Do you think that swapping out your junk food snacks for healthier options is just too hard?
Or that the natural alternatives to white flour and refined sugar will make your baked goodies not taste so good?
Well, I’m here to say think again and give it a try!
Now I’m not going to tell you that any of the healthy alternatives taste exactly the same, either. Of course they don’t; but I think that all of the healthier versions of snacks and treats that I make and eat taste better than the commercially made versions.
And the reason is pretty simple – when I bake or make raw treats, I use natural, whole ingredients. No chemicals or additives and nothing that has been over processed. It’s food the way it’s meant to be, the way that our bodies get the most nourishment and the way food used to be before the big companies made everything about profit and shelf life.
Yes, it does take a little while for your taste buds to adjust to more subtle flavours when you’ve been assaulting them non-stop with tons of sugar and artificial flavours. But if you change things slowly over time, you’ll eventually be able to taste the difference between food made with real ingredients and foods that contain lots of additives and artificial ingredients.
And once you get used to the feeling of properly satisfying your body’s needs with real food, you’ll most likely find that you won’t want to eat rubbish very often, either. Also, when you eat well most of the time, the odd indulgence of your favourite junk food won’t hurt and it really will be a special treat if you only have it occasionally.
1. Water or tea instead of soft drink/soda
We’ll start with probably the most obvious one. If you don’t like plain water, add fruit, veggies or even fresh herbs. You can also add fruit to green tea and chill it for a delicious iced tea. If you have a Soda Stream, make your own fizzy water.
2. Whole fruit instead of fruit juice
Fruit juice is mostly concentrated sugar; whole fruit does contain natural sugars, (good for you) along with fibre to help your body process the sugar properly.
3. Banana ‘nice cream’ instead of ice cream
There are tons of recipes out there for yummy frozen fruit desserts. If you haven’t tried any yet, click here for my banana mango ice cream – you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything!
4. Home made snacks instead of commercial bars
It does take planning and preparation to make your own snacks, but it is well worth the effort. I have a few different recipes for both baked and raw treats – have a look around my blog after you’ve finished reading this list – and there are loads out there on the internet. One of my favourite go-to websites is wholefoodsimply.com Bianca has a huge variety of snack and treat recipes and healthy versions of just about everything you can think of!
5. Butter or avocado instead of margarine
If you don’t know by now that butter is good for you and margarine isn’t and avocado is a healthy fat, then you must have been hiding under a rock!
7. Natural nut butters instead of the commercial varieties
Buy natural or make your own, the others are full of nasties that you don’t need.
8. Oats or home made muesli instead of commercial cereals
Packaged cereals are high in sugar and really not much goodness, despite the claims on the pack.
10. Zoodles instead of pasta
Make your own veggie noodles from zucchini, carrot, sweet potato, beetroot (or whatever you like) to sub in pasta dishes. You won’t taste any difference and you get an extra vegetable hit, so it’s win-win!
11. Cauliflower instead of rice or potatoes
I don’t have a problem with rice or potatoes as part of a balanced diet, but sometimes it’s nice to have an alternative; you can easily use grated cauliflower in fried rice. Or why not try mashing sweet potato or cauliflower with garlic or herbs for a change from regular mashed potato.
12. Almond meal/coconut flour/spelt flour/buckwheat instead of white flour
There are lots of alternatives to white flour, depending on what you are cooking or baking. If you’re not sure, just pick one that you’re confident you’ll like the taste of and start experimenting!
13. Plain yoghurt and fresh fruit instead of flavoured/low fat yoghurt
Full fat plain or Greek yoghurt is best – add some fresh fruit and a handful of nuts or home made muesli for a delish snack or quick breakfast.
14. Sourdough/Rye/Sprouted grain breads/Wraps instead of white bread
Once you get the taste for real bread, you’ll realise how far from real that white bread actually is!
15. Raw local honey/Rice Malt Syrup/Stevia instead of refined sugar
It’s best not to add sugar whenever you can, as there is sugar added to just about everything that you buy. When you’re cooking and baking though, these are great alternatives to white sugar that you can use that still taste good. Cinnamon and vanilla are also great to add to porridge, desserts and even coffee.
I don’t have a problem with cow’s milk and I do like it in my coffee and tea, however I do now prefer to use coconut milk in my porridge and for baking. A lot of people have dairy allergies and intolerances these days, so nut milks are a great alternative. Just make sure that if you’re buying them commercially that you read the label, as a lot of them, especially the long life cartons, have additives and preservatives.
17. Dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate
So I made sure to save the best til last, haha! Dark chocolate can be good for you, as opposed to milk chocolate, which just isn’t. I used to be a big milk chocolate fan, but after I discovered the benefits of dark chocolate, I thought that I would have a go at switching. I now regularly make my own raw chocolate, get the recipe here. My advice is to change over gradually though, as it’s way too much of a shock for your taste buds to go from very sweet milk chocolate to your own home made divine raw chocolate!
I hope you get some ideas and inspiration from this list. Let me know what your favourite healthy swap is and if you’ve got one that you think I should include next time. I’ve put the top 7 swaps on this handy cheat sheet for you to download FREE!