Around this time of year, people start making their new year resolutions. Many of us will decide that this year we will finally go on that diet and keep the pounds off.
We’d like to offer some suggestions for food swaps or introductions that may help. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Sardines. Much cheaper than salmon. Additionally, due to their small size and diet consisting of plankton, sardines do not accumulate heavy metals in their bodies like the big fish do. There is also no fear of stock depletion any time soon. Sardines are a nutrition powerhouse: rich in omega-3 fatty acids, high in vitamin D and B12, and a great source of protein. Bonus: lots of calcium from their edible bones. The one caveat – high sodium content. So watch out.
2. Nuts (instead of salted nut mixes). Buy them in the bulk section. unsalted. mix them up. Place in a ziplock bag and keep in your backpack, purse, office drawer, glove compartment, and anywhere you may get the munchies.
3. Home made granola. It takes no more than 5 minutes preparation and 60 minutes in the oven to make your own batch. You’ll never go back to store brought. Promise.
4. Legumes. If you’re looking for a more plant based diet, legumes are an important source of protein. Whether beans, lentils, or peas, there are endless recipes and serving variations.
5. Hummus Dip (instead of mayo). It’s a healthy dip because it is full of heart healthy fats, high in protein and very satisfying. The beans also contain nice amounts of fiber. But it can also be a healthy spread to use instead of mayonaise. By the way, hummus is a type of legume.
6. Berries. Fresh or frozen, berries are rich in antioxidants, sweet and tasty.
7. Plain yogurt (instead of flavored). Yogurt has become all the rage in diet circles, and Greek Yogurt even more so recently. If you’ve moved up to yogurt, take the next step and buy it plain. You’ll save yourself half the amount of sugar. Additionally, you’ll avoid all sorts of unnecessary ingredients used to suspend and preserve the fruit inside the yogurt.
8. Unsweetened tea. Americans are drinking too much sweet. Even if you’re off the soda bandwagon, iced tea can contain just as much sugar. In Japan, unsweetened tea brands such as Ito-En are sold at every train station and supermarket. Ito-En is now available in the US, as is Sokenbicha (by none other than the Coca Cola company).
9. Flavored Water. For some people, water gets too boring. You can add a slice of lemon, or cucumber, or lemongrass, or other herbs, and instantly you’ve upgraded your drink. Too lazy to do this on your own? Companies such as Ayala’s Herbal Water offer a wide variety of flavored waters with 0 added sugar.