Need healthy alternatives for your diet? We’ve got a list of healthy diet alternatives you can choose from to benefit your health while still enjoying foods you love.
Healthy Connection With Food
Do you need to cut out all of your favorite foods to be healthy? No! Many people think they need to feel deprived to be healthy and lose weight. They resort to counting calories and even give up their favorite foods. The problem is, this creates an unhealthy relationship with food. When you restrict food, you create a lot of stress. And stress negatively impacts your health.
Are you tired of taking a restrictive approach to eating? Learn to create a healthy relationship with food. Food is meant to nourish your body. Eating healthy can, and should, taste good.
Get started eating healthier! First, focus on creating a strong nutrition foundation. Here are three simple tips to help you…
- Choose whole foods over processed products. Foods without labels are ideal. And the fewer ingredients listed on a label, the better.
- Opt for the best quality foods you can afford. Pass on pesticides, GMOs, and toxic ingredients. Spend a little extra money now to save on health problems long-term.
- Plan 1-2 cheat meals a week to indulge. It helps to plan your splurges so it’s easier to stick to your eating game plan the rest of the week.
13 Healthy Diet Alternatives
What can you replace unhealthy foods with? Check out the healthy diet alternatives below. Try a healthy alternative every few days. Then, it won’t feel like you’re making drastic changes. And, before you know it, each one of these foods will become part of your daily diet.
Swap these foods to improve your health & lose weight…
1. Table Salt —> Sea Salt
Start improving your diet with this healthy food alternative. Swap table salt for sea salt. Unrefined sea salt naturally contains 84 minerals. While table salt contains two: sodium and chloride. It also consists of aluminum, bleach and other harmful additives. In contrast, unrefined salt has the opposite effect and supports overall health. Try Celtic or Himalayan salt. Lastly, Dulse or kelp seaweed flakes are great mineral-rich alternatives.
2. Refined Sweeteners —> Cinnamon & Stevia
Replace all refined and artificial sweeteners with healthier alternatives. Sweeten with success by using cinnamon and stevia. Cinnamon is helpful for lowering blood sugar. It can reduce a meal’s Glycemic Index by 29%! In addition, organic, pure stevia is great for blood sugar too.
Healthier Alternative to Cereal…
3. Cereal —> Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Steel-cut oatmeal is a healthier alternative to cereal. It’s also a smart swap for other processed foods like breakfast bars, and baked goods. Steel-cut oats are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Add berries and cinnamon to give your oats an antioxidant boost!
4. Yogurt —> Kefir
Ready to pack in probiotics AND take your diet to the next level? Swap yogurt for kefir. Kefir is fermented milk that’s like a drinkable version of yogurt with more probiotics. Yogurt only has about 2-5 strains of beneficial flora that only temporarily impacts gut health. In contrast, kefir has about 30 strains of beneficial flora and yeast. These cultures work together to repopulate the good flora in your gut and they destroy bad flora and harmful yeasts. For a dairy-free option, try coconut kefir!
Great GRAIN Options
5. Grains —> Greens
This healthier diet alternative can help you improve your health and lose weight. Swaps grains for greens and by greens we mean vegetables. Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens. This should be the other way around! How do you eat less grains? Include more veggies by juicing them, and using them for salads and wraps.
6. Sweets —> Berries, Cherries & Cacao
Looking for a healthier alternative to sweets? Berries, cherries, and cacao are great sources of antioxidants. These nutrient-dense treats pack in polyphenols while satisfying your sweet tooth. Cherries and berries are also rich in vitamin C and fiber. Lastly, cacao or dark chocolate contains decent amounts of magnesium.
Big FAT Swaps
7. Peanuts —> Walnuts
Swap peanuts for walnuts. Peanuts are high in aflatoxins that contribute to health problems. Walnuts are a healthy food alternative. They’re a great source of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. What about peanut butter? Almond butter or cashew butter are good options. Homemade is better than store-bought.
8. Butter, Cooking Sprays & Oils —> Coconut Oil
Get rid of all man-made “Franken Fats.” These include canola oil, soybean oil, cooking spray, margarine and buttery spread. These machine-made oils are high in toxins that are harmful to your health. They’re also genetically modified and contain high amounts of inflammatory omega-6s. It’s time to give your body an oil change! Switch to natural fats, such as unrefined coconut oil. Coconut oil is great for sautéing, roasting, and baking.
