Choosing Healthier Food Substitutes

Choosing Healthier Food Substitutes

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It’s about time that we pay attention to what we’re eating ⁠— after all, our diets can shape our health in the future. While food has definitely become more accessible thanks to the wonders of farming and industrialization, it’s known that what’s mostly available in our store shelves can’t really sustain our bodies for the long term. Fundamentally, food is just calories and nutrients, but it’s also important to note that healthier alternatives for staple foods exist.

Eating a sustainably healthy diet can mitigate a lot of health risks including high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. In this post, we’ll list down four staple foods and the available healthier substitutes that are just as delicious.

Table sugar

It’s incredibly hard to avoid sugar. From sweetened drinks to almost all processed foods, you can be sure that it contains table sugar. However, it’s important to cut back on sugar consumption. If your diet’s high in sugar, you’re at risk of developing multiple complications like type 2 diabetes, tooth decay, and obesity. Moreover, research published by Behavioral Brain Research reports that sugar causes inflammation in the brain which can result in memory difficulties.

One way to pull back on sugar levels is by using artificial, natural, and novel sweeteners. Finding the right sugar alternative depends a lot on what you want to achieve. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are intense sweeteners that don’t raise blood sugar ⁠— perfect for people living with diabetes. Meanwhile, natural sweeteners like Tengin’s coconut sugar can be great for those who are health-conscious too, as they tend to have a lower glycemic index compared to table sugar.

Refined Grains

We all need carbohydrates to properly function, and oftentimes we look to refined grains for our daily carbs. However, most of the grains that you’ll find on the consumer market are refined grains. Unlike whole grains where the bran and germ are still intact, refined grains are milled in order to produce a more palatable texture and longer shelf life. This process strips the grains of many nutrients like fiber and trace amounts of protein.

Choosing to reduce or completely eliminate refined grains from your diet and replacing them with whole grains is not at all a huge adjustment. The tastes are not that different as well as the way they’re prepared. All you need is a handy rice cooker. The We Know Rice Twitter feed highlights that rice cookers come with many different features, as newer models can be set to steam different types of grains perfectly. This can allow you to experiment with whole grains that are not only delicious but nutritious, and add more variety to your meals. Next time you go to your local supermarket, try to buy brown rice instead of white rice or whole wheat pasta instead of regular pasta.

Dairy Products

We know that dairy is a staple in every household, so giving it up might be close to impossible. Nevertheless, milk, butter, cheese, and other dairy products contain high amounts of saturated fat. If dairy is consumed regularly in high amounts, this might lead to heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, consuming dairy has been found to increase different types of cancers.

Substituting milk is relatively easy as you’ve got a ton of options for plant-based milk like almond milk, soy milk, and oat milk. The great thing about plant milk is that they’re usually creamier than cow’s milk. Try making Alisha Murugesh’s green smoothie bowl with plant-based milk if you want a filling and refreshing breakfast.

But other dairy products like butter can be hard to replicate. Thankfully, The Loopy Whisk’s Pinterest activity board showcases a plant-based butter recipe that’s made with coconut oil and sunflower oil. This results in a creamy plant-based butter which you can enjoy on top of on your morning toast.

Article specially written for communityfarm.in by Andee Berkey

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