Now that the pandemic is over – or at least there are lesser restrictions – people are making big plans for the summer. From cruises to cottages to that coveted pool party – you don’t want to miss out on all the fun.
It’s time to get back in shape to show off that summer bod that the pandemic has hidden. If you are looking to fix your diet to get your summer body back, here are five healthy alternatives to common foods to help you do so.
And before we delve deeper, let’s look at why we need to consider healthier alternatives.
Why You Need Healthier Alternatives
As we get older, our metabolism slows down, making it harder for us to maintain the ideal body weight and keep fit and trim. So, whether you want to lose the pandemic weight or maintain your healthy weight, now is the time to get your diet back on track.
We all know the basics of a good diet: sticking to a plant-rich diet with whole foods, minimally processed lean proteins, and no-sugar-added foods. These are the fundamental pillars of a balanced and healthy diet. Bonus points if you can prepare all your meals from raw fresh ingredients.
However, we all live quite hectic lives. So, conveniences are important when it comes to what we consume. This is why you will need alternatives to some of your staple foods and condiments.
#1 Mayonnaise Alternatives
If you just can’t seem to avoid adding mayo to your egg salads, cold pasta salads, potato salads, or sandwiches, this one is for you.
As much as we love our mayo on everything, even the lowest calorie mayonnaise can pack in 50 calories per tablespoon and nearly 4 grams of fat. The worst culprit probably is the hidden sugars in mayonnaise. There is nothing wrong with fats – as long as they are good healthy fats that benefit us.
Unfortunately, your standard store-bought mayonnaise will have mass-produced oils that don’t add much to your diet than the calories and fat percentage.
We recommend you consider healthy alternatives for mayo if you are looking to cut down on empty calories and still feel full for longer.
From greek yogurts, hummus, olive oil, and tahini, there are several options to replace mayonnaise with ingredients full of antioxidants, vitamins, and phytonutrients. You will be amazed at how easy it is to replace this staple food in your diet.
#2 Zucchini Noodles Instead of Pasta!
Keto is all the rage in the health and fitness industry these days. The basic idea is to eliminate as many carbohydrates as possible from your diet. This will eventually bring your body into a state of ketosis, where your liver will convert stored fats in your body into ketones to create the energy that your body will need for its functions.
This process of ketosis will melt away your visceral, subcutaneous, skeletal, and abdominal fats, giving you a much leaner and younger appearance – perfect for that pool party!
So, how do you eliminate carbs without giving up your favorite foods? This is where a spiralizer and zucchini will come to your rescue.
Try making zucchini noodles for your next pasta dish instead of using regular pasta.
It is delicious and satiating and will give you that “al-dente” pasta texture in every bite.
If spiralizing zucchini has you worried, fret not. You can even buy fresh zucchini noodles right in your produce aisle to make this switch easily!
#3 Avocados Instead of Cheese
So, who does not love that creamy cheesy goodness! And there is nothing wrong with the occasional indulgence in a charcuterie board (or two).
But if you are still using thin-sliced processed cheese in your sandwiches or burgers, then you may need to tweak that habit a bit.
Try switching out those cheese slices with avocado slices instead. Go a little fancy and try it out on a toasted slice of artisanal hard-crust bread with some cherry tomatoes and basil and a sriracha sauce.
A spicy prawn and avocado sandwich makes a healthy and tasty breakfast. You can thank the millennials for making this avocado toast a popular breakfast!
#4 “Air Fries” Instead of Deep-Fried Traditional Fries!
Who doesn’t have a craving for some good old French fries once in a while? In some households, fries have become the defacto staple instead of the baked potato.
If your household falls under the fries-addict category, then this one is for you.
While the modern western diet got hooked on fries, our staple food, potatoes, started to get the blame for the bloated bellies.
Well, it isn’t necessarily the potato’s fault, though. Potatoes can be a very nutritious, healthy plant-based carbohydrate with a substantial amount of potassium, fiber, and even some protein.
On its own, potatoes can be a vegetable that can help you lose weight by keeping you satiated for longer. This is likely why some points-based weight-loss programs allow you to eat potatoes (without frying) quite generously.
Next time you crave fries, try air-frying your French fries instead. It is pure magic. All you will need is a fry cutter you can get from any of your houseware stores to cut up the fries. Then you rinse the fries, dry them, season them with salt and pepper, drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil, and let them fry in your air fryer for about 30 minutes, and voila! You will have an amazing low-oil alternative to your favorite fries.
The best part is that the air fryer’s technology to cook foods makes the fries come out crispy and crunchy and every bit as satiating as deep-fried fries. Consuming air-fried versions of foods can reduce your calorie consumption by 70-80%, making it a perfect healthy alternative to get your diet on track. Give it a try, and let us know what you think of them!
#5 Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
Rice is growing in popularity and consumption worldwide – thanks to the popularity of Asian, Indian, and Latin American cuisines and the western diet adopting these foods in droves.
Rice is a very nutritious high-fiber carbohydrate that can actually aid in weight loss if consumed properly. Our food production will be more sustainable as we replace animal-based foods with plant-based foods.
While keto diets are one way to go, going plant-based is another way to get back in shape. Find some healthy alternatives to some of the carb staples before you replace all the carbs from your plate.
The reason why rice can be problematic is its glycemic index. Carbs with a high glycemic index can quickly be digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, causing your blood glucose level to increase. Glucose is what fuels bodily functions.
When the available glucose in the bloodstream goes above the level required for the body’s energy, the liver will process the glucose into fats to be stored in the body for later use. This is how bodyweight gradually goes up.
This is how excessive consumption of carbs (like white rice) can lead to weight gain.
Consider replacing white rice with brown rice as a healthy alternative to get your diet back on track. Brown rice retains most of the grain’s fiber layers. This makes brown rice lower in glycemic index, which slows down the absorption of the glucose that is released from the grain into the body.
Whole grains low in glycemic index are perfect healthy alternatives to simple carbohydrates to get your diet back on track.
While the ideal diets like the Mediterranean diet, keto diet, or plant-based-whole-foods diet are great for weight loss, they are not always the most practical to follow.
This is why we will need to rely on some convenient, healthy alternatives to our favorite staple foods to help us maintain a balanced nutritious diet. Try out these alternatives and watch those pandemic pounds melt away and you will be on your way to that coveted summer pool party in your swimwear.