Friday, January 6, 2012

12 Nutrition Swaps for 2012

1. Breadcrumbs to Seeds                                                                                           How to: Opt for sesame seeds, chopped pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds instead of breadcrumbs to coat chicken and fish.                                                                 HealthyPayoff: Get the crunch you crave but with more healthy fat, fiber and protein.

2. Brown Rice to Cauliflower                                                                                      How to: Pulse fresh cauliflower in a food processor until it resembles rice. Steam or sauté it and enjoy it how you would use brown rice.                                                                         Healthy Payoff: Yes brown rice is healthy, but cauliflower rice has only 30 calories per half-cup vs. brown rice's 110 calories. Plus the cauliflower version has 50 percent more fiber.                                                                                                                   

3. Spaghetti Noodles to Zucchini Ribbons                                                                   How to: Using a vegetable peeler or spiralizer (available online for about $30), make zucchini resemble spaghetti strands.                                                                                     Healthy Payoff: A cup of zucchini pasta has one-sixth the calories of cooked whole grain pasta (28 versus 174 calories per cup) and meets half your day's vitamin C requirement.

Personal note: Spaghetti squash works nicely here.    

4. Romaine to Kale                                                                                                                                    How to: Chop kale into small one to two inch pieces and massage in a healthy salad dressing (using your hands). The chopping and hand massage tenderize the raw kale and make it a great salad base.                                                                                                              Healthy Payoff: Kale provides more vitamin A, C, E, K and iron than romaine. 

5. Chicken to Beans                                                                                                        How to: For every one ounce of chicken in a recipe, swap in 1/4 cup of canned beans that have been rinsed and drained (this removes 40 percent of the sodium).                                   Healthy Payoff: Beans provide more fiber and folate (B vitamin), and three times more iron. 

6. Lasagne Noodles to Eggplant Slices                                                                                         How to: With a knife or mandolin, slice eggplant lengthwise into 1/4" slices to resemble lasagna noodles. Use in place of some or all of the noodles in your favorite recipe.                       Healthy Payoff: Each noodle swap saves you about 50 calories (16 calories per eggplant slice vs 64 calories per noodle). Plus you get more heart healthy potassium and three grams more fiber with the eggplant version.

7. Pretzels to Nuts                                                                                                                               How to: Keep one-ounce portioned bags of your favorite nuts in your purse, briefcase, office drawer and glove compartment. What's one ounce?? Answer: 23 almonds, 14 walnut halves, 19 pecan halves, 49 pistachios, 18 cashews or 28 peanuts.                                              Healthy Payoff: Get a crunchy, savory snack with more protein, healthy fat and fiber.

8. Whole Grain Bread to Sprouted Whole Grain Bread                                                  How to: Usually you'll find sprouted bread (and English muffins) in the frozen section of the grocery store. Most grocers have it, so ask if you can't find it.                                       Healthy Payoff: Your body can absorb more minerals such as iron and zinc from sprouted breads. Plus sprouted varieties may be easier to digest and cause less bloat.

9. Whipped Topping to 2% Greek Yogurt                                                                                          How to: With a fork, stir Greek yogurt until creamy. Use a dollop on French toast, mixed berries or pie in place of whipped topping. Note: The 2 percent yogurt variety is worth the extra calories for a creamier texture and less acidic taste than fat-free versions. Plus milk fat contains "CLA" -- a healthy compound that may promote fat burning and muscle building for exercisers.                 Healthy Payoff: These are about the same number of calories, but the yogurt has three times more protein, about 30 times more calcium and also contains good bacteria to promote healthy digestion and immunity. 

10. Oil to Nut Seed Butter (for salad dressing)                                                                 How to: Instead of oil, use natural peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter or tahini (sesame seed paste) as the base of your salad dressings. Note: Below is a quick recipe for lemon-tahini dressing.                                                          
Healthy Payoff: A dressing using nuts and seed butters contains healthy fats (just like an oil-based dressing), but you'll get extra fiber and minerals such as copper, calcium, magnesium and iron.

Lemon-Tahini Dressing (makes about 1 cup)

10 tablespoons water

5 tablespoons tahini

4 tablespoons lemon juice

One-half tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 teaspoon honey

1 clove garlic, minced

Sea salt and pepper, to taste (about one-half teaspoon each)

11.High Fiber Cold Cereal to Oatmeal                                                                                             How to: Instead of pouring a bowl of cold cereal, make half a cup of rolled oats with one cup of water (or your favorite milk) in the microwave for two to three minutes. Or consider making a big batch of steel-cut oats in the crockpot & freeze it in individual portions.                              Healthy Payoff: Even though the healthy cold cereal you eat may be high in fiber, it is "dry" and contains only 2 percent water whereas a bowl of oatmeal is a whopping 84 percent water. What does this mean? More water = more fullness and appetite control through the morning and even into the afternoon. 

12. Butter to Avocado                                                                                                                      How to: When you are baking, substitute some or all of the butter with pureed avocado. It may tint your baked goods a subtle green color, but it won't impact the flavor. Note: Start out swapping only 1/3 of the butter and increase gradually until over time you find the perfect swap amount for your recipe.                                               
Healthy Payoff: One tablespoon of avocado puree has 75 percent fewer calories than butter (23 vs. 100 calories) and contains healthier fat, fiber, folate (B vitamin), vitamin K, vitamin C and potassium. 

Author: Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD,CSSD,LDN

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