Swap This With That: 16 Ingredient Swaps To Instantly Add Nutrition To Your Life
We went to the top of the dome of the Iowa State Capitol building once…
I didn’t think my fear of heights was going to affect me in the least.
I mean, it’s not like there’s not a sturdy rail to hold on to and keep me from falling over.
It didn’t matter.
Within seconds, I was in a cold sweat, the backs of my legs tingling, and I can almost swear that the floor underneath my feet was ever so slightly tipping back and forth. I made it to the rail to try to look over for a split second, and that was it.
All the color left my face, and I backed away toward the wall behind me and tried to clutch on to it for dear life.
That was seriously one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I have zero desire to visit that or any other building that requires me to look over the edge — because, safety rail or not, I am convinced that I’ll fall over and die.
That’s kinda how it feels to change your eating lifestyle…
You think you can peek over the edge and enjoy the view that everyone’s raving about, but in reality, you’re certain your life will never, ever be the same again … because you’re going to fall. And it’s going to hurt.
The #1 question/blank stare I get from people is,
“I want to do all this, but where do I start????”
You CAN do this — it’s a lot easier than you might think, especially if you start out slow and easy.
The simplest things you can do involve swapping ingredients — just exchange the unhealthy ones for healthier options. You don’t have to give up your old family favorites — just up the ante a bit (ok, A LOT, actually) by making a few simple ingredient swaps to instantly add nutrition to your life. Here are 16 to get you started!
#1 — Swap Canned/Boxed Broth With Homemade Bone Broth
In any recipe, you can swap the canned or boxed broth for homemade bone broth in an equal amount! More nutrition for less money!
That store-bought stuff is literally flavored water. Very likely, no actual bones were used in the making of canned or boxed “broth”, so they are virtually nutrition-less.
Homemade bone broth is as simple as: place the bones from a chicken into a Crock Pot, cover with water, add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and cook on low for 12-24 hours. Use in place of canned/boxed broth!
#2 — Swap White Sugar With Whole Sweeteners
And in the case of raw honey, you get all sorts of medicinal properties too!
White sugar is almost always made from GMO beets, not real sugar cane. GMOs cause a host of problems in our health and for the environment.
Substitute coconut palm sugar and rapadura 1:1 in recipes calling for sugar.
Honey is actually sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it. Honey and maple syrup will change the liquid ratios in baked goods, so reduce the overall liquid a bit in baking recipes if you swap your white sugar for either honey or maple syrup.
#3 — Swap Vegetable Oil With Coconut Or Avocado Oils Or Healthy Animal Fat
Vegetable oil is the single most inflammatory food in the American diet, in my opinion. It is almost exclusively used in restaurants, commercial salad dressing, processed food, and in most homes.
Basically, they’re rancid, empty calories — and that’s why vegetable oil is so cheap. Our minds are programmed to be attracted to cheap — cheap clothes, cheap food, cheap shoes. Yet, when you sacrifice quality to save a few dollars, in any of those things, you often end up with an inferior product.
These fats can be substituted in an equal amount in any recipe that calls for vegetable oil, whether salad dressing, baked goods, sauteeing, or frying. This is an easy swap you can make today — throw out that bottle of vegetable oil and replace it with one of these nourishing oils!
#4 — Swap Margarine With Butter Or Ghee
Margarine is vegetable oil that’s been dyed and deodorized to resemble butter. Yet it has NONE of the nutritional value of butter! Choose real butter or ghee (clarified butter) because it’s full of vitamins and mineral and fat that’s good for your heart (and the rest of you)!
#5 — Swap Commercially Raised Meats With Grass-Fed Meats
Find a local rancher, buy 1/4 – 1/2 of a cow or pig, and taste the difference of pastured meat! It’s SO much tastier! Plus, it’s higher in Omega-3s and Conjugated Linoleic Acid and lower in fat.
LocalHarvest.org is a site dedicated to connecting customers with local farmers and ranchers.
#6 — Swap Conventional Or Cage-Free Eggs With Local, Pastured Eggs
We pay about $1 more per dozen for locally raised, pastured eggs. That’s a small price to know that our eggs are coming from chickens that roam freely, have plenty of fresh air and sunshine, and aren’t fed a diet of GMO grains.
The taste and texture of our eggs compared to grocery store eggs is unbelievable. Rich, creamy orange yolks instead of pale yellow, watery yolks just can’t be beat in flavor or nutrition!
#7 — Swap Pasta With Veggie Noodles Or Spaghetti Squash
Rather than the processed flour in commercial pasta, why not add a boost of veggies to your meals? We all need to eat more veggies anyway, am I right?
Spaghetti squash is a natural substitution for spaghetti noodles, but did you know you can also make noodles out of zucchini, butternut squash, and cabbage?
