It’s no secret that what we eat can have long-term impacts on our health, but with competing information at every turn, knowing which foods to consume can be challenging.

According to nutritional specialist Amy Musselman, it’s better to fixate less on what we can and can’t eat, as most guidelines dictate, and focus more on making substitutions in our diets. Doing so not only helps maintain a balanced lifestyle, but also wards off disease and illness.

Musselman recommends the following food swaps:

Fats – Substitute baking fats, like butter and oil, with good-for-you alternatives like applesauce, avocados, bananas, beans or yogurt. Be sure to increase the leavening agent (i.e., baking soda) when making the substitution, Musselman says.

Lean Meats – Incorporate more chicken, fish or turkey into your diet in place of beef or pork. As an example, Musselman suggests substituting extra-lean turkey for ground beef in a chili recipe.

Processed Foods – Take steps to remove processed foods from your diet, such as chips, cookies, candy, canned goods and pre-packaged meats. Nutritional substitutes for these include fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans, trail mix, popcorn or low-fat cheese, says Musselman.

Refined Flours – When baking, Musselman says, replace refined flours with whole grains, such as barley, oats or quinoa, or starches, such as corn, potatoes or tapioca.

Sugars – Did you know one can of soda contains approximately 40 grams of sugar? This is equivalent to nine teaspoons! If you need to use a sweetener, use one derived from natural sources, such as Stevia, suggests Musselman.

Vegetables – Add more vegetables to your diet by using them as a baking substitute. Use cauliflower as the main ingredient in pizza crust, Musselman offers, or riced cauliflower in place of traditional rice in a fried rice dish.

When making these food swaps, be sure to watch your portions—eat slowly, and savor each bite, Musselman says. To make the most of these diet substitutions, get 300 minutes of moderate exercise each week.





Reprinted with permission from RIS Media. (c)2016. All rights reserved.