Pantry swaps to stay on track & still enjoy the food you - and your family - love!
One of the biggest challenges moms face when they are trying to move to a healthier lifestyle is, swapping out foods their families love with healthier options. However, making pantry swaps is the best way to stay on track with your health goals because if it’s not in the house you can’t eat it!
I always suggest that you begin your healthy eating journey with a kitchen assessment. You need to identify what items need to be banned from your kitchen, which items you can have in moderation and which items can always be stocked in your pantry. You can get my kitchen assessment guide for free to help guide you through the process.
If you want to make swaps for some of the foods you don’t want to have in your kitchen, but aren’t sure what to swap them out for, here are a couple of ideas!
Swap chickpea pasta for regular pasta
Regular pastas are usually made from processed flours and have very little nutritional value. Instead of wasting your macros on high-calorie pastas, swap it out for fiber-packed chickpea pasta.
Don’t worry, chickpea pasta tastes just like regular pasta so your kids won’t turn their noses up at it! If you cover it in their favorite sauces they won’t even know the difference! Plus, because chickpea pasta has more fiber than regular pasta, so you will feel fuller for longer!
If you want to really go for an even bigger swap, try using veggies as a pasta substitute. Spaghetti squash and edamame pasta are great options! I like to mix the two together and the color combo makes it even more fun for my kids!
Swap fruit for candy or chocolate
I know that giving up chocolate is not what you want to do and guess what, I don’t want you to! You can have chocolate when you’re macro tracking, but I suggest eating it in moderation. If you’re constantly grabbing a sweet treat, swap out the chocolate or candy, with fruits instead!
Fruit is high in sugar, but it’s also packed full of vitamins that are essential to your health! Try keeping fresh fruit on hand so that you can grab a sweet treat whenever you need it!
Berries are an especially good choice because they are high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatories on top of fiber!
If you do need a chocolate fix, and who doesn’t every now and then, try dark chocolate, it’s better for you than other processed chocolates. You can also drizzle chocolate over your fruit for an extra treat! Drizzling, rather than dipping, chocolate will help you get the craving out of your mind without overdoing it.
Swap whole food snack bars for granola bars
I know handing your kids a granola bar as you’re running out the door is so, so convenient, but most commercial granola bars aren’t nutritious. They are usually chuck full of processed sugars and empty carbs. Instead of granola bars, hand your kids a bar that is made with whole-grain granola and dried fruit.
Foods made with whole foods are much better for you than any other snack bars. I love RX brand bars because they are made and sweetened with whole foods.
Keep an eye out for protein bars or other bars that have added sugars. Some protein bars are packed with sugar, which you don’t need unless you’re doing a lot of strenuous activity. Even natural sweeteners like honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar should be avoided because you don’t need the added sugars!
Swap natural peanut butter (or almond butter) for regular peanut butter
Most commercial peanut butters are packed with sugar and it is not necessary! You really only need one ingredient in peanut butter: peanuts! If your current brand of peanut butter has more than that, throw it out!
I promise, natural nut butters taste so much better than their sugar filled counterparts! Adams is a great brand for natural peanut butter, but if your grocery store has the option to “make your own” peanut butter, then go for it! Many stores have a machine that grinds the peanuts for you, but if you can’t find one you throw them in a blend tech and make your own! It’s fun for the kids to do at the store and so much better for them to eat!
If you like to add peanut butter to shakes or baked goods, swap out your normal peanut butter with PB fit. It is a powdered peanut butter that has ⅓ the calories of regular peanut butter, so you can enjoy the taste of peanut butter without blowing your macros!
Other nut butters are also great options! You can choose from almond butter, cashew butter, even pistachio butter! Each nut butter has its own set of benefits, so do a little research if you’re interested in trying something new!
Swap nuts or seeds for potato chips
I know that we all enjoy a salty snack every once in a while, but there are so many better options than chips! Most chips are overloaded with sodium and the carb counts are incredibly high. They also are providing very little nutritional value.
Instead of consuming those empty crabs, opt for nuts and seeds. Nuts contain a lot of fiber and healthy fats which will keep you fuller longer than any chips would! Also look for nuts that don’t have any extra salt or sugars added!
Keep in mind that just like chips, you shouldn’t eat a bag of nuts or seeds in a single sitting. Nuts are high in fat so it’s important to have smaller servings! I suggest a thumb-sized serving to keep yourself on track.
Swap almond flour or organic whole wheat flour for all-purpose bleached flour
The last swap I recommend, is getting rid of your all-purpose white bleached flour. We all know by now that bleached flour is stripped of a lot of nutrients and really doesn’t have a place in a healthy diet. Whole grains and whole grain flour, on the other hand, absolutely have a place in a healthy diet!
Whole grains have a ton of nutritional benefits! The high fiber content in whole grains help you feel fuller longer. They also can promote good gut health by promoting the growth of Bifidobacteria, Lactobacilli and Bacteroidetes.
If you want a flour that has a very low carb count, switch out your normal flour with nut flours, such as almond flour! Almond flour also has a lower glycemic index than white flour, so it keeps your energy levels more stable because it releases sugar into your body at a slower, more even, rate.
Making a couple of swaps in your pantry is a great way to get started on your health goals. Small steps are the best way to make big process! If you need help getting to the next step or if you want more great food swaps, book a free discovery call with me. We can chat and get you on the road to reaching your goals!