Do you find messages like New Year, new you cluttering up your social feeds? You're not the only one. It is important to recognize that every person has a different journey with their health.
December is not the time to sacrifice any form of balance. January, however, is not just about starting a diet or a juice cleanse. It's about finding your HAPPY MIDDLE.
Although today's article focuses on healthy food swaps to live healthier in the year 2023, it's not a simple black-and-white approach. The nuance of health is important, especially for athletes like you. It is important to understand what makes you healthy and feel good.
Athletes often find it difficult to combine healthy food choices with ease and convenience. Most of the time, they do not have the time or energy to cook and buy many ingredients because of their busy schedule with training and other commitments.
However, an unbalanced diet comes with risks.
Athletes must consume sufficient energy during intense training sessions to maintain their weight and body composition and maximize training effects.
Insufficient energy can cause a decrease in muscle mass, bone density, fatigue, injury, and even the onset of RED-S. This can be very detrimental, especially for teens. For athletes to avoid micronutrient deficiencies, it is important to eat a balanced diet, which provides sufficient carbohydrates, protein, fat, and energy. It is essential to consume fluids regularly during training to avoid a decrease in performance and dehydration.
Below is a list of simple ways you swap unhealthy food choices for healthier options.
1. Use lower carbs for breakfast
It can be difficult to get breakfast ready in the morning. Sometimes we don't have time for it.
However, if you can get breakfast to set the tone for a healthy morning, you will be well on your way to a successful healthy eating lifestyle.
Instead of eating a high-carb, sugary breakfast, opt for a higher protein meal, which includes some healthy fat to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels.
These healthy breakfast options will elevate your mornings to a whole new level.
- Egg muffins with bell peppers and tomato. You can also use nutritional yeast to make it dairy-free!
- Two hard-boiled eggs with half avocado, drizzled with lemon juice and seasoned with pink Himalayan salt.
- Smoothies with berries, spinach, and unsweetened almond milk. Add a drizzle of almond butter, raw honey, and protein powder.
2. Quinoa vs. Rice
Quinoa is an excellent substitute for rice and has some good health benefits. Quinoa is rich in fiber and gluten-free.
You will get 8g protein and 5g fiber in 1 cup of cooked Quinoa. So, go ahead and substitute rice for your favorite lunch or dinner recipe and complete that healthy swap.
3. Say yes to more root veggies!
Root vegetables are a top priority for dietitians. Sweet potatoes, radishes, and garlic are all popular varieties. All of these foods are excellent sources of fiber, antioxidants, and naturally occurring phytophenols.
Add these foods to your diet regularly to enjoy several health benefits, including better gut health and decreased risk for inflammation, which are associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
You should not avoid starches too!
When cooking potatoes, allow them to cool completely and use them cold. Why? The starch in them will turn into resistant starch. Since your body can’t break it down, it will act as a prebiotic. Good bacteria will chow down on it.
Although cold potatoes might not sound appealing, they are perfect in soups, casseroles, and salads.
4. Use maple syrup instead of refined sugars
We've all heard of sugar swapping, but it's not always easy. Many love pure maple syrup, a natural sweetener that is a healthier alternative to refined sugar. However, you should still use it in moderation.
It offers several benefits that regular table sugar simply cannot match.
Pure maple syrup is an excellent source of essential minerals like:
Maple syrup is perfect for your tea or coffee. You can also use it to replace sugar in your favorite sweet treats.
Make sure to get pure varieties, though. They are often available in glass jars at most grocery stores.
5. Oils vs. Oil Sprays
Oils are high in calories and fat. Oil sprays can help you reduce your calorie intake and fat consumption. These extra calories can be used to consume foods with higher nutritional content.
6. Snack on sliced bell peppers and hummus instead of chips and dip
You can skip the salty chips and opt for crunchy, healthy food alternatives with hummus and sliced bell peppers.
This snack is perfect because it is light and less likely to make you feel bloated from eating too many carbs.
Are you not a fan of bell peppers? Sliced cucumbers, carrots, or celery are all good options.
7. Avocado vs. Mayo
Although we love mayonnaise, it is not always the best choice.
You can substitute mayo for sliced avocado in sandwiches and wraps.
You can also try egg salad with mustard and mashed avocado. Although eggs are an excellent source of protein, avocado makes for a delicious healthy food option that provides some fiber and heart-healthy monosaturated fats. Don't forget about mustard if you want to add some flavor to your recipe.
Are you still craving mayonnaise? Try avocado oil mayonnaise instead.
8. Eat fresh fruits, not jams
Are you looking for another healthy food swap that is healthier and more delicious? To avoid unnecessary sugars and artificial ingredients, eat fresh fruits instead of jam.
Enjoy a slice of gluten-free bread with almond-based cream cheese or ricotta and some fresh fruits.
If you can't imagine giving up your favorite foods, we hear you. However, one way to start eating healthily this 2023 is to swap unhealthy ingredients with more real, whole foods.
When you fill up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and water, you will be more prepared for training and competition. A nutritious diet can help you balance your mind and body. You will soon see the mental and physical health benefits of eating well during your training, competition, or recovery. Check Protec Recovery’s ebook for more information about sports nutrition.