Making dietary changes in order to embrace a healthy lifestyle is not as hard as it may seem. Sometimes people believe that in order to lose weight, increase their energy levels, or improve their skin appearance, they have to make big sacrifices, but that’s not true.
Just by adding more raw fruits and vegetables into your diet and swapping a few food staples for healthier alternatives, you’ll be adding years to your life!
I want to share with you a few things that you can change in your pantry to be a healthier and happier version of yourself:
1. Sprouted grain bread instead of white bread: White bread is full of empty calories, which means that there’s zero nutritional value in it. Sprouted grain bread is completely natural and provides your body with tons of fiber that will help you stay full longer while giving you energy to carry your activities throughout the day. If you can’t find it, your second best alternative will be 100% whole wheat bread—not multigrain. Multigrain bread is the same as white bread with some grains or seeds added, so if you go this route, make sure that the first ingredient on the label is 100% whole-wheat flour.
2. Brown rice instead of white rice: this is another way to add more fiber into your diet. Brown rice is less processed, and, therefore, it’s more natural and has a higher nutritional value.
3. Quinoa/Brown rice/Whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta: Same thing goes here. By swapping your white starches for whole grain ones, you’ll be filling your body with higher quality foods without compromising your favorite meals.
4. Coconut sugar instead of white sugar: white sugar is one of the most dangerous foods we can consume. It’s been proven that it’s one of the major causes of many chronic diseases, so we should try to avoid it as much as possible. Brown sugar is the same as white sugar but with added molasses, so don’t be tricked. Coconut sugar is a better alternative because it’s natural and has a lower glycemic index. Another option can be natural stevia extract, but sometimes its flavor can be a little intense.
5. Nut dairy-free milk/yogurt instead of low-fat milk/yogurt: our bodies need fat to function well; the important thing is to feed it with the right kind. Think raw nuts, avocado, coconut, and olive oil. These are all sources of healthy fats. When we eat any low-fat products, like milk or yogurt, we are just consuming unnecessary sugars. Manufacturers add hidden sugars to these products in order to maintain a decent flavor, so it’s always better to go for the full fat versions or the unsweetened dairy-free alternatives, like plain Greek yogurt or almond/cashew milk.
Small changes, big results!
Claudia Deen is a Certified Health Coach based in Savannah, GA, and the founder of The Trendy Smoothie. Claudia is a brown belt in karate, thirteen-time half-marathon finisher, seven-time marathon finisher, and two-time Ironman 70.3 finisher. After a career in advertising, her passion for fitness and fresh eating led to a career centered on helping others achieve a healthier lifestyle. In 2013, Claudia married Paula’s son, Bobby. You can follow Claudia on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.