Simple diet swaps for a healthier year

Dr. Marita Schauch

I believe it’s much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle when you make sustainable changes, and the same goes for your diet.

Instead of using a black and white, all-or-nothing approach to health, consider simply substituting a few ingredients for healthier ones. That way, you can still bake, enjoy homemade goods, and use your favourite recipes simply with more nutrient-dense, wholesome options!

Here are my go-to diet swaps for improved digestion, energy and overall health:

Spelt flour vs. regular flour

Spelt flour contains fibre, protein, vitamins, and is more water-soluble than wheat flour, making it easier for your body to digest. Due to the many minerals and vitamins spelt contains, it can help regulate metabolism, increase circulation, boost the immune system, lower blood sugar, and reduce cholesterol.

Coconut sugar vs. white sugar

Coconut sugar is hardly processed, and is created by heating the sap of the coconut flower until most liquid has evaporated. While coconut sugar still has a high calorie count, it has a lower glycemic index than white sugar, meaning it doesn’t make your blood sugar spike as much. While white sugar provides empty calories, coconut sugar contains some minerals like zinc, iron, calcium, and potassium. Try substituting coconut sugar in your baking, and reducing the amount of it altogether.

Nut milk vs. dairy milk

Gone are the days when we drank dairy milk as our source of calcium; research suggests that dairy milk has negative effects on digestion, contains cholesterol and saturated fat, and is often pumped with hormones and antibiotics which can wreak havoc on our system. Keep your digestion happy with nut milk, such as almond, cashew, or coconut.

Almond butter vs. peanut butter

Both almond butter and peanut butter are high in monounsaturated fat, the type of fat linked to a reduction in heart disease and blood sugar control, however almond butter has a higher fat content, is easier to digest, contains fewer calories and has more fibre, iron, magnesium and vitamin E.

Sparkling water vs. pop

Purchase carbonated water instead of sugar-filled pop to satisfy your craving for a fizzy drink, or use a SodaStream to keep carbonated water on hand for a convenient, waste-free option.

Nutritional yeast vs. parmesan cheese

The nutty and cheese-like flavour of nutritional yeast provides a perfect substitute for parmesan cheese. Rich in protein, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6 and B12, this dairy, gluten, sugar and soy-free ingredient is the byproduct of either hops or molasses. Sprinkle on popcorn, salads, stir fries, eggs or pasta, and use it as a staple in a dressing or sauce.

Zucchini noodles vs. spaghetti noodles

For a low-carb staple, consider replacing pasta noodles with zucchini noodles. This is a great option for those who either have an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten. Zucchini helps improve your digestion, lowers high blood pressure, supports healthy circulation,  and improves cardiovascular health. You can purchase a spiralizer to make your ‘zoodles’ at any kitchen or home store.

Riley Webster