I use my spiralizer to turn these veggies into noodles that cook up in a flash and go well with all our favorite pasta sauces. Less carbs, more nutrients!
Here’s a 20-minute recipe for Blackened Salmon Over Cajun Zoodles!
#8 — Swap Mashed Potatoes With Cauli-tatoes
Mashed potatoes taste soooooo gooooood, but they’re also full of carbs that tend to pack the pounds on to our waistlines and cause our blood sugar to skyrocket.
Cauli-tatoes are one of my favorite foods, and they’re the perfect sub for mashed, white potatoes! In fact, I prefer cauli-tatoes now!
#9 — Swap Tortillas With Lettuce Leaves
Once again, tortillas are basically empty calories and carbs, unless you’re using homemade sprouted or sourdough tortillas.
Use romaine or green leaf lettuce leaves to wrap up grilled chicken, fajitas, or lunch meat for the perfect wrap without the carbs that have you feeling sluggish later.
#10 — Swap Flavored, Sweetened Yogurt With Whole, Plain Yogurt
While avoiding high amounts of sugar and potentially artificial flavors and colors, this swap also saves boat loads of moolah!
You can buy big tubs of plain, whole milk yogurt for several dollars less than the same amount of cartons of sweetened, flavored yogurt. Then you can customize your yogurt with berries, granola, or stevia. My favorite is plain yogurt + liquid stevia + a few drops lemon essential oil. My favorite brands of store-bought yogurt are Nancy’s and Strauss Family Creamery.
If you’re feeling slightly adventurous and want to save a TON of money, make your own yogurt! It’s easy! This is how I make homemade raw milk yogurt in my Instant Pot!
#11 — Swap Pasteurized Milk With Raw Milk
Pasteurized milk is dead food. There’s nothing in it to benefit your body.
Raw milk, however, is a living food — full of beneficial probiotics, fat-soluble vitamins, and minerals. This will more than likely be a more expensive swap, but the health benefits raw milk offers are priceless. To find raw milk in your area, go to RealMilk.org.
#12 — Swap Canned Veggies With Fresh Or Frozen Veggies
The high-heat processing of canned veggies kills all the nutrition and leaves the veggies limp and lifeless. The Hubs and I both thought we hated veggies and were picky eaters when it came to veggies, until we started using fresh and frozen veggies instead of canned.
Now we eat sooooo many veggies, and our family’s health is better because of it! I can definitely tell a difference when my diet is lacking in vegetables, especially greens.
I also love using steamed and blended cauliflower in place of heavy cream when I want to leave dairy out of a soup AND add a healthy punch of veggies. My Low-Carb Instant Pot Clam Chowder proves how simple this ingredient swap is — and passes the kid-approved test!
#13 — Swap Soda With Sparkling Water + Lemon/Lime Juice + Stevia
Bam! Homemade “Sprite” without the high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors! No sugar, no artificial flavors, less expensive.
#14 — Swap Canned Cream Soups With Homemade Versions Or Real Cream + Spices
Canned, cream soups contain harmful ingredients — especially MSG — under a host of aliases. When you see words like autolyzed yeast extract and natural flavors, you can bet that’s MSG!
Unfortunately, these ingredients are even in so-called “natural” creamed soups you find at Whole Foods.
For casseroles and other dishes that call for creamed soups, simply replace it with a homemade version or plain cream and appropriate spices.
I love this recipe for Homemade Cream of Anything Soup. I replace the flour in the recipe with an equal amount of arrowroot powder.
#15 — Swap Iodized Or Kosher Salt With Mineral-Rich Salt
Iodized and Kosher salt have no nutrient value. This is the type of salt that causes high blood pressure! And when doctors tell you to cut out salt to reduce blood pressure, it’s because of these salts!
Mineral-rich salts, on the other hand, replenish minerals and valuable electrolytes in your body. These salts aren’t just NaCl — they also contain tons of trace minerals that our bodies need on a daily basis, such as magnesium, calcium, potassium, and chromium, as well as lesser-known trace minerals like strontium, vanadium, and even gold!
#16 — Swap Coffee With Herbal Coffee Or Tea
Please don’t throw stones at me just yet, Coffee Drinkers. I know it’s almost unthinkable to give up your morning cup (or 5) o’ joe!
If you find yourself relying on caffeine to wake up or function, it’s time to let it go.
I have been surprised to find the taste of herbal coffee to be very similar to coffee, but without the jitters and withdrawal that comes from going too long without it. Herbal teas don’t taste like coffee, but if you’re like me and just want something hot to sip on, they do the trick.
My current favorite morning drink is Oolong Tea with a bit of stevia, however, Teecino and Dandy Blend also taste really yummy, especially with heavy cream and stevia! To create an herbal coffee latte on steroids, try my Dandy Blend Latte with MCT oil!