Easy Food Substitutions for a Healthy Diet

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When people think about eating healthier, they often imagine changing every little thing in their diet down to the last calorie. This often leads to too much change all at once, and then they abandon the diet after only a few weeks.

The more sensible approach is to make smaller, subtle changes to your diet with one food at a time. Little substitutions like these four will have you feeling healthier without feeling overwhelmed from overhauling your diet.


  1. Substitute turkey for pork and beef.


Turkey is a white meat which is significantly leaner than its cousins, beef and pork. This means you can eat the same amount of turkey but take in less fat and cholesterol.

Ground turkey makes a delicious burger patty, and turkey bacon and turkey sausage are much healthier versions of their pork versions. Manufacturers have been working on making turkey just as flavorful over the years, so it won’t take long for you to stop noticing the difference in taste.


  1. Substitute Greek yogurt for creams and dairy.


Greek yogurt is somewhat of a super-food when you consider how high in protein and nutrients it is, and how many foods it can be added to. Substitute a yogurt-based dressing for fattier salad dressings; swap it for higher-calorie sour cream in Mexican recipes; use it instead of milk or creams in recipes that call for dairy.


  1. Substitute olive oil for butter.


Any recipe that calls for a significant amount of butter is going to be fattening even in small portions. Oftentimes olive oil—extra-virgin is the best option—serves the same purpose in a recipe by moistening the other ingredients.

Since olive oil is plant-based instead of animal-based like butter, you don’t need to worry about the high fat and cholesterol. Some research shows that the healthy fats in olive oil can lower your risk for heart disease.


  1. Substitute sweet potatoes for potatoes.


Sweet potatoes are lower on the glycemic index than their brown, red and golden cousins. This means they have less of a dramatic spike in your blood sugar. They’re also higher in fiber than regular potatoes, so you can eat all the mashed sweet potatoes you want without worrying about your digestion.

You can also try slicing sweet potatoes into thin slices and then dipping them in cinnamon and sugar. It makes for an easy dessert dish that won’t weigh you down after only a handful of chips.


The key to transitioning into a healthier diet is to start slowly and gradually get to a point where the majority of things you eat are better for you than your diet before. Once that happens, you’ll notice the difference in your energy levels and maybe even your waistline.

If you have more questions about healthy food substitutions, come on into your local Family Pharmacy and our pharmacists will be happy to chat with you.




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