7 healthy food alternatives

It’s a new year and many are eager to start their diet on the right foot, maybe lose a few pounds, eat better and make smarter food choices in general. Here is a list of great healthy food alternatives to your regular choices that will help you keep your New Year’s resolution. They are low in fat and calories but high in taste!

Do you love chocolate milk but are not fond of the stomach ache and gas you get afterward? There’s a new healthy option available and it’s not soy! As a lactose intolerant woman, i usually drink soy and rice milk, but my last option is great, especially in the chocolate and almond milk! It tastes so clean you’d swear you were drinking the real thing! You’ll want to look in the case of your healthy/organic groceries or dairy products. They also offer the off the shelf brand, but the refrigerated kind is best. This delicious treat is from the makers of the nutty, Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze. Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, it’s only 120 calories and has less fat than soy, so drink it up!

Do your kids love grilled cheese sandwiches but avoid them because of the lactose? One great option for cheese slices is the “veggie slices” located in the vegetable section of the dairy tray and/or produce area. They offer flavors like cheddar, mozzarella, American, jalapeno, smoked provolone, and the best thing is, they’re low in calories, cholesterol free, and contain 0 grams of trans fat! The Veggie Slices brand also offers regular cubes of “cheese” as well as shredded and all are great, I swear they were dairy!

Avocado is a super tasty food, and when you want to whip up some guacamole or just put a few slices on your salad, it’s great to know there’s a lower-fat option. A large avocado branded “SlimCado” lets you eat this amazing fruit (that’s right, if you didn’t know that, an avocado is actually a fruit!) without piling on the calories. It’s still the same flesh as a regular avocado but has a slightly higher water content, so it’s best used in guacamole. It’s about 3 times its normal size and can go a little long way.

Canned fruits and vegetables, if you’re not careful with your selection, can contain loads of syrup, sugar and salt! This is not great if you are looking to make healthy choices. You do have options though! Fresh food is always best if you can get it and if you have it on hand, the next best option is frozen as it has been shown to have all the nutrients fresh, and last will be canned. With the economy driving grocery prices to a record high in the past few years, more people are turning to packaged goods. Look at the label and make sure it does not contain added salt or sugar. When looking at the ingredients, you’ll want to avoid anything with syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or added sweeteners. These add unwanted sodium and calories that aren’t necessary. If you can’t get any without these ingredients, be sure to drain the juices and wash the contents thoroughly before using.

Are your cookies weak? Like many, cookies are a favorite and comfort food. After all, most are loaded with butter, margarine or some type of hydrogenated oil, loads of sugar and often white flour. There are many new organic and non-organic healthy options that include whole grains, less sugar and healthy oils used. One great treat that I adore is the Kashi TLC cookie. It’s chewy but adds some crunch and one cookie is enough for me, so one square can go a long way. Flavor options are happy trail mix, oatmeal, dark chocolate and oatmeal raisin. These powerful stations provide low sugar, seven whole grains, 0 g cholesterol, 3 g fiber, and only 130 calories per large cookie!

If you enjoy popsicles and soda as a fun fruity treat, here’s a super easy recipe for making some at home to avoid paying a premium for the healthy, packaged options at the grocery store. I really love Edy’s fruit bars and they are a great, sweet treat option! However, with their prices skyrocketing lately, I refuse to pay their now $4 price tag, so I make my own. I have Tupperware mini cups with lids (about -1 full cup in size) Use whatever fruit you have on hand or buy some fresh or frozen. My favorite is the mango blueberry. I put frozen blueberries and purchased 100% pure frozen mango pulp into my food processor. Give it a few pulses until it becomes very smooth and then pour it into the cups to freeze. This is great for kids! No added sugar, no fat, just 100% fruit and delicious! You can try bananas, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis and blackberries too! For something tart, add some orange or pineapple juice. No need for popsicle sticks, you can eat it out of the cup with a spoon.

Vegetables and dips can be party staples and can seem healthy until they are topped with dips that are usually high in fat, high in salt and usually made with dairy. If you haven’t tried it or are used to buying it at the grocery store, now is the time to make your own hummus! The main ingredient of hummus is chickpeas, also known as chickpea beans. You can buy a packet, drain it, wash it, and put it in a food processor along with a clove of garlic, some pepper, a pinch of sea salt to taste, and some tahini. I just use what I have at home so I usually end up using ground cumin which has a nice flavor too. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and blend until smooth and creamy. Chickpeas are great for spreading on crackers, bread, or dipping vegetables, and anyone can eat them whether they’re vegetarian, vegan, or lactose-intolerant.

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