Healthy eating is not complicated and it doesn’t means you have to make major changes to what your family eats or go on a restrictive diet. Healthy eating can be achieved by simply swapping out an unhealthy version of the same food and replacing it with a more nutrient dense option.
Sometimes just swapping out a few less nutritious purchases for similar and healthier version is all it takes. Most of the time, the kids will be none the wiser, especially if you start with healthier options when they are young.
My kids had never had “white” bread until they started school and saw their friends eating it. They thought is was a new invention! All we’ve ever had at house is whole grain and 100% whole wheat bread and that is what they became used to. It doesn’t mean they don’t love white bread, but they know we choose to eat healthier breads, same goes for pasta and rice; all whole wheat and brown.
On your next shopping trip t the grocery store, take a moment to consider the healthier version of some of your staples. Swap out the usual well known creamy peanut butter and try natural peanut butter – sure it has a thicker, less sweet taste, but we have learned to add apples, bananas or a drizzle of honey to this MUCH healthier version of a family favourite.
You don’t have to change your favourites, just make a better choice to improve the nutritional value of those favourites.
These 10 simple swaps at the grocery store will give your meals a boost of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals without changing the menu. Give some (or all!) of them a try.
10 Simple Swaps That Make Healthy Eating Easy
Swap out the enriched white bread. Switch to whole grain and whole wheat bread. Your family will get the benefit of whole grains and more fiber from sandwiches at lunch and toast at breakfast.
Swap out the artificial sweet stuff. We love eating healthy oatmeal pancakes and banana whole wheat waffles at our house and topping it with syrup is a must – but ditch the artificially coloured and flavoured variety. Switch to pure maple syrup. It is a bit more expensive but it is a syrup in its true form and not processed.
Swap out the plain noodles. Void of much nutritional values, plain noodles add little to your spaghetti, lasagna and mac and cheese meals. Switch to whole wheat pasta to get the added nutrition from fiber or try something really different like zucchini noodles!
Swap out the sugary cartoon cereals. Be very selective in the cereals you offer in your pantry. Low sugar, high grain cereals only. Nothing with artificial colours, marshmallows or chocolate bits. Cereal is a nutritious start to the day, but not if it looks and tastes more like a dessert. Switch to plain cheerios and cereals and top with real fruit if the kids need colour and a sweet flavour.
Swap out the processed cheese options. The slices, the spreads, the tubes; these items are not real cheese. Switch to buying only real cheddar and use it to make grilled cheese, or snack on for a hit of protein.
Swap out the added hydrogenated oil and sweetened peanut butter. Did you know some brands add icing sugar to make their peanut butter taste good? There should only be one ingredient in peanut butter and that is peanuts. Switch to an all natural peanut butter that has to be stored in the fridge. Add apple slices or honey to your favourite peanut butter snack if kids need it a bit sweeter.
Swap out the sugary low fat tube or drinkable yogurt types. Yogurt should have fat and protein, it should not have tons of sugar and artificial flavours. Switch to Greek Yogurt and get the goodness of protein. Add your own frozen or fresh berries and a drizzle of honey for sweetness and natural flavours.
Swap out the fruit in a cup, a syrup, or squeeze tube. Fruit is found in the produce section at the grocery store not the centre isles concealed in a box or plastic container. Switch to real fruit only. Take the time to wash it, slice it and pack in school lunch bags or serve in place of anything that tells you it is made with “real fruit.”
Swap out the cocktails, punch and juice drinks. Be very label savvy when buying juice. Switch to only 100% real juice and check labels carefully. Many labels look identical to the real juice and in very tiny print will say juice drink or cocktail. Get the added vitamins and nutrients from real juice and even consider those with added calcium, omega 3s or vitamin D.
Swap out the processed instant oats. Oatmeal is a super nutritious breakfast but the quicker cooking the oats the less nutritional value it has. Switch to rolled oats and make your own instant packets or plan ahead and make refrigerated oatmeal or this overnight slow cooker oatmeal using nutrient dense steel cut oats.