Watching what you eat is a challenge with all the tempting and unhealthy foods that abound. It’s hard to think of giving up your favorites and snacks, especially when you feel down.

Enter healthy food swaps. These are items that can take the place of your diet staples and provide you with proper nutrition. That means cutting back on fats and sugars, replenishing fiber, refilling protein, and more importantly, prolonging your life span.  

Sugary Energy Drinks out, Let Tea in

Energy drinks provide that kick or jolt for school or work. However, it’s not wise to consume them every day. The high sugar content can cause your brain to crave for more sugar and damage your teeth. It can lead to weight gain and affect your heart and liver functions. Too many drinks, and you feel overstimulated with caffeine, thus the anxiety and palpitations.

You can have your daily dose of energy in matcha. The caffeine and amino acid L-theanine in the tea work together for the gradual release of energy so that you feel relaxed and enlivened at the same time. Indeed, matcha is one of the best sources of the said amino acid, which can also help you sleep at night. Imagine having a superfood for your morning cup.

Whole-Wheat Pasta Is a Healthy Swap for White Pasta

The regular pasta has a reputation for being high in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Some call it bad carb because it can set you up for overeating. This food gets easily absorbed by the body, causes a spike in your blood sugar, and before you know it, it makes you feel hungry, to put it simply.

Give the whole-wheat variety a try. Aside from the endosperm, it has retained its bran and germ, where the nutrition lies. Think of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and fiber you can derive. This pasta variety also has a lower score than its white-flour counterpart does on the glycemic index.

For similar reasons, whole-wheat bread can replace white bread. Some are worried about the taste because standard whole-wheat bread is known for its bitter taste and coarser texture. As an alternative, consider white whole wheat for bread. It is made of uncolored bran/albino wheat and gives off a milder taste and has a softer texture, like that of white-flour bread. Read the label carefully.

Skip the Juice; Eat the Whole Fruit

When you extract juice from oranges, you lose or get a smaller quantity of fiber that is found in the pulp or skin of the whole fruit. Fiber plays an active role in keeping your digestive tract healthy and improving your blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

For one, soluble fiber slows down the process of digestion, so you feel full. Another type is an insoluble fiber that helps regulate bowel movements. The last kind is resistant starch, that is, prebiotic and beneficial to the good bacteria residing in the gastrointestinal tract.

Almonds Can Replace Snack Bars

Protein bars have been met with skepticism over their “healthiness.” They are often highly processed and contain sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and other additives. 

Almonds provide protein without frills and fillers. You can snack on a handful daily and take advantage of the good-for-the-heart benefit. These nuts also enjoy a good reputation among dieters for keeping hunger at bay. Eat them raw or roasted, which you can do at home because store-bought ones may have added sugar or salt. 

Just Desserts: Frozen Banana instead of Ice Cream

While ice cream offers energy and makes the eater happy, the risks from its fat and sugar content are hard to swallow. But this treat has found a worthy replacement in the form of a frozen banana.

A source of fiber, potassium, and the right amount of carbs, bananas are a powerhouse on their own or as a dessert served in many ways. One simple recipe is to put them in a food processor and enjoy a yogurt-like consistency. 

Taste Matters

It’s a common belief that healthy food means unsavory or bland. There is some truth to that because a lower dose of sugar in desserts makes it less sweet. The same goes when you reduce the fat and salt to taste. It takes a while to wean yourself off enriched or artificial flavors from processed foods.

One solution is adding spices and herbs to make up for, if not pump up, the flavor of the food when you go leaner with meat. You can look into meals that don’t require frying. How about baking your healthy pizza or sweet potato fries when you feel like snacking on junk food?

This leads to an essential, inevitable aspect of eating healthy, and that is to prepare the meals yourself. Through practice, you will learn how to mix and match ingredients to bring out layers or textures to your favorite recipes. Who knows, you may experience all five tastes: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami.