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Saturday, June 25, 2022
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Healthy And Nutritional Swaps For Your Favorite Foods

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Photo of an elderly Black woman enjoying a cup of tea. (Getty Images)

Active Aging Presented by Public Health Seattle-King County

Although many of our favorite snacks are perfectly delicious, they may come packed with unhealthy additives, carbs, and unwarranted sugars—which can cause high blood sugar, heart disease, and other nutritional and age-related ailments. 

However, you don’t have to completely give up your tasty treats to avoid these side effects. There are thousands of equally delicious replacements to satisfy your cravings and boost your nutritional habits. Plus, incorporating healthy snacks into your diet has been scientifically proven to increase nutrient intake, sustain energy levels, and help your body fight the results of aging more effectively. Whether you’re a sucker for sweets or partial to salty snacks, there are endlessly filling, nutritious, and delicious replacements to ensure a healthy diet. 

Swap Baked Goods for Dark Chocolate

Everyone loves a homemade brownie or chocolate chip cookie. They’re a nostalgic American staple, after all! But these treats come brimming with unnecessary sugars and carbs that your body can’t process healthily. Most of their appeal comes from the flavor provided by white flour, butter, oils, and loads of sugar. Each one of these ingredients has been known to cause high cholesterol, which can, in turn, cause heart disease—the number one cause of death in the United States. Thankfully, dark chocolate is an excellent alternative because of its antioxidant properties, and high fiber, iron, copper, and magnesium levels. This scrumptious, savory-sweet snack is also perfect for ensuring your daily dose of fatty acids. Even if you’re still craving cookies, replace your milk chocolate chips with dark chocolate. Your body will thank you!

Tea/Coffee in Place of Soda

Of course, no meal or snack is complete without a refreshing beverage to top it off. Unfortunately, soda might not be the best drink of choice to improve your diet. The primary contributor to soda’s unhealthy effects is its high sugar concentration. Although you can have a healthy moderation of sugar in your diet, soda’s high amount can lead to a plethora of health problems, including heart disease, weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, dental complications, and more. Luckily, there is no shortage of delectable variations of tea and coffee. Since both are water-based and have antioxidant properties, making the switch will benefit you greatly. Whether you like your coffee or tea black or sweet, substituting your fizzy beverage will catapult you closer to maintaining your overall health. 

Photo of an elderly Black woman enjoying a bowl of oatmeal. (Getty Images)

Cereal Alternatives

Cereal is a hugely popular breakfast for its sugary-sweet taste and its early-morning convenience. But, you guessed it, all that sugar makes this breakfast a poor choice when aiming to improve your dietary health. This simple breakfast does have the potential to be good for you, but name-brand cereals that are high in fiber and protein can be pricey. So, try replacing your cereal with an equally convenient pack of oatmeal or yogurt parfait. Oatmeal is high in fiber and protein, meaning that starting your day off with a delicious bowl of it can aid in digestion for the day to follow. Plus, it will provide you with enough energy to easily last until lunchtime. A yogurt parfait is equally good for you, especially if you add fruit and granola. This option is perfectly filling and leaves you feeling fresh, energized, and clean for the day to follow.

Swap Nuts for Chips

The most common shared party food, sandwich side dish, and afternoon snack is often a bag of crispy chips. Although there is nothing wrong with enjoying a bag here and there, if you are looking for long-term improvement in your diet and overall health, chips are probably not the best snack to have every day. However, you can also find that perfect crunch in nuts! There are dozens of different kinds and even more brands of spicy, sweet, savory, and salted nuts to satisfy your craving. Don’t be afraid to try it! Nuts are high in fiber and even more abundant in protein. Grab a small handful in lieu of chips for the perfect snack!

No matter which alternative you plan to implement, there is no doubt that your diet will improve to keep you healthy and enjoy your day!

Active Aging is presented by Public Health- Seattle & King County. Public Health- Seattle & King County recognizes the important and untold stories of innovation, service, and sacrifice by the Black community and supports efforts to improve equity and achieve social justice. We want everyone to get health insurance and access health care. Visit www.kingcounty.gov/health for health insurance, flu and COVID-19 testing locations.