Looking for ways to add nutrition to your diet or cut calories for weight loss? These healthy food swaps can help you get there.
Yellow kiwi instead of an orange
While traditional, green kiwis, are high in fiber and rich in potassium and vitamin C, the yellow or SunGold kiwi, a smart food swap, has three times more vitamin C than an orange and a smooth, not fuzzy, skin that you can eat, which provides even more fiber. Yellow kiwis also help you relax because they contain serotonin, your body’s natural “chill pill,” explains Rebecca Scritchfield, RDN, and author of Body Kindness. “At night before bed, it’s better to reach for a kiwi instead of a cookie—it is a light snack that will help you feel calm.” Kiwis are also low in calories—just 90 calories in two kiwis. These are the 10 healthiest fruits for your body.
Monk fruit extract instead of sugar or sweetener
“You don’t have to go to extremes and give up added sugar,” says Scritchfield. “Have ice cream on a summer day and enjoy cake at a birthday party, but if you are worried about eating too much sugar, you can limit your intake by sweetening your beverages or cereal with monk fruit extract instead of the real thing. Cultivated in the mountains of southern China, the small melon produces a juice concentrate that is 20 times sweeter than other juices and its extract can be made into a concentrated powder that is up to 200 times sweeter than sugar with just two calories per teaspoon. “The sweet taste in this fruit comes from antioxidants called mogrosides,” says Ginger Hultin, RDN and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Monk fruit is a natural alternative to sugar and is already being used in products such as Chobani yogurt and in Lakanto chocolate bars. It’s important to keep an eye out for products that use added sweeteners such as dextrose, which has calories, says Hultin, and inulin and sugar alcohols such as erythritol, which can cause stomach upset.
Golden pea milk instead of non-dairy milk
Coconut, almond, soy, and hemp milks are all dairy-free food swaps to the real thing—cow’s milk. While they serve as good alternatives for those who are lactose intolerant, have allergies, or just prefer to avoid dairy, they lack the protein found in cow’s milk, explains Grace Derocha, RD, at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. A new dairy-free alternative, made from golden peas, delivers eight grams of protein per serving, the same as dairy milk. “It tastes like any other milk substitute, but is a little thicker,” says Derocha. “It’s great in smoothies or in cereal and after a workout because it has protein.” Golden pea milk also is free of soy, nuts, and gluten, has less sugar than dairy milk, and is high in DHA omega-3s from algal oil, a vegetarian oil sourced from algae which research has shown to have benefits over krill oil. Here’s everything you need to know about dairy alternatives.