7 Healthy Food Alternatives

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It’s a new year, and many people are eager to get their diets off the right foot, potentially losing a few pounds, eating better, and generally making smarter food choices. Here’s a great list of healthy food alternatives to your usual choices to help keep your New Year’s resolutions alive. They’re lower in fat and calories, but high in flavor!

Love chocolate milk but not too fond of stomachaches and gas? There’s a new healthy option available, and it’s not soy! As a lactose intolerant woman, I usually drink soy and rice milk, but my latest options are amazing, especially the chocolate and almond milk! It tastes so pure, you’ll swear you’re drinking the real thing! You need to look at the healthy/organic or dairy box at the grocery store. They also offer shelving brands, but the refrigerated ones are best. This delicious treat comes from nut maker Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze. Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, it’s only 120 calories and even lower in fat than a sweet treat, so drink it up!

Do your kids love grilled cheese sandwiches but avoid them due to lactose? A great alternative to cheese slices are the “veggie slices” found in the dairy cabinet and/or in the vegetarian section of the produce section. They offer flavors like Cheddar, Mozzarella, American, Jalapeno, Smoked Provolone, and best of all, they’re low in calories, cholesterol free, and have 0 grams of trans fat! The Veggie Slices brand also offers regular block “cheese” and shredded “cheese” that are so good you’d swear they’re dairy!

Avocados are a delicacy, and when you want to make some guacamole or just throw a few slices on a salad, it’s good to know there’s a low-fat option. A large avocado branded “SlimCado” allows you to eat this wonderful fruit (yes, if you didn’t know, an avocado is actually a fruit!) without adding calories. It’s still as fleshy as a regular avocado, but has a slightly higher moisture content, making it best for guacamole. They’re about 3 times the size of regular size, and a little goes a long way.

Canned fruits and vegetables can contain a lot of syrup, sugar and salt if you are not careful in your selection! Not great if you want to make healthier choices. You do have options though! Fresh is always best if you can get it and it’s affordable, followed by frozen as it’s proven to have all the nutrients of fresh, and lastly canned. As the economy has pushed grocery prices to record highs over the past few years, more people are turning to canned goods. Check the label to make sure there is no added salt or sugar. When looking at ingredients, you want to avoid anything that contains molasses, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose or added sweeteners. These add unwanted sodium and calories. If you can’t get anything without these ingredients, be sure to drain the juice and wash the contents before using.

Is your weakness cookies? Like many, cookies are a popular treat and comfort food. After all, most contain butter, margarine, or some type of hydrogenated oil, lots of sugar, and white flour. There are many new organic and non-organic healthy options, including whole grains, less sugar and healthier oils. A great one I like is the Kashi TLC cookie. They are chewy but with a little crunch, one cookie is enough for me so a box lasts a long time. Flavor choices are Happy Blend, Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, and Oatmeal Raisin Flax. These energy bars are low in sugar, seven whole grains, 0 grams of cholesterol, 3 grams of fiber, and only 130 calories per large cookie!

If you love popsicles and sorbets as a fun fruit treat, here’s a super easy recipe that you can make at home to avoid buying packaged health foods at the grocery store. I really like Edy’s fruit bars, they are a great, cool option! However, with their recent price hike, I refuse to pay their current $4 price tag, so I make my own. I have small Tupperware cups with lids (about ¾-1 whole cup size) Use whatever fruit you have or buy some fresh or frozen. My favorite is the blueberry mango. I put frozen blueberries and store bought 100% pure frozen mango pulp in my food processor. Pulse it a few times until really smooth, then pour into glasses and freeze. This is great for kids! No added sugar, no added fat, just 100% fruit, and it’s delicious! You can also try bananas, strawberries, raspberries, kiwi, blackberries! For something tangy, add some orange or pineapple juice. No popsicle sticks needed, just eat it out of the cup with a spoon.

Vegetables and dips can be party staples, and they look healthy until they’re coated with dips that are often high in fat, salt and often made from dairy. If you haven’t tried it or you’re used to buying it from the grocery store, now’s the time to make your own hummus! The main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, also known as chickpeas. You can buy a jar, drain, wash, and pop them into your food processor along with a clove of garlic, some pepper, a pinch of sea salt, and some tahini. I just use what I have at home, so I usually end up with ground cumin which also tastes great. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and beat until smooth and creamy looking. Hummus is great spread on crackers, bread, or dipped in veggies, and anyone can eat it, whether you’re vegan, vegan, or lactose intolerant.

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