12 Essential Pantry Swaps For Healthier Meal Prepping
Pantry swaps lists are popular today and we wanted to weigh in on our best ideas for healthful swapping. As you meal prep, I’m sure you also are looking for ingredients that are included in the best recipes and how you can substitute to give yourself extra body benefits.
Here are our best food swap ideas.
You will probably not be surprised by this first one:
Choose: Brown rice over white rice
Brown rice is a whole grain. In general, you want to look for whole grains, that is not a big shock. The reason for that is that whole grains have higher amounts of nutrients that benefit the nervous system and heart. The antioxidants in the tiny grain help to reduce inflammation and the harm caused by free radicals. The fiber helps brown rice to be more filling while at the same time allows for intestinal regularity. Finally, white rice has a higher glycemic index that turns it into glucose much faster than brown rice. It then helps with keeping your blood sugar regulated. Nutritious, helping with weight loss, and keeping blood sugar where it needs to be. All win-win!
Choose: Chickpea pasta over white pasta
Have you heard of pasta made of chickpeas? It tastes like regular pasta, but the taste is where all the similarities end. This plant-based pasta has at least three times as much fiber than your old pasta. Because of that, you are adding to the success of your weight loss efforts by swapping out and keeping yourself feeling full so you don’t need to eat as much to have that same satisfying fullness.
Choose: Olive oil over canola oil
Where you can, for cooking and dressings, swap out olive oil for canola. Olive oil is the healthier oil. The benefits are legion. High in these big three: omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and polyphenols, olive oil can help with cognitive function while boosting your immune system. It promotes good heart health and helps your body produce Adiponectin which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. If you have problems with inflammatory diseases such as osteoporosis or arthritis, you will appreciate the anti-inflammatory properties that olive oil contains. Just keep in mind that olive oil will retain a stronger olive flavor so that when you are baking, you may want to use a different kind of oil. In that case, might we suggest coconut oil?
Choose: Ghee over Butter
Ghee is actually a byproduct of butter. When butter is heated, it is then possible to separate the desirable fat from the milk solids. The milk solids and the liquid can be taken away leaving ghee, which is full of short and medium-chain fatty acids. Long-chain fatty acids are associated with heart disease. The length of the chains metabolizes differently in our bodies. With all the milk solids removed, ghee is free of lactose and casein which many people can be sensitive to and can lead to bloating and abdominal pain. It has a higher smoke point than butter so it can be heated higher which makes it easier for cooking. It also has a nutty taste which boasts a richer flavor than butter. Yum!
Choose: Almond flour over white flour
Almond flour is a great replacement for white flour in that it is high in healthy fats and fiber and low in carbs. White flour made from wheat is the opposite. Continuing to use white flour in your baking and cooking will lead to blood sugar spikes and cause you to become more tired and craving foods that are higher in sugar and calories. Almond flour is lower on the glycemic index and releases sugar slowly into your blood keeping you at a more leveled energy rate. Plus it is also higher in the necessary nutrient magnesium.
Choose: Nuts over croutons
What are croutons but toasted, salted bits of bread high in carbohydrates? If it’s crunch and flavor you want, opt for nuts instead. Nuts are packed with fiber and healthy fats that your body needs. Almonds have a long shelf life and taste great when toasted in a dry skillet for a few minutes and give off a great fragrance too! Walnuts and sunflower seeds can be added to salads also and give you tremendous flavor without the carbs.
Choose: Bone Broth over chicken broth/beef broth
The benefits of bone broth are so great that they are too numerous to mention here. Bone broth is a superfood and suffice it to say, it is ALWAYS the case that bone broth should be used over store brand chicken or beef broth. Most store-bought broths are made in a lab with meat flavors in soup and sauce mixes and should not be considered “real”. To ensure your bone broth is real, it is best to make it yourself from grass-fed bones that you can obtain from organic farmers markets or food store. They can be cooked down to give you delicious broth with minerals that your body can easily absorb and benefit from.
Choose: No-salt added diced tomatoes over pasta sauce
Tomato sauce should be simple: tomatoes and perhaps a few seasonings. Switch your standard sauces that are filled with salt, sugar, and extra calories. Add the seasonings you want instead. If you want a smoother sauce, you can always use your food processor to make a puree.
Choose: Mustard over ketchup
What’s not to love about mustard? Mustard good swap because one of its main ingredients is vinegar. And we all know that vinegary fermented foods promote increased gut health. Not to mention that it is also lower in sodium and sugar giving it fewer calories than ketchup. It also does not have the high fructose corn syrup that its counterpart generally contains. Turmeric (an anti-inflammatory) and paprika (an antioxidant) are frequent ingredients in the better brands of mustard.
Choose: Honey over white sugar
When compared to refined white sugar, we chose honey to swap in our pantry because of the undeniable health benefits that honey affords. Honey has trace amounts of vitamins and minerals and white sugar contains none. There is evidence that honey has beneficial probiotic bacteria and enzymes that can aid in digestion too.
Choose: Dark chocolate over white chocolate
The key to choosing dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate is found in the health benefits of flavonoids. Flavonoids are what is found in cocoa and there is a higher amount of cocoa in dark chocolate. Flavonoids may help in improving mood (it always does for me!), decreasing the bad (LDL) cholesterol, and lowering blood pressure. Of course, you still have to use it in moderation, but it might even improve cognitive performance. More dark chocolate for late night studying has my vote!
Choose: Natural PB over sugar-sweetened PB
In this category, we are going to go with the old adage, “Less is more”. The reason for this swap probably should be rather obvious. Natural peanut butter is just that–natural. It contains just peanuts and oils that are good for you and naturally come with it. Sugar-sweetened peanut butter is much more sugar and hydrogenated oils that contain trans fats that you definitely don’t want. Go natural!!
We hope you found this list of 12 pantry swaps helpful. See how many of these you already have swapped and which you need to do to make your favorite recipes healthier and more delicious.