by Katy Bowen, MS, RDN, LD and Celina Parás, MSc, RDN, LD
Cooking healthy meals at home starts with a pantry stocked with healthy ingredients. Finding easy substitutions for foods you already know and love can help you stick to your New Year’s Resolution all year long. Check out these Healthy Swaps from our CHEF Dietitians:
Whole Grains are a great source of B-vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Eating whole grain foods each day may help prevent risk factors associated with heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, and even certain cancers. Try these whole grain substitutions to start your pantry makeover today:
CHEF Tip: Add chili powder or Cinnamon for great flavor without salt!
Canned fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life and tend to be lower in cost than fresh fruits and vegetables. BUT – watch out for added sugar in canned fruits and added sodium in canned vegetables and beans. Too much sodium (salt) can lead to high blood pressure, which is a leading cause of Heart Disease. Be sure to check the label and look for “No Sodium Added.” Try rinsing and draining canned foods to remove some of the extra sodium or undesirable ingredients added during the canning process.
Beans, Nuts, and seeds, are a great source of plant-based protein and they have a long shelf life. Buying canned beans with a “No Sodium Added” label is a great way to limit the amount of sodium you eat. You can also rinse the beans the remove excess sodium.
Try choosing nuts and seeds without added salt or sugar. There are many options to choose from including walnuts, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds. You may store nuts and seeds in the refrigerator to extend their shelf life.
Drinking 8 cups of water each day may sound like a difficult task, but there are many fun ways to rethink your drink. Try these healthy swaps to decrease the amount of added sugar you eat each week!
There are lots of ways to flavor your food without adding salt. Dried spices are a great way to flavor your food without relying on too much sodium, sugar or fats. You may use other flavoring agents such as citrus juice, fresh & dried herbs, and fresh aromatic vegetables such as onion, garlic, celery, and green onions.
Use oils, vinegars and better-for-you condiments instead of condiments with added sugar, salt, and high in fat.
These simple swaps can make a huge impact to help you eat healthy foods all year long!