Here are a few easy upgrades you can make to your diet NOW that will make sure your getting the most out of your food in terms of taste and nutrition:
- Spinach or baby spinach for lettuce.
I always use spinach in my salads because dark leafy greens are chock full of nutrients. Plus, with baby spinach, there’s absolutely no chopping involved! You can buy huge bags of the stuff pre-washed and ready-to-eat.
- Green smoothies for regular smoothies.
Add some spinach or kale to your smoothie. If you make it right, I promise, you won’t even be able to taste it. Find a recipe for my Pinkish Green Monster here.
- Sprouted grain for white.
Sprouted grain breads incorporate ingredients in their most unrefined stages and don’t contain highly processed flours. What does that mean for you? Nutrients haven’t been stripped from the grain and they’re full of fiber.
- Greek yogurt for regular.
Greek yogurt often has less sugar (depending on the brand), more protein, and a creamier, richer flavor that won’t leave you hungry after you finish your cup.
- Real sushi or sashimi for California rolls.
Though delicious, California rolls (and many of the other rolls offered on sushi menus) are nutritionally empty. Real sushi (with brown rice is best!) or sashimi offer all the health benefits of fish… healthy protein and omega-3s. Learn more here.
- Canned salmon for tuna.
Salmon has less mercury and more omega-3s. What more could you ask for?
- Coconut water for Gatorade or other sports drinks.
I’ve talked about this before, but coconut water offers all the electrolytes, magnesium, and potassium that Gatorade does without the electric blue or orange color and HFCS. Coconut water also has less sugar (and tastes amazing, in my opinion). I drink it before all my long runs now.
- Kale chips or popcorn for chips.
I can’t sing the praises of kale chips enough. They geuinely taste great, are packed with nutrition and fiber, and easily satisfy my need for something salty and crispy. Popcorn is also a good option when you’re craving some crunch. It offers some fiber and when you make it yourself, you can control how much oil/salt goes in.
- Rolled or steel-cut oats for cereal.
Some cereals are great, but all of them are going to be more processed than oats. Oats always fill me up and keep me going all morning. Plus, you can add fun and healthy mix-ins to your oatmeal (fruit, nuts, nut butter, preserves) that keep it interesting.
- Tea for gum.
The one artifically-sweetened item I just can’t seem to give up is sugar-free gum. When I know I’m not hungry but need a distraction, I’m trying to drink tea instead (either unsweetened or with a splash of almond milk) to satisfy me. It’s hydrating (yes, even caffeinated tea), has antioxidants, and takes awhile to sip.
- Sweet potatoes for regular.
There’s nothing wrong with potatoes, but sweet potatoes are a powerhouse, nutritionally speaking. They’re full of vitamins (beta-carotene and vitamin A), fiber, and protein.