Here are our quick guidelines to food swapping
- Identify processed foods in your house
- Go to your health food store and look for similar foods
- Make sure you can pronounce all the ingredients
- Make sure you can recognize the ingredients as food
- The less ingredients the better (less than five is ideal)
- Avoid items with “added sugars”
- Pick foods with minimal “natural sugars”
- The less oils the better
Here are some common food swaps that we come across when we work with our clients.
We like the full line Food For Life products. The breads are all organic and made from sprouted grains and lentils to make a complete protein. We like the Sesame and Sprouted Whole Grain. They contain 0 grams of sugar. Since they are sprouted grains they will not spoke your blood sugar as quickly.[/ezcol_2third_end]
Buns (Hamburger and Hot Dog)
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]The buns (hamburger and hot dog) are all organic and made from sprouted grains and lentils to make a complete protein. They contain 0 grams of sugar. Since they are sprouted grains, they will not your blood sugar as quickly.
We find these to be very thick and a lot of bread. You can always just use a half of a bun. For hamburgers, we would recommend using the English Muffins (see below).[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]The English muffins are also made from sprouted grains and lentils to make a complete protein. They contain 0 grams of sugar. Since they are sprouted grains, they will not spike your blood sugar as quickly.
We use these for our burger buns or as a quick lunch with some nut butter on top.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]The cereals are also made from sprouted grains and lentils to make a complete protein. They contain 0 grams of sugar. Since they are sprouted grains, they will not your blood sugar as quickly.
We always have a box of this in our cupboard. Kady has it for breakfast during the week. I like to have it on the weekend just for something a little different.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end] Love the tortillas. We have a lot of recipes that use these. The Ezekiel tortillas are made with wheat, barley, beans lentils, millet and spelt (not flour like most tortillas are). They are a complete protein and will not spike your blood sugar like other tortillas.
We love Mexican food so you know we have these on hand at all times. We actually have 1 or 2 packages in our freezer at all times.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]If you want to be good and you have a thing for crunchy. Then these are for you. They are thin crackers that are made from flax seeds. They have a great crunch and are perfect for dipping into hummus or salsa or whatever. I usually dip them in some homemade hummus.
The ingredients are great and there is no sugar or oil in this product. We are big fans. They are made by a company called Dr. In The Kitchen. You can usually find them in a health food store.
These are always in our cupboards, so if you ever visit, feel free to help yourself!
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end] Mary’s Gone Crackers are another standard in our household. The ingredients are good and there is no oil or sugar. These have a wonderful crunch and are perfect for dipping or just eating right out of the box.
These make a great option for the need for something crunchy. You can usually find these at your local health food store. But check around your regular grocery store, too. Many are starting to carry things like these.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]OK to me these crackers remind me of those things you use to buy at the zoo to feed the goats. Do you remember those? These are a thicker cracker and are good for dipping into humus or to spread with nut butter. These will come in handy when you need something a little more. They are also great for stacking sandwich stuff onto them. There is no oil or sugar and the ingredient list is short.
We buy them sometimes, but it is not something we have all the time because they are not organic (which we have a little bit of a problem with). They good news, you can keep them around for a while and they do not taste any more stale than when they are fresh. (ha!)
These are great for backup when needed. You can find these in any grocery store.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]When we want nachos or some chips, we typically make our own because pretty much all chips have added oil. If you get corn tortillas that are good, they will just have organic corn, maybe some lime and salt. If you cut them up and bake them, they make a much better option than chips. There is no oil (which is the killer for snacks).
Making them is easy, but not as easy as just opening a bag. Just cut them up like chips, bake them for about 12-14 min on 350 (no oil, no salt, just bake them as they are).
If you need to buy tortilla chips, you should look at the ingredients and make sure it is organic corn for sure. Then make sure there are as few ingredients as possible. You should be able to find some tortilla chips that just have organic corn, a little oil and salt.
That is not as good as making your own, but a step in the right direction.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Pita chips are the same deal as with the tortilla chips. We make our own and it is so easy. They taste great, too. Plus they are not all greasy like the ones you buy already made. When you make them yourself, you avoid all the oils. These have no oil or sugar in them.