9. Caffeine & Energy Drinks —> Green Tea
Need a healthier pick-me-up? Organic green tea provides a smooth caffeine kick. It’s loaded with fat-burning catechins and brain-boosting L-theanine. In addition, Moringa herbal tea is packed with vitamin B-12. This gives it a great natural, caffeine-free energy boost.
10. Milk —> Coconut Milk
What’s a good replacement for milk? Coconut milk is a healthy alternative that’s dairy-free. It’s rich in immune-supporting lauric acid and metabolism-boosting medium-chain fatty acids. These nutrients support fat-burning and overall health. Make it fresh at home using coconut cream and water. Or buy a full-fat, plain variety with minimal ingredients.
11. Soda —> Kombucha
Need a healthier alternative to soda? Swap regular and diet soda for kombucha tea. Kombucha is full of nutrients. It contains antioxidants, probiotics, vitamin C, beneficial acids, amino acids, and B vitamins. If kombucha isn’t your “cup of tea,” try Zevia. Zevia is a healthier alternative to soda. You can also make your own soda by adding flavored stevia to sparkling water.
12. Sports Drink —> Coconut Water
One great alternative to sports drinks is coconut water. Many athletic beverages contain shocking amounts of refined sugar. But fresh coconut H20 only contains naturally occurring sugar. This is much healthier than refined sugar. Also, coconut H20 can have as high as 15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks! Be sure to select a raw variety with the fewest ingredients and the lowest sugar content.
13. Mixed Drinks —> Red Wine
Replace mixed alcoholic beverages and other sugary drinks with red wine. Pinot Noir is particularly high in resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory super antioxidant. Other options include vodka, gluten-free beer, Belgian brews. You can also make your own mixed drinks with a Zevia cocktail, Paleo pina colada, or berry daiquiri.
Smart Food Swaps: A Day In The Life
Here’s an idea of what a healthier day of meals looks like using healthy alternatives for your diet…
Breakfast: Moringa tea, steel-cut oatmeal with banana and berries
Lunch: turkey sandwich on sourdough with avocado and arugula
Snacks: fresh fruit or celery and almond butter
Dinner: chicken taco salad with salsa, guacamole & red cabbage
Dessert: dairy-free banana ice cream with honey & cacao nibs
Healthy Food Alternatives List
Now you can enjoy nourishing foods without packing on the pounds or feeling deprived. You don’t have to eat perfectly to improve your health, you just have to make progress. Use these healthy alternatives to find a diet that’s easy and enjoyable for you to sustain.
Upgrade Your Daily Diet
Avoid —> Better —> Best
- Alcohol —> wine or Zevia cocktails
- Beans, legumes & grains —> gf* —> potatoes, winter squash, veggie
- Bread —> sprouted/sourdough —> lettuce, collard greens, or seaweed
- Candy Bar —> dark chocolate with nuts
- Cheese —> raw, grass-fed cheese —> avocado
- Chips & dip —> gf* chips —> veg with guacamole, hummus, or salsa
- Caffeinated beverages —> green tea & Moringa tea
- Crackers —> gf* crackers or veggies
- Fats & Oils —> ghee —> coconut/avocado/olive oil
- Fiber —> flax seeds, chia seeds, veggies, fruits
- Flour —> almond, coconut, or cassava flour
- Fries —> baked potato wedges
- Juices —> homemade
- Mayonnaise —> vegan mayo
- Milk —> coconut/almond/oat milk
- Pasta —> chickpea pasta —> squash noodles (spaghetti or zucchini)
- Peanut butter —> almond/cashew butter
- Pizza —> gf* —> cauliflower crust
- Protein powder —> whole-food proteins
- Rice —> cauliflower rice
- Salad dressings —> olive/avocado oil and vinegar or citrus juice; Primal Kitchen dressings
- Snack bars, granola —> LaraBar, Paleonola, nuts & fresh fruit
- Soda —> Zevia —> Kombucha
- Sports drinks —> coconut water
- Sweeteners —> fruit, maple syrup, honey, cinnamon, stevia
- Regular salt —> high-quality salt
- Tofu —> tempeh
- Tuna —> Wild Planet sardines or salmon
- Tortillas (flour) —> organic tortillas (corn) —> collard, lettuce wraps
- Yogurt —> full-fat, plain kefir
*gf = gluten-free
Need healthier fast food and dining out options? Check out Dining Out Smarter