Simple Swaps for Healthier Eating
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Simple Swaps for Healthier Eating

Posted on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015 at 7:00 am
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Don't blow your diet over a plate of Christmas cookies! There are simple swaps that are healthier and satisfying.One of the ways people celebrate the holiday season is with food. Suddenly, there are seasonal pastries, beverages, and goodies that aren’t sold at any other time of year. The plethora of tasty treats can make it difficult for people to refrain from overindulging. Fortunately, there are some simple swaps that could help you eat a bit healthier anyway.

Healthy Holiday Snacks

Christmas cookies are tempting because they taste good and also because they bring up nostalgic, warm and fuzzy, feelings about one’s childhood. While some can eat one cookie and be satisfied, others have difficulty stopping themselves after having just one.

The most obvious way to stick with healthy eating in this situation would be to avoid bringing home Christmas cookies, (or other holiday pastries). Swap the sugar filled holiday cookies with a package of organic whole grain fig bars. You can still eat something sweet and cookie-like with this healthier swap.

Craving a salty, crunchy, snack? Many people open a bag of potato chips and eat more than they expected to. Instead, swap out the potato chips and choose a somewhat salty snack that is healthier (and just as crunchy). Some healthier choices include: popcorn that has been air popped, packaged low-salt, low fat popcorn, or seasoned rice crackers. Nuts and seeds are a good swap too, because the protein in them can help make you feel less hungry.

Does your family eat a lot of rice? While there isn’t anything inherently unhealthy about white rice, there is a healthier rice to swap it for. Brown rice has three times as much fiber as white rice does. Brown rice is also high in other good things for your body, such as selenium and manganese.

Rice might not be something everyone considers to be a holiday treat. However, swapping white rice for brown rice could give you “room” to indulge in a small cookie or holiday candy without completely ruining your diet or calorie count.

What about all those lovely holiday beverages that are only sold at this time of year? When you order your holiday coffee swap out the dairy milk with 2% or low-fat milk. Or, consider having it with soy – or without anything extra added to it.

It might be possible to get the flavor you crave from a holiday tea instead of a sugar laden latte. For example, Starbucks has a lovely gingerbread tea that makes a nice swap for the sugary gingerbread latte coffee beverage. If all else fails, choose a smaller sized drink than you typically would ask for. Less beverage means at least a little bit less calories.

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Good Tip: Saving money is important – especially if you have a lot of expenses like bills to pay, loans to pay off, and all the other things that drain your bank account. Figuring out a way to save money can feel tedious to some, and like a punishment to others. U.S. News suggests that you try one of these money saving challenges. The “No Eating Out for a Month” Challenge This one is self-explanatory. The goal is to avoid eating out for an entire month. This might be super easy for people who enjoy making meals at home. People who really enjoy dining out, or ordering food to be sent to their home, may struggle with this one. It’s worth a try because spending money on take-out is more expensive than buying groceries. The Pantry Challenge This one is a variation of the “No Eating Out for a Month” challenge. The goal is to use up all of your groceries before you buy more. It forces you to try and remember why you bought a food or beverage that you don’t know what to do with, and gives you the opportunity to find a way to use it. The one exemption to this challenge is the foods that have expired. Don’t eat them! Throw them in the trash. The “No Spend” Challenge Make a goal to avoid spending money during an entire weekend. The only exemption in this challenge is that you are allowed to pay bills. This challenge is interesting because it requires creativity. You must be creative and find workarounds for problems that you would typically solve by spending money. You may have a different outlook on spending after finishing this challenge.