Need healthy alternatives for your diet? We’ve got options that benefit your health AND allow you to enjoy the foods you LOVE.
Healthier Relationship With Food
Do you need to eliminate all of your favorite foods to be healthy? No! Many people think they have to feel deprived to be healthy and lose weight. As a result, they resort to calorie counting and forfeit their favorite foods. The problem is that this approach creates an unhealthy relationship with food. When you restrict food, you create a lot of stress and stress negatively impacts your health. Instead of restricting, learn to create a healthier relationship with food. Eating healthy can and should taste good.
Get started eating healthier! First, focus on creating a solid nutrition foundation.
- 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 costs long-term.
- Plan 1-2 cheat meals a week to indulge. Plan your splurges so it’s easier to stick to your eating game plan for the rest of the week.
13 Healthy Diet Alternatives
What foods can you choose to replace unhealthy options? View the healthy diet alternatives below. Make a smart swap every few days so it doesn’t feel drastic. Before you know it, these foods will become part of your daily nutrition.
Swap these foods to improve your health & lose weight…
1. Table Salt —> Sea Salt
Start improving your diet by replacing table salt with sea salt. Unrefined sea salt naturally contains 84 minerals whereas table salt contains only two: sodium and chloride. Table salt also consists of aluminum, bleach, and other harmful additives. In contrast, unrefined sea salt, like Celtic or Himalayan, has the opposite effect and supports overall health. Lastly, try Dulse or kelp seaweed flakes for mineral-rich options.
2. Refined Sweeteners —> Cinnamon & Stevia
Replace refined and artificial sweeteners with cinnamon and stevia. Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar and can reduce a meal’s Glycemic Index by 29%! In addition, organic, fresh stevia is excellent for blood sugar. Fresh fruits are ideal additions to smoothies, salads, sauces, dressings, and desserts. Lastly, maple syrup and raw local honey are great replacements for conventional syrups and sugars.
Healthier Alternative to Cereal…
3. Cereal —> Steel-Cut Oatmeal
Steel-cut oatmeal is a healthier alternative to cereal. Unprocessed oats make a smart swap for processed breakfast bars and baked goods. Select steel-cut varieties when available as they’re rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Give your oats an antioxidant boost by adding cinnamon and berries!
4. Yogurt —> Kefir
Ready to pack in probiotics AND take your diet to the next level? Swap yogurt for kefir. Kefir is fermented milk like a drinkable version of yogurt with more probiotics. Yogurt contains about 2-5 strains of beneficial flora that only temporarily impacts gut health. In contrast, kefir has about 30 strains of healthy flora and yeast. These cultures repopulate good flora in your gut, while destroying bad flora and harmful yeasts. Try coconut kefir for a dairy-free option!
Great GRAIN Options
5. Grains —> Greens
Swaps grains for greens, and by greens, we mean vegetables. This healthier diet alternative is an easy way to improve your health and lose weight. Most people eat twice as many grains as greens which should be the other way around! How do you eat fewer grains, especially refined grains? Include more veggies by juicing them, serving them as a side dish, and using them for salads and wraps.
6. Sweets —> Berries, Cherries & Cacao
Are you struggling with sugar and sugar cravings? Try these healthier alternatives to sweets! Berries, cherries, and cacao are excellent sources of antioxidants and polyphenols that help to satisfy a 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 alternative, and they’re high in anti-inflammatory omega-3s. What about peanut butter? Almond butter or cashew butter are much better options, especially homemade. Homemade options are almost always better than store-bought.
8. Butter, Cooking Sprays & Oils —> Coconut Oil
Get rid of all man-made “Franken Fats,” including 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 that’s loaded with fat-burning catechins and brain-boosting L-theanine. In addition, Moringa herbal tea is packed with vitamin B-12, giving it a great natural, caffeine-free energy boost. Be sure to hydrate well before and after any caffeinated beverages.
10. Milk —> Coconut Milk
What’s a suitable replacement for milk? Coconut milk is a healthy, dairy-free alternative, 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. Almond, oat, and cashew milk are also good options. Make your dairy-free milk fresh to avoid preservatives and maximize flavor.
11. Soda —> Kombucha
Need a healthier alternative to soda? Swap regular and diet soda for kombucha tea. Kombucha is full of nutrients, including antioxidants, probiotics, vitamin C, beneficial acids, amino acids, and B vitamins. If kombucha isn’t your “cup of tea,” try Zevia, a soda alternative. You can also make 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 sugars which are much healthier than refined sugars. In addition, coconut H20 can have as high as 15 times the electrolytes found in sports drinks! Select a raw variety of coconut water containing few ingredients and a low sugar content.
13. Mixed Drinks —> Red Wine
Replace mixed alcoholic beverages and other sugary alcoholic drinks with red wine. Organic Pinot Noir is top shelf as it’s high in resveratrol, a super anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Other options include vodka, gluten-free beer, Belgian brews, and homemade mixed drinks like a Zevia cocktail, Paleo pina colada, or berry daiquiri. If you do enjoy alcohol, then hydrate well with water before and after each drink.
Smart Food Swaps: A Day In The Life
A healthier menu looks like this…
Breakfast: Moringa tea, steel-cut oatmeal with banana and blueberries
Lunch: turkey sandwich on sourdough with tomato, avocado and arugula
Snacks: apple and dates or celery and almond butter
Dinner: chicken taco salad with mango salsa, guacamole and red cabbage
Dessert: dairy-free banana ice cream with honey and cacao nibs
Healthy Food Alternatives List
Now you can enjoy foods without packing on the pounds or feeling left out. You don’t have to eat perfectly to improve your health; you just have to make progress. Use these options to find a delicious way of eating that works for you.
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 wrap
- 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 —> 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
- Snack bars, granola —> LaraBar, Paleonola —> nuts & fresh fruit
- Soda —> Zevia —> Kombucha
- Sports drinks —> coconut water
- Sweeteners —> maple syrup, honey, stevia —>fruit, cinnamon
- Regular salt —> high-quality sea salt
- Tofu —> tempeh
- Tuna —> Wild Planet sardines or salmon
- Tortillas (flour) —> organic tortillas (corn) —> collard, lettuce wraps
- Yogurt —> full-fat, plain kefir —> coconut milk kefir
*gf = gluten-free
Need healthier fast food and dining out options? Check out Dining Out Smarter