Kali Erickson-

Switching to a healthier diet can often be a challenge, and feel like a drastic move. Diets can sometimes start off strong, but slowly diminish overtime. Don’t worry, there is an easier way! Simply change a few ingredients and/or add a healthier substitution. These small changes in the diet can positively benefit your health. Get started with ten simple ways to cut down on saturated fat and calories.

  1. Avocado vs. mayo– Easy and delicious way to incorporate heart healthy fats into the diet. Use this substitute for sandwiches, or egg salad.
  2. Mascarpone cheese and light olive oil vs. butter– Mascarpone cheese may sound like an odd choice for a butter substitute, however mascarpone is half the calories of butter, and tastes very similar. Light olive oil contains mono- and poly-unsaturated fatty acids with less saturated fat than butter. Mono- and poly- unsaturated fatty acids can lower LDL cholesterol levels, which work to reduce the risk of heart disease and/or stroke.
  3. Beans or ground turkey vs. ground beef– a leaner option to cut back on saturated fats. Plus, beans have added fiber and nutrients to the diet.
  4. Whole wheat vs. refined grains– Whole grains provide more fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Refined grains remove the fiber, and are less energy dense.
  5. Herbs and spices vs. salt– High salt diet can lead to hypertension and cardiac disease. Stick with spices and herbs to bring more flavor to the dish.
  6. Greek yogurt vs. sour cream- Cut the fat and calorie content in half.
  7. Spaghetti squash vs. pasta– Spaghetti squash provides the body with more nutrients. Also, a way to cut the calories from carbs. Get your veggies in for the day.
  8. Honey vs. sugar cane– Honey can be used in place of sugar cane for almost every baked goods recipe. A half cup of honey equals 1 cup of sugar cane, when baking. Less is more.
  9. Popcorn vs. potato chips– Popcorn is a grain, and is a low-calorie snack without the added salt and grease. Use the air pop method of cooking. Microwave popcorn can have an overload of added salt and butter. By making your own, you have control of how much salt and butter is added.
  10. Croutons vs. nuts and seeds– Still craving the crunch and salty flavor, no problem. Try seeds or nuts instead of croutons. Nuts and seeds provide the body with healthy source of fats, and provide fiber.

If you want to eat healthier, these substitutes can be an easy way to start. Remember that changing your meal to be healthier, is easier than you may think. Diets don’t have to be drastic and elaborate. Make your dieting goals measurable with these simple substitutions. Healthier eating is just steps away.

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