We’re back with another edition of Healthy Food Swaps! In this article, we’re focusing on simple ways to make healthier versions of your favorite “quick and easy meals” and snacks. As summer comes to an end and fall rapidly approaches, schedules tend to get a bit more crazy. From back-to-school chaos to adjusting to new routines and schedules, it’s easy to rely on meals that don’t take a lot of time or effort to make. Here are some healthy food swaps that will make your daily living a little easier (and healthier!)
Mac & Cheese → Turkey Broccoli Mac & Cheese
Mac & cheese is a classic “easy dinner” dish. In fact, you can make a delicious version with just a few ingredients: milk, cheese, butter, and noodles. This gives you plenty of vitamins and minerals and avoids the processed junk at the same time. Take it a step further by adding in browned turkey and chopped veggies, like cauliflower or broccoli. Your family won’t even realize they’re eating healthier once everything is coated in creamy, cheesy goodness.
Takeout Stir Fry → Homemade Stir Fry
Takeout is almost always loaded with crazy amounts of grease and fat. Making your own lets you avoid the unhealthy stuff and is actually quite simple. Fry some chopped veggies and chicken in a skillet with a bit of olive oil and seasoning, then toss with cooked noodles or rice. Opt for cauliflower rice instead for a more carb-friendly alternative. This is also a great dish to make when you have a bunch of leftover or random ingredients in the fridge.
Chicken Pita → Chicken Pita Salad
There are far better ways to eat this tasty dish without needing the extra carbs from the pita. Instead, put all of your ingredients into a bowl. You can even use cut-up frozen chicken tenders if you don’t have the time (or energy) to cook chicken breast yourself. They may not be as healthy, but the rest of the dish more than makes up for it. Load up the spinach, cherry tomatoes, onion, corn, whatever veggies you have. You can even swap in plain Greek yogurt for sour cream too.
Burritos → Burrito bowl
Like chicken pitas, this dish can avoid a bunch of unnecessary carbs by using a bowl rather than the flour tortilla. This allows the flavors from the other ingredients to really shine through. Get creative with your protein and veggie combos. Steak or chicken with cherry tomatoes, guacamole, spinach, black beans, corn- the sky is the limit. Bonus: this also works with tacos and burritos too!
Potato Chips → Avocado Oil Chips
Chips are one of the most common snack foods people reach for. Unfortunately, it’s way too easy to finish the entire bag without even realizing it. Try potato chips that are cooked in avocado oil instead of the traditional greasy option. There are plenty of selections that only use 3 ingredients and still have tons of flavor too! If you’re still craving a crunch, try some carrots with hummus or even frozen grapes. These are great to grab and go, or snack on when you don’t feel like making anything time-consuming.
Candy Bar → Apple Slices & Protein Nut Butter
Candy bars are everywhere you look. Gas stations, convenient stores, inside school vending machines. They’re convenient and can curb a sweet tooth. Luckily, there is a healthier option that meets both of those requirements—protein nut butter. Protein nut butter is an excellent alternative to sugary sweets. They come in a variety of flavors, like chocolate-covered pretzels or cookies & cream, and are packed with protein. Spread your favorite on top of apple slices or celery sticks. You’ll be surprised at how easy you can conquer your sweet tooth with something so good for you.
Fast Food Sandwich → Deli Roll-Ups
Grabbing a sandwich through the drive-thru is extremely convenient. It’s not surprising that it isn’t the healthiest choice you can make, however. Save money (and calories) and make some deli roll-ups at home instead. Layer deli meat, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cream cheese. Roll them up and stick with a toothpick. You can even drizzle on your favorite balsamic or vinaigrette dressing too.
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