There is no denying that it is tough to maintain a healthy way of eating when you are running in four different directions at once.
As moms, a lot of times we’re lucky if we even get to eat anything at all; which means we often end up grabbing things that aren’t necessarily the best choice. Before I became a mom, I was in good shape. I worked out often, ate clean and nutritious foods, and I admittedly had a hard time understanding why it was so hard for others.
Then, I became a mom. Whoa! Everything changed!! If it was in front of me, I ate it. Exercise? What the heck was that? My total mindset had shifted.
As I gradually adjusted (and I use that term very loosely) to motherhood, I started to try and make some strides toward a healthier lifestyle, but it was far from where I had once been. As far as eating goes, I decided instead of performing a complete overhaul of my diet all at once, even if I could make small changes, it would add up to a big difference. Therefore, I started considering substitutions; that is, choosing the things to swap for others in order to make slightly better choices.
Here are 10 quick and easy switcheroos that work surprisingly well when it comes to eating better:
- Avocado, Hummus, or Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayo -- Any of these are great subs for mayo, whether on a sandwich, in a prepared dish, or used as a dip!
- Flavored Water Instead of Soda (or any other sugary beverage) -- Whenever possible try to avoid drinking your calories so you can save them up for more nutritious choices. Instead of grabbing a soda or sugary drink, go for water, which has a ton more benefits for you anyway. I’m not much of a soda drinker, but my friend would drink two giant ones every day; she lost about five pounds in about two weeks, and ALL she did was ditch the soda. She changed nothing else. See how little substitutions can make a big difference?If you like fruit juice, try to keep it to no more than about 4 to 6 ounces max, and cut it down with water if you can; even better - eat whole fruit instead. Yum!
- Almonds, Pistachios, or Raw Veggies in Place of Potato Chips -- If you’re looking for that satisfying crunch that goes with certain snacks, grab a ½ cup of almonds or pistachios, or a cup of raw veggies, instead of chips. You’ll curb your hunger, plus get a bunch of extra nutrients and healthy fats instead of empty calories with your crunch.
- Squash or Zucchini Noodles Instead of Pasta -- I purchased a spiralizer a while back, and I have to say it’s pretty cool. You can spiral a lot of things, including apples, potatoes, and a ton of other fruits and vegetables. Zucchini noodles soon became a favorite, and they pack a significantly less calorie load than a similar-sized serving of pasta. Plus, you’re not left dealing with the crazy sugar-carb crash afterward.
- Applesauce (and even avocado) Instead of Oil When Baking and Cooking -- Depending on the recipe, you can replace certain amounts of applesauce or avocado for oil when you are cooking and baking. You might even discover you like the taste of the dish better!
- Instead of a Margarita, Opt for a Sangria -- Going out with the girls? Awesome! Don’t deprive yourself of enjoying a drink with your pals; a sangria serves up about half the calories of a regular-sized margarita.
- Go for a Burrito or Taco Bowl Instead of in a Tortilla -- This one is easy - no carb-filled tortilla? A lot fewer calories, while you still keep all the yummy goodness!
- When You Do Want To Keep the Tortilla, Use Corn Instead of Flour -- If you can’t bear the thought of eating a taco without a tortilla, then opt for corn over flour; corn tortillas have about half of the calories and twice the fiber of flour tortillas.
- Replace Rice with Riced Cauliflower or Quinoa -- If you have a dish that uses rice as a base, opt for riced cauliflower instead to work in some veggies while using a lot fewer calories; or try quinoa which can give you a much bigger protein punch.
- Having Pizza? Go for the Thin Crust -- Pizza crust has a ton of calories, but not a lot of nutritious value. Load up your pizza with nutrient-rich toppings like veggies, and go for the thin crust. To go a step further, go light on the sauce and the cheese; you’ll still get the taste you crave, with a fraction of the calories.
These are just a few easy, simple swaps that don’t involve endless thought and preparation, because honestly, who has time for that? My goal is to make these healthy substitutions when I eat, and I know that as I start with these small steps, I will be more motivated to conquer my bigger goals, like more exercise and eating healthier more frequently.
It’s time for us to take care of ourselves, moms! We deserve to be healthy! If you’re like me and need to take some time to make wellness a priority, then check out the MamaZen app's wellness sessions! If you combine your new meal swaps with sessions like "Crush Sugar Cravings" and "Stop Carb Addiction" you will be able to shift your mindset faster and create a longer-lasting change to your eating habits. Here's to your health!