There are several reasons that we crave the bad foods that we do. It could be the addictive ingredients (and chemicals), the constant marketing that these products receive, or just the fact that they taste so damn good! But one other big reason is that we when we were children, we were give them as a ‘treat’ or a reward for when we were good. This, from a young age, places a psychological ‘higher value’ on those foods and makes our bodies ( our brains in particular) think that we have earned them when we have either done something good, or if we have had a tough day at work, for example. Fear not though. There is good news!
Not only can our brains be re-wired to lose these cravings, but there are almost always healthy alternatives that can take the place of these foods, meaning we can satisfy our cravings without poorly affecting our health.
10 easy food swaps for healthier eating
Dark Chocolate instead of Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate is something that many of us love and crave quite often. Dark chocolate is a great replacement.
It’s packed full of antioxidants. Among many other things, this can help to reduce the signs of aging. It’s also been shown that eating a small amount of dark chocolate can help lower your blood pressure and prevent hardening of the arteries. I choose 90% dark chocolate, but you may want to start at 70% and work your way upwards.
Coconut Milk instead of Cow’s Milk
Whilst there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with cow’s milk, many people do have problems when consuming it, primarily due to lactose intolerance. The pasteurization of milk will also damage a large amount of the nutrients within it. Coconut milk can be a great alternative. It’s really tasty and packed full of healthy fats. Those people who have lactose intolerance will also likely be fine drinking it.
Butter instead of Margarine
Yes, this may surprise you but the fact is that butter is actually much healthier than margarine. Butter contains a number of vitamins and is a source of good healthy fats. Margarine, on the other hand, is packed full of trans fats, which will cause a number of health problems. Try to eat organic grass fed butter where possible.
Greek Yoghurt instead of normal yoghurt
Normal shop bought yoghurt again may cause problems for lactose intolerant people, but also is so often packed full of added sugars. Greek yoghurt (as long as you find one without added sugars, which is easy to do) is normally a much better option. Not only is it lower in sugar, but is higher in protein and people generally find it easier to digest.
Homemade Ice Cream instead of Shop Bought Ice Cream
The possibilities are endless with homemade ice cream, but one example would be to mix together some coconut milk, chopped up banana, and a little unsweetened cocoa powder put it into the ice cream, maker and you have a really health, delicious, chocolate and banana ice cream. Compare that to something shop bought which will be filled with sugar, bad fats, creams and artificial flavours and preservatives, and it’s easy to see the benefits.
Protein Smoothie instead of Milkshake
You can create amazing tasting smoothies from a mixture of protein powder, avocado, mixed fruit and coconut milk. Delicious and so much more nutritious than your average sugar filled protein shake.
Cashew butter for Peanut butter
Whilst peanut butter is far from being the worst thing that many people could eat, it’s not perfect. Most commercially available peanut butters will contain lots of added sugar and oils, but even the better ones aren’t great because peanuts will often contain high levels of toxins, and peanut lectin has been associated with a number of health problems. Cashew butter can be just as delicious, and is much healthier for you.
Passata instead of Ketchup
Shop bought sauces will often contain large amount of sugar plus a number of additives and ingredients you can’t even pronounce! Something equally delicious can be made using a mixture of passata, garlic, chilli and mixed herbs.
Soda water and lemon instead of lemonade
The main problem with lemonade is just how much sugar it contains. A 250ml glass of lemonade will contain around 10g of sugar. You can create something just as refreshing, but much healthier, by drinking soda water with some lemon juice squeezed in to it.
Coconut oil instead of vegetable oil
Contrary to popular belief, vegetable oil is not good for us mainly due to the fact it is very high in inflammatory omega 6 fats. Coconut oil is great mainly because it’s made up of medium chain triglycerides (MCT). This medium chain can be used for energy much more effectively than most fats, which are long chain, meaning that coconut oil can help your energy levels and mental focus. These MCTs can also help to improve insulin sensitivity – an extremely important factor for fat loss.
Coconut Oil also contains Lauric acid, which helps the body to fight viruses, bacterial infections and fungal infections.
Hopefully you found this useful. As you can see, there are almost always healthy alternatives for most foods, meaning that your healthy eating plan never needs to become boring!