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Five simple substitutes that lead to a healthier diet

Posted Jan 20 2011 7:00pm
(ARA) - Eating right is often easier said than done. You like what you like, so breaking old eating habits is never easy. That's why sometimes it can be easier to slightly modify your diet instead of giving it a complete overhaul.

The good news is subbing in healthier substitutes doesn't have to make your food taste less flavorful. Here are five healthy substitutions to try on your journey to better health
  1. Make things whole. Consider what type of bread, pasta, flour and rice you are regularly eating. Switching to the whole grain versions of these foods not only helps you cut down on calories, but also add nutrition to your diet. Whole grain foods are also packed with fiber, which helps you feel full and aids digestion.

  2. Consider beverages. Did you know the average can of soda contains about 150 calories and no nutrients? On the other hand, try opting for tasteful beverages that have a neutral, or even a positive effect on your health. For example, natural teas can provide added health benefits - oolong tea can help lower your cholesterol and green tea can help boost your metabolism. Like soda, tea can also be quick, easy and refreshing - cold-brewed tea from brands such as Teawan come in packages that can be brewed in minutes.

  3. Watch where you start in the kitchen. Cooking more at home is a sure-fire way to reduce the calories you take in, but your cooking methods can be another place to make gains in eating healthier. Instead of using butter, vegetable shortening or lard, consider using olive oil, peanut oil or canola oil, which contain less saturated fat.

  4. Creamy substitutes. When a recipe calls for heavy cream, try substituting half and half or milk. Or use yogurt instead of sour cream. These simple substitutions can provide great taste for a fraction of the calories and fat.

  5. Modify your meat intake. You don't have to suddenly become a vegetarian, but try a stir fry using only veggies or substitute ground turkey for ground beef in your favorite recipes. By making a similar substitution once a week or more, you'll consume less calories and fat - and possibly discover some tasty variations on your go-to dishes.
You may find that some substitutes actually make your diet more interesting and give you more options for healthy eating. As you work toward eating healthier, you ultimately have to find options you enjoy to achieve sustainable and nutritious diet.

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