By Alyssa Boddicker
First we brought you the ultimate guide to healthy baking swaps, then we gave you all the healthy options you need for a guilt-free main course, now we present to you the newest addition to the Healthy Food Swaps Guide – snacks, desserts, and drinks.
Peanut Butter: Containing more vitamins and minerals than peanut butter, almond butter is a great healthy alternative to everyone’s favorite spread. Available for purchase at health food stores and now more and more large grocery stores, almond butter provides the same benefits of protein and dietary fiber as peanut butter, but also has the added benefits of Vitamin E (a big antioxidant) as well as twice the amount of magnesium and iron. We love a bit of almond butter on apple slices for a refreshing and healthy snack.
Chips: Chips have been a part of our diets since we could chew, but after years of fish and chips settling at the bottom of our stomachs, it’s time for a healthy change. Fend off the hard starches of potatoes with healthy carrots, cooked to perfection to what people are calling ‘carrot fries‘. Carrot fries offer the crunch and texture of a classic chip, but with a crisp, healthy taste. To cook these beauties, simply chop carrots into your desired shape, toss the carrots with a bit of oil (coconut, olive, whichever you wish) salt, pepper, and any other seasoning, cook at 200 C for 15 minutes, flip, then cook another 15 minutes on the other side for a delicious snack. Full of fiber and vitamins but with a taste like sweet potatoes, carrot fries are the best healthy chip swap we could you ask for.
Pick a Mix: We all love returning to our childhood excitement when we get to pick out a variety of sweets from a pick a mix, but unfortunately our childhood metabolisms haven’t followed us as we age. For this purpose, we need a healthy alternative. Just as colorful but much more healthy, dried fruit helps with the sweet tooth without hurting your diet. You can choose to put together your fave fruits on their own, or go the trail mix route and mix in some high protein nuts like almonds for a great on-the-go pick me up.
Ice Cream: Love a cool cup of ice cream but hate the calories that come along with it? We have your solution, and it’s called “nice cream“. The ice cold treat created out of frozen bananas has gained a massive cult following with the likes of model Karlie Kloss as one of it’s spokespeople. Delicious and nutritious, nice cream will be your summer fave in no time. To make this dessert, freeze ripe bananas with the skin off overnight. The next day, blend those 2 large bananas, 1 cup of an unsweetened milk alternative, and two spoonfuls of almond butter/peanut butter. From their you can add toppings to taste such as fresh fruit or nuts, how nice!
Chocolate: A quite simple swap, switching from milk to dark chocolate, is a really simple way to make a healthy change in your life. Not only does dark chocolate contain high amounts of nutrients like fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, and copper, but is also full of antioxidants. Other perks of switching to dark chocolate are the added skin protection (yes skin protection!) from the bioactive components, the lower risk of cardiovascular disease from the cocoa itself, and that it may improve blood pressure with it’s flavanols (which motivates your arteries to work a little harder). As with any treat however, to keep it’s healthy benefits one must consume dark chocolate in moderation.
Whipped Cream: Is it just us, or has just about everyone had a “squeeze whipped cream straight from the can into your mouth” experience in their lives? Clearly this action makes us realize one thing, this cannot be healthy. If you are still craving that whipped creaminess to add on top of a hot chocolate or dessert, a healthier alternative with everyone’s favorite swap ingredient is here, whipped coconut cream. To make this delicious topper, refrigerate 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk overnight, and if you want the best results, refrigerate the mixing bowl and beaters for a few hours as well. After the milk has cooled, place the contents of the can into the mixing bowl and beat with an electronic mixer on medium speed at the start, then high speeds until the cream form stiff peaks (7-8 minutes). Then, add in 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar, and one teaspoon of vanilla extract to taste, then mix for another minute. Finally, top away without the guilt!
Coffee/Tea: Want you coffee or tea milky and sweet but don’t want all the fat and sugars to go with it? Swap out your regular milk for a bit of almond milk that contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, as well was half the calories of whole milk. As for sweetening your tea, don’t for for the mega unhealthy artificial sweeteners, instead go for a natural alternative. We recommend coconut sugar, a natural sugar made from coconut sap. Although it has the same amount of calories as table sugar, coconut sugar maintains nutrients iron, zinc, calcium, and inulin, which is what brings coconut sugar lower on the glycemic index. So feel free to have your cuppa, and drink it too with these healthy drink swaps.
Looking for even more food swapping ideas? Check out our past article for easy healthy swaps with foods such as matcha lattes, cold press juices, and low calorie popcorn here.