Home » Recipes » Diabetic Friendly, Diabetic Resources, Healthy, Try Something New! » 10 Simple Swaps for Healthier Eating

10 Simple Swaps for Healthier Eating

Healthier Eating

Smart substitutions for healthier eating and smarter choices that will make you feel better, look better and lose weight.


Try: Quinoa

Why is it better? Quinoa is a complete protein based grain, so it contains all the amino acids necessary for our nutritional needs.  It is super high in iron and calcium, as well as a good source of magnesium, copper, and fiber.  White rice is a carbohydrate based grain.  It may have slightly less calories per serving than quinoa, but it’s irrelevant since the gluten and carbs in the rice turn into sugar after we consume it, which can eventually turn to unwanted fat.  Quinoa on the other hand, processes through our body efficiently, providing fuel as a clean protein.  This make quinoa the better choice every time!


Try: Pita Bread

Why is it better?  Technically, there’s really no bread that’s “good” for you…and ideally, if you’re going to eat bread it should be sprouted grain or spelt bread since neither are processed and they offer the most amount of vitamins & nutrients.  However, sprouted and spelt bread can be pricing and difficult to find (especially if you’re eating out).  So next time you’re having a sandwich, consider opting for pita bread instead of sliced white bread.  Pita bread has less calories than white bread and is very low in fat, it also contains a bit of iron and calcium.  That’s a heck of a lot more than we can say about white bread, which offers almost no nutritional benefits!


Try: Mashed Cauliflower

Why is it better?  Cauliflower over potatoes is a much better choice any day, for obvious reasons.  Cauliflower is packed with essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, K, B6, potassium, fiber, foliate…the list goes on!  On top of the multiple health benefits, mashed cauliflower has a fraction of the amount calories as a cup of mashed potatoes…a win all around!


Try: Corn Tortillas

Why is it better?

One corn tortilla contains only 40 calories and .5 grams of fat, while one flour tortilla contains 110 calories and 2.5 grams of fat, that’s reason enough for me!  Not to mention the fact that flour tortillas contain loads of sodium while corn has very little…I’ll take the corn, please =)


Try: Greek Yogurt

Why it’s better?

Non fat Greek yogurt tastes amazing, and the consistency is the same as sour cream, so it makes for an amazing calorie saving swap out.  One cup of non-fat Greek yogurt contains about 130 calories and is fat free, while one cup of sour cream contains upwards of 450 calories with 45 grams of fat, now that’s a big difference!


Try: Fruit Flavored Water
Why it’s better?
Most of us now know that fruit juices (even though they are made from “fruit” and are loaded with healthy claims) are not actually good for you.  Fruit juices are packed with sugar and syrups that cause our bodies to create and store unwanted fat.  Yes, even that orange juice you have every morning!  Swap out the juice for water with fresh fruit and save hundreds of sugar packed calories daily!
Try: Guacamole
mayo substitute
Why it’s better?
Having a sandwich?  Consider this first: two tablespoons of mayo contains 115 calories, loads of saturated fat and over 200 mg of sodium, while 1/4 of a whole avocado contains only 80 calories and is packed with health benefits (so many that some consider it a “super food”).  Avocado is a great source of protein, fiber, calcium and most of all, potassium!
Try: Sweet Potato Fries [baked]
Why it’s better?
French fries are bad for obvious reasons, the contain loads of saturated fat and carbs that do nothing but harm to your body.  Their yummy orange counterpart however, now that’s another story!  Next time you’re craving fries, have baked sweet potato “fries” instead, you’ll save tons of calories, as well as add great vitamins and nutrients your body needs (like vitamin A, C, protein and fiber)!
Try: Fresh Diced Tomato
Why it’s better?
Tomato sauce from a jar may seem like a healthy choice, tomatoes right? Not.  Tomato sauces often contain large amounts of added sugar (among lots of other unknown ingredients), which we certainly don’t need when we are trying to maintain a healthy diet.  Opt for fresh diced tomatoes instead, now you’ll know exactly what you’re putting in your body, and you certainly won’t be consuming unnecessary sugars that do nothing but encourage your body to create and store fats!
Try: Wheat Pasta
Why it’s better?
Although the calorie content is about the same here (some versions of wheat pasta contain a bit less in the calorie department), consuming regular pasta provides almost no nutritional value. Opting for wheat pasta instead of white can deliver up to 7 grams of fiber, and 8 grams of protein, while regular pasta just can’t compete.  This means that you body will receive more of the nutrients it needs to function and burn better!
Source:  Jordan at Picklee  has lots of fresh, innovative ideas for creating beautiful things & saving money.


