If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. 45% of individuals around the globe, in countries ranging from the USA to Chile, are trying to lose weight at any given time.
There are hundreds of weight-loss options, including fad diets to intense workout plans. But you don’t need to stop eating or workout for 3 hours a day to see results – you just need to make adjustments to your current lifestyle.
Healthy living starts with what you eat. Some of your favorite foods may be hindering your progress, but a few simple food swaps will be all you need to progress.
Here’s a list of 7 smart foods swaps for weight loss.
1. Fresh Fruit, Not Dried
Raisins and dried cranberries are deceiving, especially when they appear in trail mixes or snack bags marked as “healthy” or “energizing.”
Dried fruits from mangos to craisins are often full of added sugars to give them their delicious flavor. Meanwhile, the fresh version tastes even better and consists of only natural ingredients.
Fresh fruit also comes at a lower caloric cost than dried fruit. 100mg of craisins is 325 calories, while 100mg of grapes is only 69 calories.
2. Avocado, Not Mayonnaise
You don’t have to give up all of your favorite fatty toppings for healthy eating. You just need to be smarter about which ones you use.
Mayonnaise is high-fat and calorie-dense. And while avocados are also fatty food, they’re a much healthier fat than mayonnaise – in fact, avocados are considered a “superfood.”
They’re full of nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin K, vitamin C, and potassium. The high folate and fiber contents in avocados help with weight loss because they will make you feel fuller for longer.
Avocado is a great source of oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that can reduce heart disease and inflammation.
3. Bean Burger, Not a Hamburger
Red meat is a great source of protein, typically associated with building muscle and gaining weight. When you’re trying to lose weight, though, it’s best to avoid red meat.
Red meat like hamburgers also tends to have adverse effects on your heart with their high salt and saturated fat levels.
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that we minimize the amount of saturated fat we consume.
Swap your hamburger for a bean burger. Try one full of black beans, peas, and lentils. You’ll be able to fill up on veggies without putting the stress on your digestive system that would occur from eating red meat.
4. Sparkling Water, Not Soda
A glass of soda is often consumed within minutes on a hot day or during lunch, but its effects last far longer.
The average can of Cola contains 35mg of sugar or nine teaspoons. Your body will have difficulty processing this amount of sugar, inflaming your skin, increasing the size of your waistline, and even leading to an energy crash a few hours later.
Substitute the soda for a glass of sparkling water instead. The carbonation will feel great in your body as if you were drinking a soda. If you want to add flavor, squeeze in some juice from a fresh lemon or lime.
5. Zucchini or Spaghetti Squash, Not Pasta
Traditional pasta is usually full of simple carbohydrates and enriched flour, both of which don’t contain any vital nutrients.
Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, is full of vitamin C, fiber, and folate. You’ll also save lots of calories, so you can have a larger portion without gaining weight.
The same goes for Zucchini noodles. A half-cup of cooked pasta has the same amount of calories as five cups of zoodles!
On that note, if zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash aren’t your top choices, maybe lentil pasta or a whole grain penne noodle may suit your palette more.
6. Oatmeal, Not Granola
White granola is a popular “healthy” breakfast food, it’s full of sugar. A half-cup serving has 10 grams of added sugar, while oatmeal has only 10% of that amount in added sugar.
Oatmeal is best known for being a high-quality source of fiber, known as beta-glucans. Beta-glucans may have special properties for heart health and weight control.
Substitute your granola for a cup of oatmeal, and you’ll also be getting loaded with healthy minerals. Oatmeal is loaded with magnesium and potassium.
Overall, it’s a great way to introduce healthy habits into your breakfast every morning.
7. Grilled Chicken, Not Fried
Chicken is a great source of lean protein to include in a weight-loss diet.
However, the way you prepare chicken can either help you or hurt you.
While foods like fried or crispy chicken taste delicious, they have lots of calories and high-fat content.
The grilled chicken equivalent instead contains fewer calories but just as much protein. Fat drops off the chicken into the grill, making it the smarter choice.
Grilled meat also retains more vitamin B1 and B2 when it is cooked. Both of those vitamins are essential for your body’s process of breaking down fat.
The same goes for any meat. Look for meats that are grilled, broiled, and poached. Avoid products labeled “creamy,” “crispy,” or “breaded.”
Food Swaps: the First Step
Use our list of food swaps to facilitate your weight loss process. However, swapping out your go-to treats for healthier options is just the first step toward living a more balanced lifestyle. Exercise, proper sleep, and getting the help of experts also will help your transform your health.
Are you ready to get started on the path to a healthier you? Click here to find a ChiroThin doctor in your area.