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10 Nutritional Swaps

It can be pretty daunting to look at the numbers on the scale or a blood pressure gauge and think about the time, effort, and new mindset required to move the needle. So why not begin by making some bite-sized changes instead?

Start with something simple, like trying baked goods, pastas, and snacks made with whole grains—whole wheat flour, brown rice, quinoa, barley, and oats—in place of highly processed breads and junk food, says Linda Bunyard, a dietitian with the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center.

“Research is beginning to show a consistent relationship between refined grains and obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease,” Bunyard says. “A small shift away from white flour– based products to whole grain products isn’t all that hard to do and could make a difference in the long run.” Here, Bunyard offers some other painless and flavorful food swaps to kick-start healthier habits.

1 / Nut milk and stevia in coffee

Instead of dairy cream and sugar. They taste great and are better for you.

2 / Unsweetened beverages

Instead of diet sodas. Squeeze a lemon, orange, or lime into plain or sparkling water.

3 / Feel comfortable

Instead of feeling stuffed. Halve your typical serving. How do you feel 30 minutes later? Eat the other half only if you are still noticeably hungry.

4 / Fat-free Greek yogurt

Instead of mayo. It’s higher in protein and much lower in saturated fat.

5 / Creative seasoning

Instead of instant mix packets. Try garlic, marjoram, and thyme to season grilled chicken.

6 / Eat your fruit

Instead of drinking it. Juicing removes valuable fiber.

7 / Flavored balsamic vinegar

Instead of salad dressings. Two tablespoons add just 20 calories—most salad dressings have 100 calories or more.

8 / Nutritional yeast

Instead of salt. Packed with vitamins and minerals, nutritional yeast can replace salt on popcorn or avocado toast.

9 / Salad bars

Instead of fast foods. Dark greens, colorful veggies, and proteins like tuna or grilled chicken are packed with nutrients, not regret.

10 / Vegetable oil

Instead of coconut oil. Stick with small amounts of canola or olive oil.

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