Woman eating rye crisp bread with creamy vegetarian cheese tofu,

12 Super Simple Food Swaps That’ll Instantly Boost Health and Energy

A nutritious diet doesn’t need to be complicated or extreme. We often get the idea in our heads that eating better requires extreme changes that are hard to sustain (which is what most trending diets are about, unfortunately). In reality, no one needs to go on a strict diet of only vegetables or protein shakes with no sweets to make meaningful progress toward better health and energy.

This “all-or-nothing” mentality makes people hesitant to make any changes. In reality, the smallest changes can have the biggest impact, especially if they can be kept consistently. Starting with simple food swaps is a great way to get started. Numerous straightforward and tasty substitutions exist to enhance your eating habits without compromising flavor or satisfaction.

Let’s look at 12 effortless swaps designed to elevate your overall well-being, whether you’re aiming to trim calories, minimize sugar intake, or simply opt for healthier choices.

1. Unsweetened Oatmeal Instead of Flavored Oatmeal

Shocked woman eating oatmeal for breakfast and watching something on laptop
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

In general, whole grains such as oatmeal are healthy breakfast options. However, flavored, instant oatmeal (the popular ones in the packets) can contain many extra calories, flavors, preservatives, and other chemicals that can ruin the health benefits of oats.

Rather, choose natural, unsweetened rolled and don’t add any sugar to it. You can sweeten it with honey, cinnamon, nuts, or fruits. The fiber content will be higher, the sugar significantly less- helping you feel satiated longer after breakfast.

2. Avocado Spread Instead of Jam

Shot of group of friends laughing while eating healthy food at home
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

If you start your day with jam-topped butter toast (a common go-to), you might regret it later. Your jam is filled with added sugar, which is not a good way to start your day because of the sugar crash you’ll experience an hour or two later.

Opt for a spread rich in protein or healthy fats, such as avocado or natural peanut butter, to help you feel full longer. For example, smashed avocado spread with a little lemon juice, salt, and a tomato slice is a delicious option. You may also consider garnishing it with garlic, fresh herbs, or a fried egg (for a protein boost).

Avocados are rich in fiber and healthy fats, so changing your jam to avocado is worth it. Moreover, avocado toast will keep you full until your next meal.

3. Hummus Over Mayo

Young African-American woman eating tasty sandwich in kitchen
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Swap out mayo for hummus to reduce empty calories and enhance flavor in your sandwiches. Store-bought mayo is high in calories (95 calories per tablespoon) and filled with processed oils and sugar.

Hummus, made from chickpeas and tahini, boasts a delectable flavor, whether plain, garlic, or whatever you choose. It is also high in calories, but this is because of the added protein and fat content, both needed for feeling satisfied.

4. Fruit or Veggies Instead of Chips

Smiling attractive woman eating fresh berries from a bowl
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

No one can deny that potato chips are irresistible. Unfortunately, they lack essential nutrients. To make a healthier choice, consider swapping out chips for fresh fruits (such as berries or watermelon) and crisp vegetables (like carrots or cucumber). Alternatively, you can whip up some kale chips or enjoy air-popped popcorn.

If you’re looking for that salty addition, try adding some sour cream or hummus as a dip for your vegetables for a satiating snack.  

5. Bowls Instead of Burrito

Happy woman eating a vegetable salad
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Opting for a bowl instead of a burrito can be a smart choice for a healthier meal. You can enjoy all the delicious burrito ingredients in a bowl without the extra calories and carbs from the tortilla. Plus, it allows for better portion control and customization, making loading up on fresh vegetables and lean proteins easier.

6. Ditch White Rice and Use Brown or Cauliflower Rice 

Woman holding cauliflower and broccoli near paper bag
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Choosing brown rice and cauliflower rice over white rice is a game changer, and the best part is that your kids (if you have them) will love them. It’s a simple swap that no one will really notice.

Brown rice offers more fiber and nutrients than white rice. In contrast, cauliflower rice is a low-carb, veggie-based alternative that can help reduce overall calorie intake and boost nutrient density simultaneously. Both options can add a nutritious twist to your meals without sacrificing flavor.

7. Side Salad Instead of Fries

Female friends preparing vegetable salad
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Most of us love fries, especially as a chosen side when eating out. The only problem with fries is that they give too many empty calories to your diet and are fried in heart-unhealthy seed oils. At a minimum, save the fries for home when you can bake them.

