If you struggle to keep unhealthy cravings at bay every summer, here are 12 healthy summer swaps for foods and drinks that we recommend. These are low-calorie, low-carb, low-sugar and more nutritious.
KALE CHIPS vs. POTATO CHIPS
Crunch on kale or seaweed chips instead of potato chips. This is one of the healthy summer swaps since almost everybody loves crunches. Kale is a slimmer alternative since it packs fewer calories per serving. It is also very nutritious. You can also try beet chips and roasted chickpeas which are equally satisfying crunches. Beet chips have health benefits like reducing inflammation and boosting heart health. Roasted chickpeas contain a lot of fibre and magnesium.
Sliced veggies (cucumber, carrots and celery) and homemade veggie chips (plantains, zucchinis and parsnips) baked in the oven are also healthier crunches.
AVOCADO vs. MAYONNAISE
Say ‘no’ to mayonnaise and ‘hello’ to avocado. Avocado is packed with vitamins, magnesium and potassium. Besides, avocado has no cholesterol and sodium but has low saturated fat, unlike mayonnaise. You can add some avocadoes to your chicken salad with grapes or apples. You can also add them to your potato and egg salad with fresh dill or herbs.
BOTTLED / SPARLKING / INFUSED WATER vs. CLUB SODA / CALORIE DRINKS
Needless to say, calorie drinks and club soda increase your risk of diabetes and other diseases. It’s best to swap up these for sparkling or infused water. Drinking green tea is another healthier choice if you are craving a caffeine fix with less sugar. Kombucha, which contains probiotics, is also another good option. All in all, your best option for hydrating in the summer is a bottle of water.
FRUITS vs. UNHEALTHY DESSERTS / SNACKS
For a healthier dessert after meals, switch to grilled fruit which is a tastier and lower caloried choice. Cooking fruits like pineapples, peaches, pears and apples increases their flavour. To make the perfect sundae, serve grilled fruits with frozen yogurt. You can also dip diced fruit into frozen yogurt and freeze it for some hours to make frozen yogurt pops. These are healthier than ice cream.
HOMEMADE SMOOTHIES vs. MILKSHAKES
Everybody loves a cold milkshake on a hot summer afternoon. Sadly, it is not a healthier choice than making your own fruit smoothies. For healthy, rich and creamy sweetness, homemade smoothies are the way to go.
FISH / LEAN MEAT vs. CHICKEN / BEEF / SHRIMPS
Going lean is one of the best healthy summer swaps since the average American eats a lot of red meat, which is unhealthy. It is also the best option for getting healthier sources of protein. Ditch your summertime protein of red meat like beef for chicken or shrimp kabobs with roasted veggies. These are more delightful vitamin-packed options. For your burgers, opt for tuna steak, portabella mushroom or salmon fillet for your burger filler since these are healthier choices than beef. Moreover, flank steak is much leaner than beef and is also an alternative to consider.
BAKED VEGGIE FRIES vs. FRENCH FRIES
If you must have your fries, please do by all means, but opt for lower fat-saturated fries like baked veggie fries. This will satisfy your craving but will keep your heart healthy. As a matter of fact, veggie fries can just be as crispy yet soft as traditional fries. Besides, making them is so much easier; you just pop them in the oven. Baking different veggies for your fries can give you a variety of nutrients too.
CRUST-FREE PIZZA vs. PIZZA DELIEVRY
Stuck on pizza? Then you will find crust-free pizza a better option than the one the pizza man delivers to your doorstep. Pizza made from veggie and not dough is low-carb, still tastes cheesy and saucy, and is packed with nutrients. For instance, you can switch to low-carb pizza recipes where the crust or dough is swapped for something like zucchini or portobellos.
BUNLESS BURGERS vs. TRADITIONAL BURGERS
Keep your burgers leaner and greener so you can keep your ticker healthier. Make a bunless burger using lean meat like turkey and chicken or fish or veggie patty. Second, cut out the cheese. Third, for something low carb, use sweet potatoes, lettuce or portobellos instead of buns.
OATMEAL / CHIA PUDDING / YOGHURT PARFAIT vs. SUGARY CEREAL
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as they always say. Your choice of breakfast needs to be as healthy as possible. It should be low in sugar and carbs and have more filling macronutrients like protein and fibre, unlike sugary cereals. Some healthier breakfast alternatives to sugary cereals are oatmeal, chia pudding, yogurt parfait, overnight oats or non-sugary cereal.
Plain oatmeal with toppings like berries or nuts is very rich in fibre and protein.
Though slightly sweet, you are sure to get your healthy dose of protein and fibre from some chia pudding, which is also a fave with kids. You can also swirl your pudding with some yogurt to make it more nourishing. Yogurt parfait is a simple breakfast recipe made from layering whole or 2% plain (low fat) yogurt with crushed almonds, unsweetened coconut and fresh berries.
WHOLE GRAIN / SPROUTED BREAD vs. WHITE BREAD
White bread is not rich in protein, fibre, vitamins, antioxidants and minerals. Besides, white bread has a high glycemic index. It can raise blood sugar levels quicker and higher than most foods. However, bread made from whole grains like rye and wheat is a healthier option. These are high in protein and fibre and are low glycemic.
You can also opt for grain-free alternatives such as sweet potato toast, swiss chard or lettuce wraps, portobello mushroom caps, flax bread, cornbread and cauliflower bread.
HOMEMADE MARINADE vs. READY-MADE SUGARY SAUCES
Skip ready-made sugary sauces since these have a high sugar content. A much healthier option is a homemade marinade. Whip up your own with some olive oil, fresh lemon juice, herbs and black peppers. You can use pineapple or orange juice in place of lemon juice for a sweet, tangy flavour if you are not a fan of sour flavours.
Disclaimer: The information shared by this post is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be professional medical advice nor a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Consult your physician, dietician or nutritionist concerning anything you have read here.
By Nana Ama Afoa Osae I Writer I GreatWonderful Team
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