To make them, just cut them in half, separate and cut them into chip pieces. Bake at 350 for about 12-15 min. Every oven is different, so you will have to experiment a little. You do not want them too soft or burnt. There is a fine line there.
I have not found any pre made pita chips I am a fan of. But just follow the same rules, organic wheat and few ingredients, avoid ones with sugar. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]OK who does not love potato chips. This is by far one of the biggest challenges people have. Kale chips is my secret way to get people off the chips. There is not one person that I have shared these with that did not love them.
They satisfy that potato chip addiction people have. We always have them try the Ranch Flavor and that one seems to do the trick. There are many different brands but they are usually all very conscious about how they make their product. Most of them are considered raw, which means they are living foods (have all the live enzymes, which gives an added benefit).
The down side to these is they are on the pricey side. But they are soooo good.
Be careful they are addicting. But, if you have to be addicted to something, Kale is what we want you to be addicted to.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end] We used to keep these on hand for our girls. They really liked them and it helped them bridge the gap away from the sweet treats. They are made from seeds and different whole food ingredients and they are a raw food (so you get the benefit from the live enzymes).
They have about 11 grams of sugar (mainly from the dates) per serving, but there are a host of healthy ingredients in these. This was a great transition for our kids and us, too. Eventually over time, we just stopped getting them and everyone was just fine without any cookies on a regular basis.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We stopped drinking milk a long time ago. Once we learned about milk, it was easy to give up. In our house, you will find unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened soy milk. Sometimes we get unsweetened coconut milk. The almond milk comes in regular and vanilla. We usually get the plain, but the vanilla also has a no sugar option so that one works too if you like.
Whichever milk alternative you choose, just make sure it is not sweetened. Milks are notorious for adding sugar.
If you are buying cow’s milk, you will want to make sure it is organic and hormone free. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We love Mexican food and many of our recipes call for sour cream. Our first swap from sour cream was to unsweetened greek yogurt. Then we moved to this unsweetened soy yogurt.
We like this product very much as a sour cream substitute. You can add a chopped up chipotle pepper to make it spicy, if you like.
Tyler likes to eat this with cereal. I have some clients that put it into their smoothies. There are many options here.
Flavored Coffee Creamer
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Coffee creamer is a big one. Many of our clients like that Carnation French Vanilla Flavored Creamer. If you ever look at the ingredients, you’ll see why you should drop that right away.
I have made up my own version. If you take a little of this unsweetened vanilla almond milk, a couple drops of vanilla extract and a little stevia, you can make it come very close to the Carnation French Vanilla creamer.
Play around with it and see if you can come up with your own flavor that you like so you can make your own transition off of the flavored creamers.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Our very first yogurt swap was to unsweetened plain greek yogurt. The girls did not like it. To get over this, we took the yogurt and fresh whole strawberries and blended it up. That added some sweetness and turned it a nice pink color, which they were used to.
Over time, we stopped blending and they just ate the fruit with the yogurt. Now they are totally off dairy yogurt.
If you buy dairy yogurt, here is what you should look for. Yogurt should ONLY have milk and around 3 cultures and NOTHING else. If it has a bunch of other stuff, you do not want it. A yogurt like this will have about 6-9 grams of sugar, but that is from the milk.
A trick with many of the “diet” yogurts is they will remove the dairy sugar and put in “added sugar” which, as you know, is not good.
We also used the greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute before we switched over to the soy yogurt. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We do not really use butter that often. But when something calls for it, we usually have this earth balance buttery spread to use. This is a non-dairy product. There are oils in this product, but the types of fats are in a nicer balance. There is an organic version, so opt for that one if it’s available. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We are not big fans of cheese. But it is so darn addicting. Cheese was one of the very last things we addressed in our diet. We phased it out all together at one point, now it is just an occasional occurrence.
We have tried all the fake cheeses and we have not found something that you have to try, but that is just us. Many people like the Daiya brand. Dairy naturally has addictive substances in it (designed by nature for a reason – if you are a calf trying to become a cow). Our strategy with cheese is to minimize it and treat it as a flavoring, rather than the main ingredient.
If you do need to buy cheese, ideally you will want to make sure it is organic and that it does not contain any growth hormones. You do not want all the antibiotics and hormones that come with factory farmed dairy products in your body. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We ate refried beans out of the can for as long as I can remember. How easy is it to open a can of Rosarita refried beans and put them into a tortilla. It’s easy!
