4 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier!

4 Simple Food Substitutes to Help You Eat Healthier … from Morning to Night

So you want to eat healthier, but you find it difficult and time-consuming with your busy lifestyle to prepare healthy foods…. and the thought of a “diet” is overwhelming?  Great news! There are several easy, great-tasting food substitutions that you can make to help live a healthier lifestyle. (Notice the word here is lifestyle, not “diet”). Changing even a few of your habits can save calories and provide better nutritional ingredients… while also saving you time!

Here are a just a few of my favorite food substitutions to cover you from morning to night:

 1.  Make Your Own Flavored Oatmeal

Do you often opt for pre-packaged flavored oatmeal as a quick breakfast for you or the kids?

Healthier Eating Infographic

Even though these are simple and convenient, they are usually loaded with added sugar and sodium. Instead, try making your own “overnight oats”. This offers a fantastic, healthier way to have breakfast all ready for those busy mornings.

How to: Purchase steel cut or whole oats. Then, I recommend putting together: ¼ cup of steel cut oats, ¼ cup of almond milk, ¼ cup of unsweetened applesauce, ¼ cup of Greek yogurt or Siggi’s vanilla yogurt, and a teaspoon of cinnamon.

Shake altogether, then refrigerate overnight. All the ingredients soak and absorb together, and can be eaten as is from the refrigerator. Or, it can be warmed up in the microwave for 30 seconds/1 minute. It’s an amazing combo of flavor and satisfies other nutritional needs, too.

Click Here for other healthy overnight oats options as well.

2. Substitute Rice Cakes for Bread

Always pack a sandwich for lunch? There’s an easy way to lighten that carb load. Try rice cakes instead of bread! Unsalted cakes are your best option. Not only is a sandwich made with rice cakes less calories and carbs, but it won’t bog you down or limit your options.

Peanut butter sandwich? Put that PB on rice cakes. Craving an Italian sub? Put some (nitrate-free) lunch meat and avocado spread on rice cakes.

In the mood for pizza? Lay on some marinara and mozzarella. Click here to learn more about the rice cakes trend.

3. Switch to Natural Peanut Butter or PB2

Love peanut butter? That’s fantastic news because it’s delicious, versatile, and can be a considerable source of protein. However, most peanut butter sold in grocery stores is laden with trans fats and excess sugar.

Make the easy switch to peanut butter labeled as “natural” or to the product PB2, which is a powdered peanut butter that can also be found in most grocery stores right in the peanut butter section.

PB2 has less sugar and fat and is even more versatile than regular peanut butter (think cooking, smoothies, etc.). Measure out and mix with water, and you’ve cut the calories of peanut butter in half.

Click here to understand the health benefits of powdered peanut butter.

4. Eat Yogurt for Your Evening “Dessert”

Need a sweet fix at night? Our registered dietitian recommends eating dairy at night as a snack. So, choose yogurt instead of cookies or ice cream. Keep in mind that “fruit on the bottom” yogurt is laden with sugar, so better choices would be Dannon Light & Fit vanilla, or Click here for ideas and brands to look out for to nail down this substitute, guilt-free.

There are SO many other ways that you can make simple substitutions for every snack or meal throughout the day, for you AND your family. If you would like some additional advice on these handy switches or additional healthy recipe ideas, please contact me in UAC Member Services or the Nutrition & Wellness Center.

My email address is [email protected], and I’d be happy to help!

Get Your Leafy Greens On!

Easy Ways to Eat More Greens!

If you are a veggie lover, read on. If vegetables are NOT your favorite, well then you should read on too!

Leafy greens for nutrition, health and weight loss

Whether you love or hate them, greens are a must when it comes to our health. Leafy greens have many benefits to boast, and there are countless numbers of ways they can be eaten. If you struggle to get your greens in, the ideas below might be a game changer for you.  Including more leafy greens in your diet, may even make your brain younger!

Leafy Greens 101

So what constitutes a leafy green anyway? Examples of these green bunches of goodness include:

  • Salad Greens – leaf lettuce, Romaine, spinach, mesclun, arugula, watercress, iceberg
  • Cooking Greens – Swiss chard, kale, collards, mustard greens, turnip greens

Benefits of Leafy Greens

Greens have many health benefits. The darker the green, the richer the nutrient value. Benefits include hearty amount of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as high doses of antioxidants – touting them as one of the best cancer-preventing foods. According to the USDA, vitamin K in dark leafy greens helps protect bones from osteoporosis and prevent inflammatory diseases in the body. Additionally, adding greens to your diet increases fiber intake, which helps to keep the GI tract healthy. Including more leafy greens in your diet, will benefit you in many ways, but did you know they may even help prevent dementia and cancer!  Salad anyone?

Ways to Eat Leafy Greens

Spring is finally here, and it’s probably safe to say that all of us will be thinking about sunshine and the great outdoors. For some that may mean outdoor farmers’ markets and at-home gardening. What better to plant or buy fresh at market than fresh, crisp greens? Keep reading to find simple ways to add greens to each meal of the day.

Breakfast Ideas

  • Fold greens into your eggs
  • Blend greens into your favorite smoothie

Lunch Ideas

  • Dice greens up and toss into your tacos or burrito
  • Stir greens into the broth of your favorite soup
  • Use greens as a wrap or ‘bread’

Dinner Ideas

  • Sauté greens into your pasta sauce
  • Toss greens into pasta as it finishes cooking

The benefits of leafy greens are numerous, and the ways to incorporate them into your day are endless. So get out there and get your greens on!


Recipes to boost greens!

Apple Kale Smoothie
Yields: 1 smoothie

Ingredients:
¾ cup kale, chopped with thick stems removed
1 small celery stalk, chopped
½ banana
1 small green apple, cored
¾ cup milk of choice
½ cup ice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.


Napa Wraps
Yields: 6 servings

Sauce:
¼ cup brown sugar                                 12 Napa cabbage leaves                         3 Tbsp. cilantro, minced
½ cup low-sodium soy sauce                  1 cup red bell pepper, sliced                  3 Tbsp. basil, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced                           1 Tbsp. ginger, minced                           1 ½ Tbsp. lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced                             3 oz. dry cellophane noodles, prepared
1 ½ lb. cleaned and cooked shrimp
Directions:

  1. In a small dish, mix the 3 sauce ingredients and set aside.
  2. Lay Napa cabbage leaves in a large shallow dish. Add enough boiling water to cover leaves, and allow to soften/steam. Remove and pat dry with clean towel.
  3. In a small skillet, on medium-high heat, sauté peppers, ginger, garlic, cilantro, basil and lime juice. Cook until peppers are soft. Remove from heat.
  4. To assemble wraps, place cabbage leaves on flat surface, top with 1/6 of vegetable mixture, 1/6 of noodles, and 3-4 shrimp. Fold leaves into the center and dip into sauce. Enjoy!

 

For more recipes like these, visit the Nutrition and Wellness Center at UAC or our Facebook page.