5 easy food swaps for a healthier diet

Author: Dr. Michelle Durkin on 2 May 2017

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. It’s just a matter of having the right information, doing a bit of planning, and being open to trying new foods. Here are some easy swaps you can make to get you started.

  • Greek Yogurt instead of Regular Yogurt: It contains twice the amount of protein. Don’t be tricked into the no-fat versions. Fat is part of what makes our food taste good, and also helps to keep us full. If we take it out, then often more sugar is added to make it taste better, and we end up eating more food because we are still hungry. Look for a brand with no more than 10g of sugar in 125 ml. I suggest buying plain yogurt, and then drizzle it with honey or maple syrup to please adult and kids’ sweeter palates. If you need to be on a dairy free diet for leaky gut or anti-inflammatory reasons try plain dairy-free versions like coconut yogurt or buffalo milk yogurt.
  • Minced Cauliflower instead of Rice: Rice is great if you trying to eat gluten-free, but not if you are trying to lose weight. Once digested one cup of rice contains approximately 50 grams of sugar. Compare that to cauliflower that only has 5 grams. Cauliflower is also going to have more fiber, vitamins and minerals overall. If you’re looking for a way to save time, you can pulse a few heads of cauliflower in your food processor all at one time (especially if they are on sale) and then freeze it in Ziploc bags. Then you can pull out a bag whenever you need it during the week.
  • Coconut Oil instead of Cream: This was a great new discovery for people who love cream in their coffee. Many patients have reported drinking their coffee black just wasn’t the same. Blend your coffee with 1 tsp of coconut oil and a splash of pure vanilla, and then sprinkle it with cinnamon. So tasty, plus coconut oil has lots of health benefits, and there are no artificial flavours or additives.
  • Carbonated Water instead of Juice or Pop: This is for those of you who complain that water is boring. Try a Soda Stream. It is super easy to use (just a few pumps of CO2 into the water), and a new CO2 cartridge only costs about $25 (one cartridge can last a year or more). If you like a bit of flavour, you can add some lemon or lime – either the real thing or an essential oil, or you can infuse a fruit of your choice.
  • Protein Smoothie instead of a carbohydrate rich Breakfast or Afternoon Snack: It’s so easy for breakfast and afternoon snacks to be really carbohydrate rich – that means we digest them quickly, spike our blood sugar, and then we crash and want something else to eat. Over the years, I have used various types of protein powders, and there are lots of good ones and not so good ones out there. For the last several years, I have been drinking medical foods like UltraMeal360, UltraInflamX360, and Synerclear (Chocolate is my favorite flavour). Medical Foods are protein powders that treat specific medical conditions (eg. leaky gut, inflammation, liver toxicity, or insulin resistance). They are hypoallergenic and also replace your multivitamin. Patients who prefer to eat, rather than drink their breakfast, I have them switch to having their protein shake in the afternoon. If I am at home, I blend it with leafy greens, some berries and/or a nut milk (almond milk or coconut milk are my favorites). If I’m at work, I just mix it with water in my shaker cup. Easy peasy – tastes great, fills me up and is super convenient.

Now I would love to hear from you!  I’m sure there are many more great ideas out there. What is one easy food swap that has worked for you? Leave a comment below and I’ll be back next week with another edition of Doctor as Teacher Tuesday.

3 Replies to “5 easy food swaps for a healthier diet”

Michele Schultz

Along the lines off your carbonated water suggestion, i make home made ginger ale by using sparkling water and adding a couple slices of fresh ginger, and a splash of apple cider vinegar. You get the lovely ginger ale taste without the sugar.

Also, i substitute pumpkin seeds in recipes that ask for cashews due to a nut allergy. They work great if you soak them and then blend as a creamy sauce. (E.g. As a pasta sauce cook some tomatoes, spinach, garlic, and then add in blended mixture of 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds with 1 cup water and it is an amazing creamy sauce).

By the way, i dont use pasta, but rather use zucchini noodles which you can make with a spiralizer or a potato peeler. Just soak the “noodles ” in hot water for a couple mins then just add sauce and it is good to go!

Susanne Koehler

I have missed yogurt so will try the coconut yogurt.
I have used cauli rice but after the food processor step I saute it. then freeze it. When defrosted it is mushy. I will try the freezing Before the saute. Susanne

Dr Michelle Durkin ND

Love those suggestions Michele!

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