When it comes to eating healthy, you don't have to bend over backward to improve your food intake. Little changes and improvements can make all the difference! Small tweaks can impact your body more than you know. For example, this past semester I have really tried to put on muscle and body mass so I could bulk up a little bit, and I successfully gained about 10 pounds! I know that's weird to hear, but I can't wait to cut it all down for the summer and see all the muscles I have gained and grown. In order to gain big, you need to eat big! I only made a few small changes to make sure I was eating at a healthy caloric surplus. People often ask me what I eat, and I am happy to share! Here are a few healthy swaps, not sacrifices, that I enjoy.
1. Trade ice cream for Halo Top.
I know most people save the best for last, but I'm here to proclaim my favorite first. Halo Top is JUST as good as regular ice cream, trust me! My favorite flavors are "red velvet" and "cinnamon roll", and the current seasonal "blueberry crumble" flavor. This is a perfect way to get some protein in and I love topping my protein mug cakes with a scoop or two of Halo Top. I could NEVER give up my sweet tooth and it's a pretty darn good thing I don't have to.
2. Trade Bagel Thins instead of bagels
Believe it or not, most bagels are around 300 calories, only to be topped with peanut butter, cream cheese, etc. But my beloved whole wheat bagel thins from my beloved HEB are only 110 calories!! yay!!! I actually did eat bagels with my breakfast this semester while I was actively trying to eat more calories, but I have already bought bagel thins this grocery go around in preparation for my cutting in a few weeks! Same food, just a 200 calorie difference that can make a change in your body!
3. Trade rice for cauliflower rice.
I promise it tastes like rice! Okay maybe a little different, but the texture is good and there. It has the same consistency as rice, but doesn't leave me feeling as full. This is pretty obvious though considering it's a vegetable, found in your frozen veggies section. Did you know only 9% of adults in America eat enough vegetables? Be part of that elite!
4. Trade pasta for gluten free noodles (or even zoodles)
I personally decided to go gluten-free over the summer, and it improved my digestion immensely! While I'm not 100% gluten-free due to the fact I don't actually have an intolerance and I physically can't say no to pancakes, I do cut gluten out wherever I can to minimize my intake. This is my number one gluten-free swap and has made all the difference. I used to get so bloated after meals, especially dinner, so I try to not eat any gluten with dinner at all when I can. This is an easy swap that will make your tummy happy. Did you know gluten in your intestines has the same consistency as hardening concrete???
5. Trade soda for sparkling water substitutes
Soda. So much sugar. So bad for you. I personally don't like carbonation all that much, but if I had advice for how to cut down on sugar I would ask you if you're a soda drinker. Bai drinks as pictured only have 5 calories, 1 gram of sugar, and has antioxidants in them. These things don't taste fake at all and definitely have a carbonated kick to them!
6. Trade fatty meats for lean ground turkey.
My go-to meat this semester has definitely been 99% lean 1% fat ground turkey. I feel full and satisfied but never stuffed or bloated after eating it. AND, I can make literally anything I want with it! Tacos, roasted veggies, over rice, on pizza, the possibilities are endless. I am a fan of most meat, but I can't eat it forever. This is the perfect meat I can consistently eat to help me get my protein in!
7. Trade milk for a dairy free option
Ripple milk is the best! I make protein shakes, eat cereal, scramble my eggs, and make my mug cakes all with Ripple! Substituting dairy has also given my digestion major improvements and helped me to not feel so sluggish all the time. They also offer a coffee creamer option, but I am lactose-free "Cinnabon by International Delight" all the way. Another thing I love about Ripple is the fact that it stays good way longer than regular milk. Since there's no lactose, it doesn't expire for a month or two after I buy it, which is super nice because I go through milk super slow.
8. Trade eggs for egg whites
If you know me, you know I eat eggs for breakfast every day without fail. I freaking love scrambled eggs. But as I was increasing my caloric intake and thus my metabolism, I knew I couldn't be eating 3+ eggs at a time. Adding egg whites allows me to get more volume for less calories and fat. I typically scramble 1 or 2 eggs then add Ripple and egg whites to add more volume to my breakfast. It's the biggest and most important meal of the day!
Seriously, if you're not eating breakfast in the morning you're setting yourself up for failure. It's my heartiest meal of the day, typically somewhere around 700 calories. If you starve yourself in the morning, your body will try to burn muscle before it tries to burn fat, you're ruining your metabolism, and you'll feel crummy and tired. Eat. Your. Breakfast!
9. Trade Potatoes for SWEET potatoeshttps://www.instagram.com/wiz_kaleifa/
A sweet potato is on average about 90-100 calories and contains lots of vitamins and antioxidants. Regular potatoes are amazing, but sweet potatoes are pretty amazing too! I love roasting them or just heating them up in the microwave to eat with cinnamon on top (can you tell I love cinnamon yet). I am a huge fan of food that leaves me feeling full but not miserable, and sweet potatoes hit the spot.
10. Trade sandwiches for wraps
Man oh man I love me a good wrap. Bread is just excess calories that usually leaves me feeling bloated. My fave wraps right now are only 100 calories from Aldi, their fit & active brand. I loooove ham and turkey, they usually end up on my wraps no matter what!
Prioritize your health because you only get one body and you deserve to take care of it!