The crunch of a salty potato chip. The crispy finger-licking heat of a chicken wing. The first frosty sip of beer after a long day at work. Is your mouth watering yet?
It sucks that traditional “guy” foods tend to be packed with fat, carbs and salt. We all know that too much of a good thing can add up to a Buddha belly, but what if you could have your man-snacks and eat them, too?
For a quick and simple food reboot, check out these 5 food swaps that satisfy cravings without sacrificing taste. What are good food swaps? How about these GREAT ones!
1. Whole-grain bread instead of white bread
If you eat white bread you’re getting about as much nutrition as chewing on a piece of cardboard. OK, it’s not that bad, but white bread is stripped of a lot of nutrients before it’s even baked. Avoid the white stuff and grab a loaf of whole-grain bread.
2. Club soda instead of pop
Avoid a sugar crash! Pop goes down smooth at lunch, but it packs as much sugar as a Mr. Big candy bar. Try calming your carbonation cravings with fizzy club soda instead.
3. Nuts instead of potato chips
Potato chips are a guy’s go-to salty snack. So kick the chip habit by replacing them with salted almonds or cashews. Nuts contain healthier fats and more fiber and nutrients than potato chips, so you can eat less and feel full for longer. It’s just another awesome example of what food swaps can do!
4. Chicken fillet instead of chicken wings
To cut your fat intake, swap chicken wings for homemade chicken strips. It’s super-easy: Slice a raw boneless chicken breast into strips, crack an egg into a bowl and whisk it up, dip the strips into the egg, and then roll the strips around on a plate covered in a mixture of flour and breadcrumbs (about one tablespoon of each). Lay the strips flat on a pan that’s been greased with cooking oil, and then bake ‘em at 425 degrees for 20 minutes or so. Once your strips are fully cooked, lather ‘em with your favourite hot sauce if you’re craving some heat. With less than half the fat of chicken wings, you’ll get your hot wing fix without inflating your spare tire.
5. Avocado instead of mayo
This one’s too easy to pass up. Upgrade your burger with some peeled and sliced fresh avocado, or zesty guacamole instead of fat-heavy mayo.
Do you know any other healthy food swaps that kick all kinds of butt? Feel free to share them in the comments below!
This article was originally published on January 26, 2016.
On your marks, get set…eat! This isn’t the countdown to Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. Rather, the foods listed below are ideal when it comes to helping you burst from the starting blocks in your everyday life.
Whether you’re doing the Weekly Fitness Challenge, your own exercises, or racing to get out of the door each morning, these foods will give you the fuel you need to succeed. The best part? There’s a good chance all of them are already in your kitchen.
They’re big at breakfast for a reason. Packed with protein (6g protein per one large egg), eggs will sustain you with long-lasting energy, are versatile and simple to prepare.
The snack of choice for many pro athletes, bananas are a good source of healthy carbohydrates that will give you an immediate energy boost, and potassium which is necessary for good muscle and nerve function.
Bran is great for the heart and also helps your body maintain energy levels. Packed with fibre, bran also eases digestion and keeps you satisfied. Mix with milk or yogurt, and you’ve got another breakfast all-star!
Abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and other healthy nutrients, salmon increases energy, brain activity.
Dark chocolate (with or without nuts)
Coffee-schmoffee. Dark chocolate delivers it’s own caffeine jolt. If there are some almonds, cashews or hazelnuts in there, you’ll get fibre and protein, too.
Ok, maybe this isn’t already in your kitchen, but it’s health benefits are worth mentioning. Sometimes getting active is all about a can-do attitude, and asparagus can help with that. The green stems contain tryptophan which help our brains maintain a happy mood. And if that asparagus also produces some toilet humour, well, so be it…
They say that breaking up is hard to do. But if you’re looking to sever ties with an unhealthy food item the easiest option may be to swap it (rather than drop it). Not one of the alternatives on this list is off-putting, after all, and it could even be argued that they are all more appealing than the items they replace. More importantly, however, all these swaps are easy: No expensive trips to the health-food store, no complicated recipes, and no flavourless let-downs.
If there’s any doubt about the importance of diet to your overall health, maybe it’s time you checked out “The Pledge.” The cornerstone of the second-annual Canadian Men’s Health Week calls on men across the country to commit to four simple lifestyle changes that will help them live healthier, more productive lives. Two of these changes – choosing salad as a side dish and eating more broccoli – mean trading fatty, calorie-rich foods for something more nutritious.
Here, then, are six more swaps that can make a big difference to your health with very little effort:
In: Your favourite fruit
Out: Salty snacks
Do you have a weakness for crunchy potato chips? Apples are crunchy, too. Are doughnuts your weakness? An orange or a banana can be just as sweet, tender and tasty. All these fruits, by the way, are highly portable, so instead of stopping by the vending machine simply drop some produce in your backpack or briefcase for easy access at snack time. Your body, and your bank account, will thank you for it.
Out: Doughy breakfasts
Breakfast foods like bagels, muffins and croissants are full of carbohydrates and fats and very little else. Eggs, meanwhile, are packed with protein that will sustain you until lunch and curb your urge to snack. If you’re short on time in the a.m., boil a couple eggs the night before and eat them with some of that aforementioned fruit.
Out: Ground beef
Lean red meat – not the kind that goes into fatty burger patties – can be good for you. But fish – especially wild salmon, wild tuna, sardines and anchovies – is packed with healthy omega-3′s and light on other fats.
In: Soda water
Out: Soft drinks
If you miss the fizz, there’s nothing wrong with sipping soda water instead of colas and other pops that offer nothing but empty calories. Squeeze in some citrus juice for added zing.
Potatoes are carb-rich blood-sugar boosters, while cauliflower boasts an impressive array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Think you can’t mash cauliflower? Think again: By steaming it, adding a bit of butter and milk and dropping it in the blender, you’ll create a side dish that’s virtually indistinguishable from its starchy, stodgy counterpart.
Want to get your buddies on board? Share these swaps, and encourage them to make Pledges of their own!