Eat This Instead: Smart Food Swaps to Make

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Food Swap | by Dinner Series http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinnerseries/5958082059/ via Creative Commons

Be healthy, stay healthy. Cutting down on cholesterol and fats doesn’t mean you also have to cut down on taste. A low-cholesterol diet doesn’t have to be all tofu and oat bran. A low-calorie diet doesn’t always have to be carrots and peas. Here are some very smart and simple food swaps that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine:

1. Ditch the soda and drink water instead.
Sodas are empty calories. They are liquid candies that do nothing good for your body. To add flavor, just drop a slice of lemon or cucumber in your water.

2. Swap whole grains for refined grains.
Eating whole grains can reduce your risk for heart disease by roughly 20 percent. Ditch white bread, white rice, and refined pasta. Stock up on brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal. These have their bran intact, giving you more fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, and other nutrients.

3. Choose salmon over steak.
Limit your red meat intake. Opt for fish dishes instead, like grilled salmon which is filled with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Pick a salad (with dressing on the side) instead of a fried appetizer.
Vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins and minerals, and full of fiber.

5. Toss the beers and cocktails. Sip red wine instead.
Red wine has anti-oxidants such as resveratrol and flavonoids which are believed to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein, a bad cholesterol) and boost HDL (high-density lipoprotein, the good cholesterol). As with any alcoholic drink though, make sure not to drink more than 2 glasses a day.

6. Spices, not salt.
The USDA’s dietary guidelines recommend consuming just about a teaspoon of salt daily. So skip the salt when you’re cooking and substitute with fresh or dried herbs and spices.

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