One of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions is to “Eat Healthier”. While it may seem like a no-brainer to move from eating less healthy foods to healthy foods, it isn’t always that easy. Habits, cost, and lack of knowledge can all contribute to falling off the wagon when it comes to being more conscious about what we put into our bodies.
The good news is that we are here to suggest some easy swaps that you can make when you’re wandering through the grocery store and we’re going to take you through them.
Remember, just making the resolution to “eat better” and trying to overhaul your entire diet isn’t going to be super effective. Instead, focus on making those small changes and new habits until they become automatic. Be specific, choose a single type of food you would like to cut out, or choose a new food you’d like to really try!
If you really do have lots of questions about which foods may be right for you, or feel like you need a food routine and someone to help keep you accountable we recommend meeting with a Naturopath (Like our own Dr. Cassan, who does food sensitivity tests and can help figure out which foods will be best suited to your body) or a Life and Health Coach. Our office manager Nicole Sherlock is also the owner of Vitality Life and Health and can help you come up with a solid plan and be there to keep you on track! Really, we recommend seeing both of them at the same time as Dr. Cassan will help identify what you need, and Nicole will help you use that information to get where you would like to be with your health.
Dr. Klassen also has information on various types of diets and may be able to answer some of your questions about them.
On your next food run take a look at some of these swaps instead of your usual go-to’s!
- Instead of regular cows milk, try milk alternatives such as Almond, Hemp, Cashew or Pea Milk. If flavoured milks (like vanilla or chocolate) aren’t your thing you can always opt for the unsweetened version as well.
- Instead of butter or margarine, look for Ghee! Ghee is also called Clarified Butter. It’s made by melting butter (which gets rid of the milk solids, meaning ghee has less lactose).
- Instead of regular yogurt try for greek yogurt or coconut yogurt. Greek yogurt contains more protein than regular yogurt and coconut yogurt has no lactose and contains more antioxidants.
- Instead of regular table salt try swapping to Himalayan Salts or other forms of iodized salts. Rotate through them. Salt is still an important part of our diets and should not be excluded completely, but different salts taste different and bind to different things in our food. It’s good to switch!
- Instead of white sugar go for raw sugar (look for green or brown colours), honey, or switch to an alternative sweetener like Stevia or Xylitol.
- Instead of Canola or Vegetable oil try Coconut oil or Avocado oil! Both coconut and avocado oil contain fatty acids, omegas, and can help your body more effectively absorb nutrients.
- Instead of White or Whole Wheat Bread go for Organic Sprouted Grains. While whole wheat is often touted as better than white bread, depending on the brand it can actually contain just as much or more sugar than white bread. Sprouted grains have more available nutrients than processed grains and may be easier for some people to digest.
- Instead of White Rice go for Quinoa or Brown Rice. Quinoa is packed with protein, iron, fibre, and has less calories than white rice. Brown Rice is a whole grain, which means it contains the bran and nutritious germ of the grain, where White Rice does not.
- Instead of Pasta noodles try out Zucchini Noodles (also referred to as Zoodles!). Zoodles contain less calories than pasta noodles, and none of the wheat or gluten. They also contain more vitamins (as they are a veggie), and they cook faster than pasta noodles too.
- High quality meat instead of grocery store brand meat. High quality meat is meat that is grass fed and preferably free range. That’s not to say you can’t get that kind of meat in a store, but be sure to talk to your local butcher or grocery shop butcher so you can find out what company you should be purchasing from. Butchers are more likely to have high quality meat and will be able to tell you where it is from and how it was raised. Grocery stores like Family Foods and Food Fare also have butchers that will be able to recommend fresh or frozen meat that has these standards.
- Vegetarian and Vegan Proteins are great to have in place of regular meat. Rotating our protein sources keeps our bodies functioning at their best and makes sure we get all of our necessary nutrients absorbed. Some of our favourite veggie proteins are lentils, tempeh, falafel, quinoa, spirulina (also called blue-green algae), chia seeds, unroasted nuts and seeds, hemp, and of course tofu!
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and Vegetables are great on their own, but in order to get the best of them, follow the DIRTY DOZEN and CLEAN FIFTEEN lists. Lots of our fruits and veggies are grown with pesticides which you definitely don’t want in your body. The DIRTY DOZEN and CLEAN FIFTEEN lists are updated every year so you know exactly what to look for in which foods. The DIRTY DOZEN are the foods most likely to be contaminated, and you should look to buy these fruits and veggies organically whenever possible. The CLEAN FIFTEEN are foods that are shown to have had little to no pesticide contamination and are safe to purchase in any variety. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if it has a rind you peel off, it’s probably fine. If it has soft flesh, go as organic as you can.
- Instead of Potato Chips go for Root Vegetable Chips! Root Vegetable chips contain more nutrients and less empty calories. Plus, they come in way cooler flavours than “Cool Ranch”. Make sure you look at the type of oil the chips are made in and check the amount of trans fats.
- For a salty tooth you can also try Nut and Seed mix, health brand popcorns, kale chips, or edamame. Be careful with the edamame, it is a variety of Soy and soy products are not appropriate for everyone.
- For a sweet tooth look for dried fruit with no added sugars, 80% or higher dark chocolate, dates, coconut yogurt, and sugar free gums.
- Instead of soda pop go for homemade Soda Stream beverages, 0 calorie and naturally sweetened beverages like Zevia, 0 calorie unsweetened carbonated beverages like Bubly, or Kombucha. Kombucha should not be consumed daily, and may not be right for every person.
- Instead of Commercial Fruit Juices you can go for Flavoured Coconut Water, Cold Pressed Juices that are made from whole fruits and veggies, or make your own juice from whole fruits and veggies! If you’re watching your sugar intake be sure you’re just getting fruit or vegetable juice and not a mix or something that has been sweetened with agave.
There you have it! Some simple swap suggestions that you can make in order to move towards a healthier you! If you do have a day where you reach for the unhealthy options instead, just remember that you haven’t failed! Sometimes it’s really hard to break those food habits our bodies are used to. Allow yourself to make a different choice next time, until the health habits are the ones that stick! See a Naturopath or a Life and Health Coach to get you through! We are here to support you and celebrate all those small victories!