You’ve heard it before: eating a whole-foods plant-based diet is a great way to boost your health. Not only is it linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and other serious chronic illnesses — it also boosts your energy and metabolism. But even though eating this way can change your life and health, it can be hard to get started. If you’re not ready to take the 100% plant-based plunge, we’ve got a few healthy food swaps you can make to test the waters.
Switch cereal for oatmeal
The truth is most breakfast cereals are loaded with added sugar and refined grains, which spike your blood sugars and insulin levels. Short-term, you experience a blood sugar crash after eating. The crash leaves you feeling sluggish and hungry again soon after, often causing you to overeat at the next meal or snack. Long-term, it increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Oatmeal is made from unprocessed whole oats and takes the body longer to digest. With your blood sugars and energy stable, you feel full longer. And, steel cut oats are packed with fiber so they’re a tasty way to regulate digestion. For a balanced breakfast, pair steel cut oats with healthy fats and protein (we like nut butters!).
No time to prepare breakfast in the morning? Try this overnight oats recipe.
Replace fruit juice with fresh fruit
An apple a day really does keep the doctor away. Apple juice, however, is a different story. Studies show eating your recommended daily servings of fruit reduces the risk of diabetes significantly, while sipping your fruit increases risk. Why? Well, fruit juice is often stripped of the fruit’s natural fiber. That fiber is not only essential for healthy digestion, it also keeps your blood sugar in check by slowing the absorption of the fruit’s sugar.
So next time you reach for that morning OJ, try a fruit salad instead.
Use avocado over mayo
Switch things up by adding avocados to your lunch instead of mayonnaise. California’s magic fruit still adds moisture and fat to your dish without the heaviness of mayo.
Containing monosaturated fats, AKA “the good fat,” avocados are a heart-healthy alternative, both sodium and cholesterol-free. They’re also filled with nutrients—fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid, to name a few.
This quick avocado “mayo” recipe makes the perfect condiment to your favorite sandwich.
Munch on nuts over pretzels
The afternoon slump is real and the only way to persevere is coffee and a snack. It’s science.
OK, well maybe that’s not actually science but this is: pretzels are nutritionally empty. They don’t contain healthy fat, protein, or fiber — making it so very easy to scarf down an entire bag and still feel hungry.
Next time you hit the 2pm wall, refuel with a handful of unsalted, raw nuts. They’re sodium-free and packed with protein and healthy fats to re-energize you and leave you feeling satisfied.