If you're like me, you're always looking for ways to make a diet more sustainable. I suppose in the end the whole point is to make it so it doesn't feel like a "diet" at all, so much as a new standard. Diet has a problematically temporary sound to it...
At any rate, one great way to form more sustainable nutrition habits that I've been experimenting with for some time now is to try food swaps. This basically means that instead of just cutting back on some of the unhealthy foods you may enjoy, you try to find healthy alternatives to "swap" for those foods and fill the void.
It's just easier to stick to a plan if you're finding other options you enjoy rather than simply omitting snacks and treats from your diet.
Look around on health blogs and other Internet sources and you'll quite literally find dozens of tried and true diet swaps worth considering. But to narrow the focus a little bit, below I'll touch on five swaps I've tried out that may be particularly good for the spring and summer seasons ahead.
1. Salmon Salad (Instead Of Chef's Salad) It's not uncommon to find yourself out at a restaurant—say, a nice bar and grill patio enjoying a summer evening—and decide upon a Chef's Salad as a "healthy option." As this list of easy food swaps wisely pointed out, however, salad does not always mean healthy (I know, this was devastating news to me as well).
Most Chef's Salads, at least on restaurant menus, are packed with bacon and potentially unhealthy lunch meats, not to mention drenched in ranch dressing.
Salad as a healthy alternative is still a good idea, but when possible try opting for a green salad with a real cut of meat on it—say salmon, grilled chicken, or even sardines, as the list mentioned suggested. It's a healthier version of an already healthy idea.
2. Homemade Juice (Instead Of Dairy) Juicing is pretty commonly recognized as a healthy habit for those looking to find healthy snacks and eliminate food cravings. If you're like me, you know what I mean... blending together some fruits and vegetables just makes you feel like you're being super proactive about your health. But in addition to general consumption, healthy juices can also be very useful as substitutes for other beverages such as soda or milk.
We tend to reach for these drinks when we want something with a little more flavor than water - or at least I do - and a natural juice can satisfy the same desire. This story about one woman's journey to better nutrition specifically mentions a juicing habit ultimately taking the place of meat and dairy.
In that particular case, the swap actually helped to cure a skin condition, but in general juice-for-milk is a change that can be good for anyone's diet.
3. Kale Chips (Instead Of Potato Chips)
We may have written that crickets are the new kale, but kale remains an incredibly trendy item for health-conscious eaters, and with good reason. While there's certainly a fad aspect to kale's popularity in the last year or two, it's true
that natural kale packs more nutrients than a lot of lettuce or vegetable alternatives.
Thus, it makes perfect sense that kale chips can serve as a healthy alternative to ordinary potato chips. That's not to say they're all perfectly nutritious. Some of the ones you'll find in stores are salted or otherwise treated in ways that negate some of the positives. But you can actually make these on your own at home fairly easily: just cut up some kale, toss it in olive oil, and bake until crispy.
Also, dip them in hummus... you can never go wrong with hummus!
4. Sparkling Water (Instead Of Soda)
The U.S. seems to be waking up to the fact that soda, from a health perspective, is extremely damaging. You may have seen heaps of sugar meant to show how much of the stuff you're consuming in an average movie theater soda, and you may have heard of people giving it up and feeling more alert and slimmer after a matter of days. This account of various New Yorkers giving up soda when Mayor Michael Bloomberg's proposed soda ban was in the news points to multiple people losing 10-plus pounds in two months just from surrendering this one beverage! But again, it's easier to swap something in than to give something up completely, and if you don't want to be juicing nonstop, sparkling water is a nice alternative. It's essentially harmless, even with a little bit of natural flavoring added. Keep in mind, even a spoonful of sugar and a squeezed lemon in a glass of sparkling water is far healthier than a soda. Pro tip: sneak some of this stuff into your next movie to avoid buying a "small" soda bigger than your skull.
5. Cinnamon (Instead of Sugar) This one's a little simpler, and potentially more of an everyday thing. While sparkling water, healthy salads, juice and kale chips all sound fresh and appealing for the spring and summer, finding a sugar substitute can be beneficial all year round. And one thing a lot of people never think of in this regard is cinnamon. This idea was recommended here and certainly makes sense if you're a fan of the spice. It can sweeten things up in a far healthier manner than sugar, from yogurt and dessert to morning coffee.
These are the kinds of changes that can lead a lot of people to a more sustainable health and nutrition effort. You may be shocked at what making even a couple of these swaps can do for you over time. I know I have been.
---This article is written by SmartyPans FitFluencer, Shelly Stinson !