spices have antibacterial and antiviral properties and many are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals. True sea salt, for instance, contains 93 trace minerals. Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. The problem is that the most potent and healthy herbs are rarely used, mainly from lack of knowledge about them, while the least potent (salt and pepper) are the most commonly used seasonings.
9. SWAP MARGARINE WITH EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
One of the few fats that most people agree is healthy is extra virgin olive oil. Try extra virgin olive oil as a substitute for margarine. This oil is filled with healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids to boost heart health. It is delicious on its own or enhanced with fresh herbs or crushed garlic. Studies show that extra virgin olive oil reduces the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes and the risk of Alzheimers´s disease.
10. SWAP SMASHED POTATOES WITH SMASHED CAULIFLOWERS
Love mashed potatoes? You don’t have to give them up. Instead, replace white potatoes with cauliflower for a dish that is loaded with numerous beneficial effects on health. You can even start with 50/50 mix of potatoes and cauliflower mash. Cauliflower is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, often overshadowed by its green TFW cousin broccoli. It truly deserves a regular rotation in your diet as it contains an impressive batch of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other phytochemicals.
Want to learn more about leveling up your nutrition? Check out our clinic: Engineering a Leaner Food Environment on July 28th, reserve your spot here.
11. REPLACE WHITE SUGAR WITH ORGANIC RAW HONEY
Honey is one of nature’s purest foods and is far more than just a natural sweetener. It is a “functional food”, which means it is a natural food with health benefits. Raw honey nutrition is impressive. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals, and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium. Vitamins found in honey include vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. One tablespoon of honey contains 64 calories, yet it has a healthy glycemic load around 10 to 1 tablespoon, which is a little less than a banana. Raw honey does not cause a sugar spike and elevated insulin release like white sugar.
12. REPLACE COOKING SPRAYS WITH COCONUT OIL
Get rid of your canola oil, soybean oil, cooking sprays, margarine and “buttery spreads.” These machine-made oils are high in toxins, often genetically modified and contain high amounts of omega 6 fats that promote inflammation. Give your body an oil change by switching to more natural fats such as coconut oil and pastured butter/ghee.
13. SWAP PEANUTS WITH EDAMAME
Many people love peanuts. They are heart-healthy and delicious but they also pack 200 calories per ¼ cup. If your goal is to cut down weight swap peanuts with ½ cup of steamed edamame sprinkled with sea salt. You don´t only chop lots of calories, but you also gain a lot of fiber and protein too. Edamame is high in protein and low in fat. A 1-cup serving of the cooked beans has 17 grams of protein, 30 percent of a man's required daily protein intake and almost 37 percent for a woman. Each cup also contains 8 grams of total fat and less than 1 gram of saturated fat.
14. Looking for the perfect condiment to spread on a sandwich?
Mashed avocado is a tasty substitute for any sandwich spread. Although avocado is a high-fat food, it's rich in the healthy monounsaturated fats that fight inflammation and may help protect your heart. You can add a little salt, pepper, lime juice, cayenne, or other flavorings to give your avocado spread a zesty kick. Avocados also provide nutrients and fiber that you won’t get from the normal sandwich spread.
15. REPLACE CEREAL WITH STEEL CUT OATS
Boxed cereals, breakfast bars, and baked goods are often highly processed, full of sugar and other undesired ingredients. Steel cut oats could be considered a "power food" because they are an excellent source of protein, soluble and insoluble fiber and select vitamins and minerals. The benefits of steel cut oats exceed the benefits of rolled oats because of the way they are processed. Steel cut oats are dense and chewy as a result of being passed through sharp, steel blades that cut them into thin slices that help retain more fiber and protein. Steel cut oats, just as any whole oats, make a healthy addition to your regular diet.
16. Sweets are loaded with sugars and artificial ingredients. Berries and dark chocolate on the other hand pack in nutrients while satisfying your sweet tooth. Both are great sources of antioxidants. Boosting your antioxidant intake can help provide added protection for the body against heart problems, eye problems, memory problems and immune system problems. Berries are also rich in vitamin C and fiber, while dark chocolate is packed with polyphenols and magnesium.
17. REPLACE MAYO WITH MUSTARD
Many mayos found in supermarkets are loaded with fat, sugar, calories, and salt. One tablespoon of mayo provides roughly 94 calories, 10 grams of fat, and no protein, fiber or real nutritional value. Mustard, on the other hand, contains just 10 calories per tablespoon with no fat, no sugar and lots of flavor and varieties. Regardless of which type you choose, pay attention to sodium content if you’re on a salt-restricted diet.
18. REPLACE SPORTS DRINKS WITH COCONUT WATER
Coconut water is excellent and natural way to hydrate the human body. During exercise, the human body loses mineral-rich fluids. Coconut water serves as an excellent replacement with 294 mg of potassium and 5 mg of natural sugar per glass, unlike your favorite sports drink that only contains half the amount of the potassium content and five times the amount of processed sugar.
19. REPLACE SALT WITH HIMALAYAN CRYSTAL SALT
Quality matters. Real natural salt such as Himalayan salt contains a wide range of trace minerals in their natural form that are essential for the body and can´t be found in regular table salt. Can´t find Himalayan salt? Try sea salt or Kalahari salt instead.
20. REPLACE SODA WITH GREEN TEA
A can of coke contains almost 40 grams of sugar. Green Tea has no sugar and is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants which are known to reduce your risk of cancer! No wonder it is one of the Warrior 20!
21. REPLACE ICEBERG LETTUCE WITH ROMAINE LETTUCE
When it comes to greens, color is the key. Switch your iceberg lettuce to darker romaine lettuce. Romaine has over 17 times more the vitamin A and over 4 times the vitamin K compared to iceberg lettuce. Try also nutrient-packed powerhouses such as spinach, kale and red leaf for a change.
If you have any questions or comments about getting started, just click here!