From breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the snacks in between, many of us choose our meals based on convenience, comfort and cost. The result is often a plate of imbalanced food options which can be lacking in essential nutrients, or can leave you feeling tired and sluggish. Luckily, there are a few easy and affordable healthy ingredient swaps that you can do to your everyday meals that the whole family will enjoy!
Instead of this: Orange juice
Have this: A real orange
Amongst adults and children, orange juice is a popular beverage choice to start the day. But because orange juice is squeezed, it no longer contains dietary fibre and has more sugar per serving. Instead, have a real orange; it will provide you with 93% of your minimum recommended daily vitamin C, and the pulp and inner peel contain flavones which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Instead of this: Pasta noodles
Make this: Zucchini noodles
Zucchini noodles seem to be all the rage these days, but for a good reason. Not only do they give your dish a pop of colour compared to your traditional pasta dish, but zucchini is high in essential heart healthy nutrients such as potassium and vitamin C. Using zucchini noodles is also a great low-calorie substitute that can reduce the blood sugar spike and won’t leave you feeling full and sluggish. Zucchini noodles are quick and easy to make—simply use a spiralizer or a potato peeler.
Instead of this: Iceberg lettuce
Use this: Arugula/Spinach salad
Although iceberg lettuce has that crunch that makes salads so satisfying, it is essentially devoid of nutrients. Instead, give your salad a nutritional boost and use salad mixes that are abundant in vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre, such as arugula or spinach. Arugula is high in bone-building vitamin K, vitamin C and beta-carotene, and spinach is high in nutrients that include iron, folate and magnesium. You’ll be giving your usual salad routine a nutritious boost.
Instead of using this: Mayonnaise
Use this: Avocado
Mayonnaise is often used as a flavour enhancer in spreads. Replacing mayonnaise with mashed avocado will still provide you with a great taste, but with the added benefits of some very important nutrients. Mayo often contains trans-fats, but using avocados will provide you with the good fat your body needs, in addition to other essential nutrients such as vitamin E, potassium, carotenoids for eye health, fibre and oleic acid. Avocado spread or dip makes a great mid-day snack substitute for creamy dips.
Instead of this: White rice
Make this: Quinoa
As with all refined products, white rice can have an effect on your blood sugar and it’s also stripped of most vital nutrients. Quinoa, regarded as a superfood for many years, can eliminate the insulin spike white rice provides, while also providing the body with essential nutrients such as 5g of protein, 15% of your daily intake of iron and 21% of your daily fibre per cup, in addition to B vitamin and trace minerals such as magnesium and zinc. Best yet, quinoa’s cooking and prep time is much shorter than brown rice and it’s just as versatile as white rice.