Watch your waist line whittle with our top swaps for your formerly fave foods.
Give up: French fries. Seriously, just don’t go there.
Go for: Baked sweet potato fries. Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, potassium and as much beta-carotene per serving as carrots, sweet potatoes sliced up and sprinkled with olive oil (one that can withstand a mid to high heat so it doesn’t turn rancid), Himalayan sea salt and pepper make a soul-satisfying, weight-loss-friendly treat that even the kids will love to eat.
Give up: Pasta. Uh, the carbs, the instant bloat, the soporific effect post-chow—need we say more?
Go for: Spaghetti squash. This low-carb alternative has less than 25 percent of the calories and carbs of regular pasta (even whole wheat!). The vegetable really shines in the nutrients category, delivering niacin, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, fiber and vitamin C, while mimicking the dense texture of its grain-based alternative.
Give up: Milk chocolate. The milk has been shown to interfere with the absorption of the naturally occurring antioxidants and, thus, negates the well-touted benefits listed below.
Go for: Dark chocolate. From lowering blood pressure to fighting heart disease to keeping skin looking youthful, dark chocolate is emerging as the sweet treat to beat. Oozing with antioxidants that counteract free radicals, aka the culprit for everything from wrinkles to cancer, this decadent indulgence just might be a panacea for all that ails when it’s eaten in moderation, that is.
Give up: Brown rice. Okay, don’t give it up. Brown rice is very healthy and a much better choice than white rice but if you really want to optimize your nutrition, nothing beats quinoa.
Go for: Quinoa. Is it a grain or is it a protein? Well, it’s both. Quinoa has enough lysine, one of the nine essential amino acids that you must get from your diet because your body can not produce it on its own, to be considered a complete protein (complete meaning that it also supplies al of the essential amino acids). Plus, quinoa packs fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.
Give up: Regular yogurt. This once-lauded-as-a-health-food-staple is too high in sugar, fat, sodium and host of other belly busters.
Go for: Non-fat, plain Greek yogurt. Thick and creamy (it’s strained to remove most of the liquid whey, lactose and sugar) and packed with gut-friendly probiotics, Greek yogurt offers double the amount of protein with approximately half the carbs of its conventional counterpart.
Give up: Peanut butter. The all-American classic is just too high in a dangerous mold. Peanuts are susceptible to the fungi Aspergillus, which produces aflatoxins, a carcinogen, that can inflame the liver and cause cancer. No thanks.
Go for: Almond butter. Though this tasty alternative has roughly the same calorie, fat, protein, carb and fiber content as it’s more famous counterpart, it wins in the calcium, iron and vitamin E departments and steers nutty eaters clear of the hidden toxins detailed above.