Otherwise, if you want to add something to your meal, order or make an easy side salad. This way, you can decrease your calorie intake, and adding some leafy greens to your diet can also help with a more balanced diet.

8. Unsweetened Applesauce Instead of Sugar

Pretty woman model baker cook chef holding cupcake dessert pastry sweets smiling diet
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Unsweetened applesauce is a great sugar substitute in baking recipes. Add applesauce in a 1:1 ratio to your cookies, brownies, or cakes.

Don’t worry; your dessert will be sweet enough but have fewer calories per serving. One cup of unsweetened applesauce has 100 calories, while the same amount of sugar has almost 8 times more and has a crazy effect on your blood sugar!

9. Energy Bites Instead of Cookies

Beautiful young woman biting a bar chocolate bar
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Are you craving something sweet, such as cookies or ice cream? While it’s okay to indulge sometimes, a sweet tooth can quickly get out of control.

If you’re looking for a nutrient-dense sweet alternative that’ll help you tackle that sweet craving, it’s time to try energy bites. Most energy-bite recipes require only a few ingredients, such as oats, dates, coconut, peanut butter, dark chocolate, and chia seeds, and are free from added sugar. And the best thing is that you don’t have to bake them!

10. Almond Milk Instead of Regular Milk

Happy young woman drinking milk
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Plant-based milk options such as oats, rice, and almond milk have been the talk of the town, particularly in a plant-based diet or for anyone with a dairy allergy (which is many). And for a reason!

They are delicious and lower in calories than regular milk. While milk isn’t inherently an issue, choosing quality options and allergies matter, making plant-based options a great alternative for some people.

Unsweetened almond milk is one of the best milk substitutes as it contains no lactose, saturated fat, or cholesterol. The only disadvantage is that it has no calcium, so choose almond milk enriched with calcium or get some calcium from other sources. Or better yet, ditch store-bought almond milk for homemade milk that tastes divine, is easier on the wallet, and has no added preservatives (and is easy to make).

11. Sliced Cucumbers Instead of Crackers

kids eating a healthy lunch toddler boys vegetables meal
Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com.

When a crunchy salt craving hits, polishing off an entire box of crackers is easy. But you may notice you don’t feel so great afterward, either.

Cucumbers are low in calories and rich in water, making them a refreshing and hydrating alternative to crackers, which can be calorie-dense and high in processed carbohydrates. This swap can support a healthier snack or appetizer option. Add a cheese dip or hummus for the extra salt and substance you may need to hold you over during snack time.

12. Fat-Free for Full Fat

Thinking woman in the kitchen holding apple and donut
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Fat-free foods that are often marketed as healthy are sadly typically filled with artificial flavors, additives, and even sugars to make them salvageable for flavor. We’ve been brainwashed to be afraid of fat. But eating fat, especially healthy ones, does not make us fat– excessive sugar (or any macronutrient) does.

Choose full-fat products that’ll help you feel more satiated (yogurt, cheese, milk, etc.). When you make this swap, you’ll notice an instant increase in energy levels and fewer hanger episodes.

Note: Always talk to your doctor first about any heart health concerns and fat intake.

27 Ways People Have Successfully Lost the Weight- And Actually Kept it Off

Smiling woman exercising to lose weight
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Finding it challenging to lose those stubborn extra pounds, and growing more disheartened by the digits on your scale? The plethora of diets, exercise routines, and conflicting guidance can, without a doubt, feel quite bewildering. In the midst of numerous choices and contradictory information, you might naturally ponder: Where should you even commence?

27 Ways People Have Successfully Lost the Weight- And Actually Kept it Off

Food Trivia: 8 Questions to Test Your Healthy Eating Knowledge

Funny young woman eating sweet cake in the kitchen at night
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos.

Culinary delights are not merely sustenance; they are a wellspring of comfort and jubilation. However, amid the delectable tastes, it’s crucial to recognize that understanding a balanced and healthful diet is both engrossing and vital for our overall well-being. Whether you’re a seasoned epicurean or someone who savors a fine meal, embark on a journey of gastronomic enlightenment with these eight captivating questions designed to challenge your culinary acumen!

Food Trivia: 8 Questions to Test Your Healthy Eating Knowledge

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