MAJOR KEY ALERT: Out with the old, in with the HEALTHY
From NOT, to a simple (and delicious) SWAP. Whoever said you couldn’t have your cake and eat it too didn’t try hard enough, because I’ll let you in on a secret – DIETITIANS LOVE CAKE! Too good to be true? Keep on reading… With each of these “swaps” you are set up to slay unnecessary fat and sugar plus gain fiber, protein, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, without any #foodcrazy (you know – that guilty voice that prattles on about how you don’t DESERVE to eat)…
The allure of nutrition fads, gimmicks, and trends is remarkable. Even I, a registered dietitian with a Master’s degree, years of clinical experience in an academic hospital, and published research have fallen prey at times (hence: the four-hundred-dollar liver “cleanse” pack I purchased from a holistic doctor rotting under my bed). As the dietitian, I stand for science. I stand for what I call “Earth Foods,” (foods with minimal processing that come from the earth or a living creature on Earth) which embody the science of nutrition.
I’ve had countless exasperating, misguided clients who simply do not understand that nutrition is, at its core, a science. Mine usually sit across from me in my office and earnestly “admit” that they eat “too much” fruit and attribute mango intake to their weight gain. This is laughable. Fruit, or any Earth Food, is not to be vilified! It’s poor food preparation, poor food planning, portion distortion, emotional/psychosocial factors, and poor food choices over time that create negative weight outcomes. Some of my clients balk at eating a single date because there is just “so much” sugar but will guzzle Diet Coke, a known metabolic disruptor, by the gallon. They’ll reject my promise that you can eat an entire avocado every single day and that you don’t have to measure out blueberries, but will imbibe “Alien Foods” – foods that are NOT from this planet, and avoid the big picture – changing your nutrition LANDSCAPE.
SO: Here’s my list of DROPS and SWAPS, dietitian-style. Because being healthy is about balance, not going BALLISTIC about veganism or Paleo or alkaline diets or your arm fat.
- DROP the white pasta and SWAP it for ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles) or spaghetti squash. For the ‘zoodles’ buy a $10 spiralizer (available on Amazon) and get to spiralizing (also works with yellow squash, carrots, cucumbers.. you get the gist). For the spaghetti squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds, rub with olive oil, salt & pepper, and bake for 35-45 mins in a 400°F oven. Once tender scrape a fork along the inside and see spaghetti appear in front of your eyes!
- DROP the ice cream and SWAP is for “nice-cream”. This can be in the form of frozen bananas blended with cacao powder or PB2 peanut butter powder, or frozen strawberries blended with some plain yogurt!
- DROP the white flour and SWAP it for almond, coconut, oat or buckwheat flour. These flours can be used in replacement of white flour in a ton of recipes.
- DROP ground beef and SWAP it for beans. Whether it be navy beans, chickpeas, kidney beans or lentils, they can ALL be used in chilis, pasta sauces (perfect with your ‘zoodles’!) and soups!
- DROP the mayo and SWAP it out for hummus. Adding hummus to wraps, sandwiches, or even just as a dipping sauce is an easy way to add the perfect combination of fiber, fat and protein to your diet.
- DROP the cream cheese on your morning (Ezekiel) toast, and SWAP it for unsweetened nut butter or ½ an avocado. Not enticing enough? Top the nut butters with sliced banana or berries and cinnamon, and top the avocado with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, feta cheese, an egg or even lox!
- DROP the fruit juice and SWAP it for the WHOLE fruit. I promise you will feel 10x more satisfied after eating an apple (skin and all), than after chugging a glass of apple juice (which FYI is the equivalent of four apples! Who are you, Johnny Appleseed?!)
RECAP: Making these simple and effective swaps in your daily diet will contribute to BIG changes. You’ll feel better, while still never feeling deprived but feeling like you are THRIVING.
Monica Auslander, MS, RD, LD/N
Essence Nutrition, Founder