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    Healthy Food Alternatives to Lose Weight

    Healthy Food Alternatives to Lose Weight


    8 minute read

    Losing weight is hard here are some healthy alternatives to help you lose weight

    Zoodles over Noodles

    Zoodles are a lower-calorie, lower-carb version of noodles made from zucchini. They have gained so much popularity that you can even find them in the frozen food section at your grocery store. Because they are rich in nutrients, antioxidants, water and fiber, choosing zoodles over noodles can have a variety of health benefits. These benefits include reductions in blood sugar, better digestive patterns, improved heart health, and improved weight loss progress. Coupled with other fresh vegetables, zoodles can be the foundation for a delicious plant-based pasta-alternative meal. For all you gardeners out there who have zucchinis growing at home, check out this link for easy directions on how to make zoodles and to find some of my favorite recipes: How to Make Zucchini Noodles - Recipes by Love and Lemons

    Avocado over Butter

    Pop into any health food restaurant and you are sure to find avocado toast on their menu! But why is it so popular? Avocado is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can find and considered a “superfood” due to being packed with fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin E, magnesium, Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C. In addition, this versatile fruit is loaded with Omega-3s, which is one of the optimal healthy fats to include in the diet. The health benefits of including avocado in the diet include reductions in cholesterol, improvements in heart health, enhancement of immunity, reductions in arthritis or exercise-induced inflammation and improvement skin health. Because avocado is a plant-based fat, swapping it out with butter means an elimination of saturated fats. So where can you find avocado on the run? Check out some of my favorite avocado recipes: 15 Easy Avocado Recipes – A Couple Cooks 

    Hummus over Mayo

    What is hummus made from and how does it relate to weight loss? This mayo-alternative is a paste made from ground chick peas, olive oil sesame and a variety of seasonings. Ounce to ounce, you will find 75% less calories in hummus compared to mayo! But it isn’t just about the calories. Hummus also has a cocktail of vitamins and minerals, with the most significant being calcium, folate, zinc, B-Vitamins and Vitamin E. This combination of nutrients contributes to improvements in bone health, energy levels and immune function. With roughly 8 grams of plant-based protein per serving, you get to snag some muscle-building benefits while skipping saturated fat found in mayo, which enhances heart health. The low glycemic index and high fiber content of hummus helps to manage blood sugar while promoting optimal digestion. Because one of the primary ingredients is olive oil, this unique sandwich companion also promotes reduced inflammation. Ready to brave making your own homemade hummus? Check out these authentic recipes: Easy Hummus Recipe (Authentic & Homemade from Scratch) | The Mediterranean Dish

    Infused Water over Soda

    Did you know that there are roughly 17 teaspoons of sugar in a 20-oz regular soda? In addition, a bottle of regular soda may contain as much as 250 kcal! This is about the same volume found in a typical fast food drink, not counting the free refills that many people take advantage of. Think about that. It takes an estimated 3500 kcal to gain or lose one pound of body fat. What does that mean for your weight gain risk? Well, basically it means that drinking regular soda or a sugary drink a couple times a day for a week sets you up to gain a pound each week! That’s 4 lbs a month and 48 lbs a year! The good news is that if you are a soda drinker, you can also promote weight loss at the same rate by eliminating it from your diet. Infused water is an easy and inexpensive alternative. Water infused with fruits and veggies is loaded with potential benefits including optimizing metabolism, skin health, weight management, blood pressure, digestion, vitamin absorption, immune health, exercise recovery, and cognitive function. Check out this link for some of my favorite infused water recipes: 8 Infused Water Recipes - Culinary Hill

    Protein Balls over Candy Bars

    Let’s face it. We all need a sugar fix and candy is found everywhere—vending machines, gas stations, and concession stands. We all know that we’re destined to snag some candy from one of these places at some point to address our sweet cravings, unless of course, we prepare ahead of time. Packed with as much as 500 kcal, the “get more bang for your buck” king size candy bars can wreak havoc on a weight management plan. Recalling that it takes just 3500 kcal in excess to gain one pound of body fat, think about how fast this can happen with these calorie-loaded candy bars! Unfortunately, these candy bars also offer minimal nutritional value outside of calories. As an alternative, protein balls averaging 150 kcal per serving can be created to mimic the sweet and savory combo found in candy bars while maximizing nutritional content. In place of commonly added sugars, protein balls rely on dried fruit, honey and small amounts of sweet treats. Protein can be packed in with nut butter, mixed nuts and protein powders. And to top it off, anti-inflammatory ingredients such as flaxseed, chia seeds and hemp hearts can be thrown in the mix. Check out these easy, fun recipes to get your wheels turning on developing your own version of healthy protein balls: Monster Cookie Peanut Butter Protein Balls - The Real Food Dietitians

    Trail Mix over Chips

    Chips are a go-to snack for most of us because they are easily accessible, don’t require refrigeration and can be eaten on the run. However, chips are often packed with saturated fat and sodium, neither of which are ideal for heart health or weight management. In addition, chips are limited to one flavor and texture at a time, which often means we keep eating them mindlessly due to limited feelings of satisfaction. Trail mixes are a great alternative to chips and we can design them strategically to promote increased satisfaction and enhanced nutritional value. If focused on weight management, the ideal foundation for a trail mix is low-sodium popcorn because it is low in calories and provides the crunch that we are accustomed to with chips. The ingredients we add to compliment is what enhances our satisfaction. A blend of sweet, salty, soft and crunchy has been shown to be the most satisfying. Think about incorporating things like dried fruit, nuts, seeds, beef jerky and small amounts of sweet treats like chocolate candy. Check out this link to learn more about the anatomy of a trail mix: How To Build a Healthy Trail Mix (thehealthymaven.com)

    Quinoa over Rice

    Even if you don’t know how to say it, quinoa (keen·waa) is a great alternative to rice! Though they are similar in caloric content, quinoa blows rice out of the water nutritionally. First of all, quinoa is considered a complete protein source, meaning that it contains all nine essential amino acids just like traditional meat protein sources. The protein content of quinoa is almost double that of rice. Fiber and carbs are pretty comparable between quinoa and rice, so nothing is lost in these areas by making the switch. Overall, quinoa has 3-4x more nutrient content than brown rice, including high levels of iron, manganese, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, calcium, potassium and selenium. Not sure how to incorporate quinoa? Check out these easy ways to get some quinoa in your life: 50 Creative Ways to Eat Quinoa: Healthy Quinoa Recipes (greatist.com)

    Frozen Yogurt over Ice Cream

    It’s true. Most of us scream for ice cream! Unfortunately, some of us also scream at the scale when we are consuming too much ice cream. Swapping out traditional ice cream for frozen yogurt cuts calories and fat significantly, plus can increase protein content by 5-6x the amount! Rather than rely on the general frozen yogurt sold in stores, I recommend that my clients blend vanilla Greek yogurt with their favorite fruits and freeze it. This creates a high-protein blizzard without all of the added fat and calories. If you want to get really creative, you can freeze your Greek yogurt blend as popsicles. Check out this link for ideas on making your own Greek frozen yogurt blends: 5-Minute Healthy Greek Frozen Yogurt - Just a Taste

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