Here is a fabulous list of smart swaps from Woman’s Day


Instead of Cinnamon raisin bagel
TRY 2 mini–cinnamon raisin bagels
Why Trading volume for quantity makes you feel like you’re eating more, so you’ll never even notice that you’ve nixed 181 calories.

Instead of Nonfat strawberry yogurt
TRY Nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced fresh strawberries
Why Creamy Greek-style yogurt has nearly twice the protein of traditional yogurt; fresh berries add antioxidants.

Instead of Breakfast quesadilla with eggs, black beans, cheddar and bacon
TRY Egg, cheese and bacon on an English muffin
Why You’ll zap 290 calories and 17 fat grams.

Instead of 4 French toast sticks
TRY 2 whole-grain waffles
Why Choosing the light, airy waffles will save you 202 calories and add fiber.

Instead of Apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal
TRY Steel-cut oats with 1⁄4 cup fresh chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon
Why You’ll still get that apple-cinnamon taste, but you’ll feel full longer—less-processed oats take longer to digest.

Instead of Cottage cheese (1% fat) with sliced bananas
TRY Part-skim ricotta cheese with sliced bananas
Why You’ll get two and a half times more calcium.

Instead of English muffin with 1 Tbsp lowfat cream cheese
TRY Whole-wheat English muffin with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter
Why Yes, you’ll gain a few calories and some fat, but the fat is the “good” kind and you’ll eat less in the long run. The combo of complex carbs and a little healthy fat keeps your blood sugar on an even keel so you’ll stay fuller longer.

Instead of Corn flake cereal
TRY Bran flake cereal with raisins
Why Just 1 cup provides you with about a quarter of the fiber you need in a day. (Corn flake cereal, on the other hand, has hardly any.)


Instead of Smoked turkey and Cheddar on a baguette
TRY Natural sliced turkey with roasted peppers on a whole-wheat baguette
Why You’ll banish cancer-causing compounds found in smoked foods and add protective antioxidants.

Instead of Chicken salad sandwich made with regular mayo
TRY Tuna salad sandwich made with canola oil mayonnaise
Why You’ll get a double dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.

Instead of Grilled veggie burrito
TRY Chicken burrito bowl
Why You’ll lose 160 calories and 26 grams of fat—and add 4 grams of fiber.

Instead of Cheese calzone
TRY Slice of stuffed-crust pizza
Why The pizza has 410 fewer calories and 12 fewer grams of fat.

Instead of Corned beef sandwich
TRY Ham sandwich
Why You’ll eat 55 percent less fat.

Instead of Crispy chicken wrap
TRY Kid-sized hamburger
Why You’ll save 90 calories and 8 grams of fat.

Instead of Grilled chicken sandwich with mayo on white bread
TRY Grilled chicken sandwich with avocado on whole-wheat bread
Why Avocado has tons of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, plus cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. Whole-wheat bread adds fiber and 30 percent more protein than white bread.

Instead of Falafel pita
TRY Pita with hummus
Why The fried falafel has 203 more calories and 11 more grams of fat than the hummus.


Instead of Vegetable soup
TRY Split pea soup
Why You’ll get 10 grams of protein. That’s more than what’s in a glass of milk or an egg.

Instead of Buffalo wings with ranch or blue cheese dressing
TRY Shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce
Why You’ll lose the bad fats (in the dressing and chicken skin) and gain inflammation-fighting omega-3s.

Instead of Panfried pork dumplings
TRY A cup of wonton soup
Why You’ll trim 257 calories and 22 grams of fat.

Instead of Shrimp tempura appetizer (3 shrimp)
TRY Tuna sashimi (4 pieces)
Why You’ll get more heart-healthy omega-3s while also saving 11 grams of fat and 58 calories.

Instead of Half a cheese quesadilla
TRY A bowl of chicken tortilla soup
Why The soup has 60 percent less fat and calories than the quesadilla. Bonus: Its high water content will fill you up so you’ll eat less later.

Instead of Bread and butter
TRY Baguette dipped in olive oil and vinegar
Why Vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which has been shown to make you feel fuller after a meal by stabilizing blood sugar. And the olive oil’s better for your heart than that artery-clogging butter.


