There is nothing like a good burger, hot dog, steak, or slice of cheesy pizza. Even though we know they are bad for our health, we indulge in these foods because they are tasty and satisfy our brain’s pleasure center—we rarely consider such consequences as obesity and heart disease.
What if we said there was a way you could swap your fat foods for fit ones without completely sacrificing the taste? What if we said that by making the swap you could improve your health? Would you make the switch? After viewing the “swap” list we’ve put together, we think you will.
Swapping Fat Foods for Fit Foods
A diet high in saturated and trans fats does more than increase your chance of becoming obese, it clogs your arteries and boosts your risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It also worsens diabetes and may encourage the onset of diabetes-related complications.
Here’s what you should swap and how you can swap it:
Because dairy is high in saturated fat, most dietitians recommend you choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt, milk, cheese and sour cream.
- When picking cheeses, you should go for those that are made from non-fat milk like ricotta, mozzarella and cottage cheese
- If you want to sweeten your dairy product, add fresh fruit or dried fruit. This even applies to milk. Try putting a cup of milk and a couple of strawberries into a blender. Whip it up for a glass of strawberry milk.
- Pick non-fat vanilla yogurt over whipped cream
- Choose fat-free or light sour cream and cream cheese
- Use only the white of an egg. Egg whites contain no fat or cholesterol, and are a good source of protein
Beef, lamb and pork are high in heart-clogging saturated fat and trans fat. Nutritionists suggest that if you eat these proteins, choose round and loin cuts and limit yourself to no more than three servings per week.
- Bake, broil, boil, roast or poach chicken, turkey, pheasant, fish and other seafood/lean meats. Also, be sure to drain and do away with fat that drains out of meat as you cook.
- If you want to remove meat from a few of your meals each week, alternatives are beans, peas, tofu and lentils. Tofu, in particular, is tasteless on its own but takes on any flavor your give it. If you have a beef base or beef bouillon cube, you can sauté vegetables and a package tofu. Add the base to the skillet with a little bit of water.
- Substitute fatty meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats for the turkey or chicken variety
- Other meat alternatives are soy and seitan meat, a wheat gluten product that contains protein but little to no fat. If you’re worried about flavor, many of the meatless alternatives on the market today, from soy grounds to vegan sausages, burger patties and riblets, are big on taste – and low on fat.
Processed snacks and fried foods
Processed snacks, such as chips, cakes, pies, pastries, doughnuts, croissants and cookies, are filled with saturated fats. Fried foods, on the other hand, are full of trans fat, which has more heart-clogging qualities than saturated fats alone.
- For a sweet snack, have a piece of fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt
- Whole-grain crackers, air-popped popcorn (no butter) or raw veggies are also good alternatives
- Instead of potato chips, try baked chips or rice cakes
- If you must have sweets, bake your own. You’ll avoid some of those trans fats and can replace some of the fatty ingredients. Try an eggless cake or cookie, and incorporate applesauce, low-fat peanut butter, pumpkin, oatmeal, raisins and dried fruit to get a punch of sweetness. Use seeds to inject fiber into your treats. You can substitute sugar for Splenda or another sugar alternative. Natural sugar alternatives include Stevia and Truvia.
With a little bit of dedication, you can easily replace many of the fatty foods in your diet. And with a little bit of imagination and research, you can find recipes online that contain these and other heart-healthy alternatives we’ve mentioned. Have some fun with it. Take on the challenge with a friend or family member, and see who can make the most swaps but still crank out amazing dishes.