Upon undertaking a new fitness routine, it’s likely that you’ve started doing some research on foods that are geared towards improving your exercise performance. In most disciplines, especially weightlifting, this revolves around a diet of chicken, eggs, fish and an often shortlist of other protein-rich foods.
Conversely, many people end up getting bored of eating the same thing every day. This sometimes results in the return of foods that you initially stopped eating because they weren’t good for your health, but are irresistibly enjoyable.
But the fact is that, for most of these foods, there are healthier options – and the same applies to foods that are already healthy. This is why it’s important to find the right alternatives, as this will keep your diet interesting while still contributing to your gains. With this in mind, here are 6 healthy food swaps that will help you get fit.
Let’s face it, kale isn’t the tastiest thing in the world. But you do have other options that are just as, if not more nutritious. This includes microgreens such as beets, cilantro, broccoli, peas, and red cabbage.
Microgreens, which are grown from vegetable seeds and picked as early as the first leaves develop, contain about five times more nutrients than their full-sized counterparts.
For most of us, cooking up a protein-rich grilled chicken or fish involves using oil. But not all cooking oils are created equal. In fact, a lot of them do more harm than good. Here’s a big list of the good and bad ones.
The main takeaway here is that cheaper oils, such as sunflower, peanut and corn oil, should be avoided due to their high omega-6 content. Vegetable oils are often linked to cardiovascular disease and a variety of other health issues.
Instead, consider using much healthier alternatives, such as olive, avocado, and flaxseed oil. For other non-cooking purposes, such as salad dressings and desserts, use avocado oil and walnut oil respectively.
Greek yogurt is generally quite healthy, but many people find it hard to digest and experience stomach pain. Fermented foods make for a great alternative. This includes kombucha, sauerkraut, coconut kefir, miso, and kimchi. The benefit here is that fermented foods are vital for gut health and, subsequently, your immune system.
Avocado is incredibly healthy, but not everyone can eat it all the time. Consider swapping it out for superfood-like seeds such as chia, flax, pumpkin, hemp, and sesame seeds. They’re loaded with macro and micronutrients and can simply be tossed into any salad. If you opt for larger seeds such as pumpkin or sesame, soak them overnight for better digestion.
Butter isn’t always easy to find in its purest, healthiest form and cheaper forms are pretty horrible in both taste and nutrition. Coconut oil makes for a compelling alternative with a huge list of health benefits. It’s antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-microbial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties make it a serious superfood.
What makes it especially great for fitness is that it contains medium-chain triglycerides, which our bodies can use for energy where they would otherwise store it as fat. Slap some coconut oil onto your toast and mix in some pure honey for a delicious, healthy breakfast snack.
Similarly to butter, peanut butter loses a lot of its benefits when it gets loaded with oils and sugar before being placed on grocery store shelves. Swap yours out with Brazil nut butter, which is high in magnesium, calcium, and selenium. It can also help lower cholesterol. Or look for an all natural nut butter without oils or sugars added.
By taking note of these healthy alternatives, you can enjoy a varied diet that will help you achieve your fitness goals. Remember, balance is key, so listen to your body and make a change if it feels necessary. Feeling completely lost on the nutrition piece? Simply fill out the form below and I will reach out to see how we can create a better plan!