If your goal is to get healthier, you have to start the process of cleaning out your cabinets and refrigerator. So many people have sugary and salty snacks, canned vegetables or soups, and other packaged things that have a ridiculously long shelf life. Eating foods with long shelf lives doesn’t mean you add years to your life. Finding new healthy alternatives can be a challenge, but they are out there and more prevalent than you think. Here are a few suggestions to make your kitchen a healthier place.
Some people have no self-control when it comes to chips. One second they are opening the bag and five minutes later they are showering the crumbs into their mouths. Chips are filled with sodium (salt), dyes, processed ingredients, artificial flavors, and trans fats. All of these make it hard for your body to function optimally.
Swap With: Dehydrated Root Vegetables or Air-Popped Popcorn. Many stores sell dehydrated root vegetables, which don’t have all the processed ingredients that chips have. You can air-pop organic dried kernels in an air-popper yourself. It is an easy and healthy snack.
Did you know that canola oil increases your risk of heart disease? It causes arterial build-up and can lead to improper kidney and liver function. Additionally, over 90% of canola oil is genetically modified.
Swap With: Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is the good stuff. It is rich in heart-healthy fats and contains lots of antioxidants that are good for fighting inflammation and cholesterol build-up. Unlike canola oil, olive oil is protective against heart disease. Remember that extra virgin olive oil is great for sautéing, but safflower oil may be better if you are cooking at higher temperatures.
Many canned vegetables are laced with BPA, which is an industrial chemical in food or beverage containers. Canned vegetables can be pasteurized, precooked, preserved, and often contain excess sodium and sulfites.
Swap With: Real Vegetables. The average American only consumes about 1/3 of the recommended daily vegetable intake. And canned vegetables don’t count! Try to focus on eating fresh vegetables because these contain the most nutrients. Once you cook the vegetables, the nutrient content goes down a lot.
Instant oatmeal is not real oatmeal. In fact, many of the ones with fruit are not even fruit. They contain so much sugar, corn syrup, trans fats, processed ingredients, and hydrogenated oils. All of these things increase your cholesterol levels, ultimately increasing your risk of stroke or heart attack. There are ingredients that you cannot even pronounce! If you can’t pronounce it, avoid it.
Swap With: Steel Cut Oats. Regular, unflavored steel cut oats are a power food, being a great source for plant-based protein and fiber. Additionally, steel cut oats contain compounds that help reduce blood pressure. They have a low glycemic index, which makes this a great option for diabetics. They can be made the night before to cut back on time and you can add your own 100% real fruit for an added nutritional boost.
Most white rice is devoid of nutrients because it is heavily processed. Since it isn’t a whole grain, a lot of the fiber, vitamins, and nutrients are removed during processing. It isn’t the worst thing for your body, but there are better options.
Swap With: Organic Quinoa. It has twice as much fiber as other grains and it’s not even a grain. A lot of people don’t like quinoa because it is flavorless. The key is to add spices to the water during the cooking process. You can add curry powder, turmeric, pepper, sea salt, oregano, cumin, chili powder, paprika, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, or any other spices. It is rich in iron, magnesium, and is a great plant-based protein source.
Butter or Butter Spreads:
Butter spreads typically contain hydrogenated oils and trans fats, and regular butter contains a lot of fat. Butter also contains saturated fats, which only contribute to weight gain.
Swap With: Coconut Oil. Coconut oil has been trending for a while. It can help support weight loss, boost the metabolism, and it is beneficial for your skin. Try to go for raw, unrefined coconut oil as that is healthier. If you cook with this, cook on medium heat because it cannot withstand high temperatures. It is also a 1 to 1 swap with butter, if you are following a recipe.
Most bottled juices and smoothies have turned good foods into something bad. These drinks are heavily processed and pasteurized to the point where the health benefits get removed. Additionally, these drinks have a high sugar content and are incredibly concentrated. It’s like you might as well be drinking a soda!
Swap With: Homemade Smoothies/Juices. Drinking unheated, pure, natural, and cold pressed juices or smoothies is the way to go in order to heal and nourish your cells. Get some fresh fruit and vegetables, throw it in a blender, add ice, blend it up, and there you have a healthy smoothie. Similarly, put fresh fruits and vegetables in a juicer to make nutritious juices. These will only have the natural sugars from the produce and all of the vitamins & minerals you don’t get from bottled juices.
These soups are loaded with empty calories, processed dairy products, food dyes, corn syrup, sky-high in sodium, and other chemical fillers that harm the body. We are talking about cream of mushroom, cream of broccoli, corn chowder, and clam chowder, among others.
Swap With: Vegetable Broth & Homemade Soup. Vegetable broth is a great base for homemade soups. Quickly sauté your favorite vegetables, add your favorite spices, and let them simmer in the broth. Eating that is much healthier for your heart, and you get a lot of antioxidants and immune boosting nutrients.
Whey Protein Powder:
Finding the right protein powder can be hard. Don’t resort to whey protein powder, though. Whey protein can cause loss of appetite, gout, osteoporosis, kidney damage, fatigue, headaches, or even cramps when taken for extended amounts of time. It also has a lot of calories, sugars, and added fats, which contribute to weight gain.
Swap With: Plant-Based Protein Powders. There are a lot of plant-based protein powders on the market now (and we are not talking about soy). These are easily absorbed by the body, which helps your body use the protein more efficiently. Plant-based protein powders are filled with antioxidants and other vitamins, packed with fiber, and they can also help you achieve your desired results better than whey protein powders. Just remember that some of the biggest animals in the world only eat plants.