We still do something similar today. But instead of having the lard or whatever else they put in there, when we want refried beans we just take a can of organic pinto beans and 2 tablespoons of salsa and mash it up with a fork (or toss it into the food processor). It tastes just fine and is a cleaner version.
When buying beans we always go organic. Eden has BPA Free cans, but they will be about $1 more per can. I have read that many of the Trader Joe cans do not have BPA (they just do not advertise it). We now just buy dry beans and cook them ourselves, but this is something that you can worry about down the road (baby steps). We went many years just eating regular Trader Joe organic beans.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Orange juice is a not a good option if your goal is to lose weight — way too much sugar in one shot. This goes for any fruit juice, it is just too concentrated with sugar to support your weight loss goals.
We drink sparkling water in our house. You can even buy it infused with different herbs. Always Herbal Sparkling water is a great to take to parties as a substitute for wine. It looks fancy and tastes great.
These are not something we drink every day. We normally just have some sparkling mineral water and add lemon or lime to it if we want some more flavor.
You can easily make your own infused water, just take herbs of your choice and toss them into a pitcher of water and voila!
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]The problem with peanut butter is that most companies will add sugar. Why? That is a good question.
When buying peanut butter, just look at the label. You should only see one ingredient. Organic Peanuts. Most stores should have at least one option like this.
An alternative to peanut butter that we like is almond butter. Compared to peanuts, almonds have a better fat profile and other benefits that peanuts do not have.
If you want something really tasty, you can try NuttZo. It is a combination of a bunch of healthy nuts and it tastes incredible! If you’re hungry, you can just grab a tablespoon full and be on your way.
It is pricey. But it does make a great transition tool.[/ezcol_2third_end]
Jelly and Jam
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end] Our girls used to like peanut butter and jelly on toast. Our first swap for them was to swap the jelly with slices of fresh strawberries. We never looked back.
Jelly and jams are packed with a ton of sugar, many times “added sugars” not just natural sugar from the fruit it self.
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Once a week is pancake day at our house (at least for the kids). Syrup is obviously loaded with sugar. This is the syrup that we use. It is by Nature’s Hallow and is sweetened Xylitol.
They have a raspberry and a maple syrup flavor. We usually just get the raspberry because our store does not carry the other flavor.
We also use this in recipes that call for syrup or honey. I just use it as a straight across swap.
Most of the other sugar free options have artificial sweeteners that we are not fans of. So, for now, this is what we use. Again, it is not something we consume everyday, but a little on pancake day should not be a problem. [/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]We are not big ketchup people, but when you have some baked sweet potato fries or a black bean burger, it is nice. Regular ketchup will have added sugar (not sure why). You can find unsweetened ketchup or Nature’s Hollow also has a sugar free version.
Some of the other sugar free ketchups have artificial sweeteners you will want to stay away from. There may be sugar from the tomato so make sure you just read the ingredients and that you are happy with them.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]***WARNING*** We are not telling you to eat ice cream or to go out and guy this product. If your goal is top lose weight, this product will NOT help you.
But this product does not have the sugars that normal ice cream does, so from that perspective this may be a better option.
This is a tricky topic. If your goal is to avoid the negative effects of sugar. I would say this would be helpful. From a health perspective, it may be better to go with a product that uses whole organic cream and sugar. But you still have the whole dairy issue looming over head as well.
The bottom line is this. In our house, we have some Clemmy’s once every couple months and it is not a problem for us. At that frequency, we probably would be fine with either option. It really comes down to your relationship with this product. We eliminated it for a long time. Now it is a occasional treat.[/ezcol_2third_end]
[/ezcol_1third] [ezcol_2third_end]Chocolate (in its raw natural form, called cacao) actually is considered a super food and has a lot of nutritional benefits. The problems is what we think of as chocolate has been processed from it’s original form and really is not that good for us.
Raw cacao comes in the whole bean, nibs or powder form. We always have some of this in our house. The beans go great in a trail mix. The nibs and powder, we use in our homemade protein bars.
Have a craving? Try a small amount when those hit and see if you are not just needing some of those nutrients found in the raw unprocessed form of chocolate. [/ezcol_2third_end]