I've been realizing that healthy choices don't necessarily have to be a HUGE change from what we are used to. If we can simply make a few minor adjustments while at the grocery store, that can make a big difference.
FRESH NATURAL LIVE WHOLESOME FOOD
Healthy eating is hard to start all at once and rarely will it stick, unless it has become a lifestyle. Today I wanted to make a few easy suggestions for some healthier alternatives and simple changes you can make, starting in the grocery store. Start by cutting down on processed, refined, high fat, and high sodium choices in your diet. WARNING: All choices are examples. I did not try to down grade or promote any of the brands in the pictures, they were simply to make a comparison.
1. Bananas vs. Bananas
Next time your are about to buy a huge bag of Marshmallow Bananas, reach for some fresh fruit instead! It is cheaper, contains more vitamins and nutrients, WAY less sugar, and no artificial coloring.
2. Peanut butter vs Peanut butter
So this here is a little secret I learned. I always knew that peanut butter wasn't very good for you. I've heard of people making his or her own peanut butter but I never got around to it. I was recently introduced to "Nuts to You Nut Butter Inc." It is SO yummy! If you don't like peanuts, they have lots of different flavors: almond butter, hazel nut, etc.. It's a little more expensive but I know you can buy them in packs at Costco to save a little bit of money.
3. Potato vs Potato
For obvious reasons its better for you to eat potatos rather than potato chips, BUT if you are craving potato chips why not make your own? There are plenty of recipes out there for homemade oven baked chips. That way you can determine the amount of salt and what kinds of oils are being used.
4. Soysauce vs Soysauce
THIS IS AMAZING! Okay, so get this. Regular Soy Sauce has 38% sodium, Reduced Soy Sauce has 24% sodium, and COCONUT AMINOS tastes just like soy sauce but only has 5% sodium! Best kept secret I'd say. You can find it at most health food stores or most local grocery markets.
5. Rice vs. Rice
Rice Krispies are good... white rice is better... but whole grain brown wild rice is best! :)
6. Oil vs. Oil
Similarities: both are white and solid at room temperature. Coconut oil has become very popular lately and for good reason! It is a healthier alternative to the traditional fats we have been cooking with for years. Try replacing your cooking oils with coconut oil. Your food will taste better and be healthier for you. It can also be used as an alternative for face wash! See www.coconutoil.com for more healthy facts.
7. Hot drink vs Hot drink
Fall is here and winter is on its way! When you are curling up in a blanket with a warm cup of hot chocolate, pick a seasonal tea instead! Peppermint is my personal favorite, but there are a variety of holiday spice teas you can find. You will still get the same warming effect without all the sugar and calories in hot chocolate.
8. Syrup vs. Syrup
Is there really that big of a difference between pancake syrup and maple syrup? Some people argue that a sugar is a sugar; however, I personally believe that the less ingredients the better. High fructose corn syrup is used in most pancake syrups. No matter what kind of maple syrup you buy, it is organic. That means that there hasn't been any additional additives added. When you leave maple syrup out on the counter, mold will start to grow.
9. Dairy snack vs Dairy snack
Greek Yogurt is a great alternative for your dairy cravings. I personally LOVE the coconut Greek yogurt. As you can see in the nutritional fact comparison, your body will like you better if you decide not to put all those fats and calories in your body. BUT if you need a frozen sweet treat (not just a yogurt to cut your cravings or maybe you have an intolerance to dairy) try some homemade NICE CREAM.
10. Popcorn vs Popcorn
Instead of your microwave or movie popcorn, try air popped for a lighter snack for your movie night. You control the amount of toppings, as well as the portion sizes.
11. Bread vs. Bread
Try to switch from white processed flour to whole wheat or grain breads. The more complex carbs you eat the better your fiber intake. You will improve your digestive track and avoid those spikes in blood sugars from eating carbs that dissolved quickly into your blood stream. On the "Glycemic Index for Food," white bread rates at 95, whole wheat bread rates at 71, and homemade whole grain bread rates 51.
12. Sweetener vs Sweetener
I have been trying to switch from using white refined sugar in my baking to honey. It is probably one of the best decisions I've made! I feel better and have less cravings for refined sugar. Honey is sweet but I don't need very much of it to get the effect I desire. I also use it in my oatmeal & peppermint tea. On the topic of sweeteners, I would try to stay as close to natural products as you can. For example, if you are going to use a low calorie sweetener, stick to stevia (which is a herb that is a strong natural sweeter with no calories).
13. Juice vs Juice
Make sure you READ the labels on the products your are buying. There are differences between "Made from concentrate" and "100% pure." If you are not sure, read the ingredients!! They will be a big indicator of whether what you are drinking is natural or not.
14. Fruit snacks vs Fruit Snacks
Although Elsa and Anna are super awesome, these fruit flavored snacks are definitely not as good for your kids as dried fruit snacks. Be careful, even with dried fruit, because they are very high in concentrated sugars. Fresh or frozen is always best for sure. There are often other chemicals used in the drying of store bought fruit that you can avoid by making your own fruit snacks at home! A few weeks ago I posted an easy recipe for home-made fruit roll ups.
15. Granola bar vs Granola Bar
Who doesn't love the traditional chocolate-covered Dipps Granola bars? Yes, those on the bottom are homemade, healthier granola bars (and might I add, Adrian approved)! Since I still don't have many of my own recipes, I used this really great one by minimalistbaker. I made a batch last night and they turned out AMAZING! So Tasty.
A few more tips to making healthier choices:
- Do not shop while you are hungry! You will be influenced more easily by your cravings and may pop open a bag of chips and have them finished before even getting to the check out.
- For the most part, stay out of the middle lanes in the grocery store! Usually around the outside of the market is where you will find most of your fresh fruits and veggies, wholegrain breads, fresh fish and meats, dairy, and usually frozen produce. Once you start making your way through the middle aisles you tend to find more processed refined packaged food. That being said, there are still some great middle isles (ie: spices and international foods are my two favorite).
- By cutting out the more processed, chemical, refined, artificially colored, high fat, high sodium, and artificially sweetened foods, you will notice many benefits such as: increased energy, weight loss, reduced sugar cravings, less mood swings, better sleep, healthier gut bacteria, better digestion, lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improved mood and attitude, better skin, better hair, better nails, and better overall long term health.
“Today, more than 95% of all chronic disease is caused by food choice, toxic food ingredients, nutritional deficiencies and lack of physical exercise.” ~Mike Adams
ULTIMATELY YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU PUT INTO YOUR BODY.
Food for thought. See you next week!