Instead of Chicken cutlets sautéed in corn oil with a side of roasted potatoes
TRY Chicken cutlets sautéed in canola oil with roasted cauliflower
Why Canola oil provides more omega-3s than most other cooking oils, and cauliflower is loaded with phytochemicals that protect against carcinogens.

Instead of Steak fajitas with flour tortillas
TRY Shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas
Why You’ll save 400 calories and 22 fat grams, and trade saturated fat for heart-smart omega-3s.

Instead of Meat lasagna
TRY Cheese ravioli
Why Compared with the lasagna, the ravioli is downright skinny—it has roughly half as much total and saturated fat.

Instead of Hot dog with a small serving of fries
TRY Veggie burger with 1⁄2 cup vegetarian baked beans
Why You’ll cut 22 fat grams and gain 7 grams of fiber.

Instead of Spaghetti with broccoli, garlic and olive oil
TRY Udon noodles with broccoli, garlic and sesame oil
Why A bowl of udon noodles (Japanese noodles made from whole wheat) has 40 percent more fiber.

Instead of Meat loaf made from 85 percent lean ground beef
TRY Meat loaf made with white-meat ground turkey
Why In addition to trimming 100 calories, you’ll save a whopping 13 grams of fat per slice.

Instead of Sichuan beef
TRY Moo shu pork
Why You’ll lose 300 calories and gain 20 grams of fiber.

Instead of Chicken stir-fry
TRY Tandoori chicken
Why The tandoori has turmeric, an antioxidant spice in curry powder that may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.


Instead of Rice
TRY Baked potato
Why That spud has nearly three times the fiber you’d get in a cup of cooked rice. You’ll also get 20 percent of your daily dose of potassium, which helps control blood pressure.

Instead of Spinach
TRY Broccoli
Why The calcium in broccoli—it has as much as 1⁄4 cup of milk—is much more easily absorbed than the calcium in spinach.

Instead of French fries
TRY Potato salad
Why Cooking and then cooling potatoes causes them to form resistant starch, which is a special kind of carb that helps you burn more fat. Make it even healthier by tossing your potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard instead of mayo.

Instead of Couscous
TRY Quinoa
Why When it comes to protein, quinoa is the granddaddy of grains, with more than 8 grams per cooked cup. Drizzle with 1 tsp lemon- or garlic-infused olive oil for added flavor and healthy fat.

Instead of Tossed salad with iceberg lettuce
Try Spinach salad
Why Spinach is a top source of zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that keep your eyes healthy by preventing macular degeneration.

Instead of Small order of nachos
TRY 1 cup chili with 1 Tbsp lowfat shredded Cheddar cheese and 10 tortilla chips
Why You’ll still get a cheesy, crunchy dish, but for at least 300 calories and 20 fat grams less. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, too.

Sweets, Snacks, & Munchies

Instead of Chocolate glazed doughnut
TRY French cruller
Why You’ll save 190 calories.

Instead of Hummus and pita wedges
TRY Hummus with red pepper slices
Why Red peppers are rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant that may help prevent lung cancer.

Instead of Cheese and crackers
TRY Cheese and an apple
Why Apples contain quercetin, a phytochemical that may help keep cancer cells from multiplying.

Instead of Potato chips
TRY Blue corn tortilla chips
Why More protein and fiber, less fat and calories.

Instead of 1⁄2 cup chocolate ice cream
TRY 1⁄2 cup fat-free chocolate pudding
Why Lose 7 grams of fat.

Instead of 1 oz cashews
TRY 1 oz almonds
Why You’ll gain 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.


Instead of Apple juice
TRY Phytosterol-fortified orange juice
Why The phytosterols may lower LDL cholesterol.

Instead of Hot chocolate
TRY Chocolate instant breakfast drink
Why You’ll get half your daily dose of calcium.

Instead of Diet soda
TRY Coffee
Why Coffee’s a top source of antioxidants.

Instead of Flavored water
TRY 4 oz grape juice mixed with 4 oz seltzer
Why Grape juice has resveratrol, which may keep your heart healthy.

Instead of Tomato juice
TRY Calcium-enriched vegetable juice
Why It has as much calcium as a glass of milk.

Instead of Strawberry shake
TRY Strawberry smoothie
Why Fresh strawberries have plant chemicals that fight off free radicals.

Instead of 12 oz skim cappuccino
TRY 12 oz skim latte
Why The latte has 15 percent more calcium.