When it comes to health, it seems like figuring out the whole nutrition side of things is usually the most challenging. For everyone. Me included. At the end of the day, there are definitely a few things you can do to fuel your body for optimal health & whatever your goals are but that’s not what today’s post is about. We tend to overcomplicate things. We follow trendy diets and eliminate entire food groups. We try to eat during certain time windows or restrict calories. Let me tell ya – you don’t have to do all of that to lose weight, build muscle, support your health, etc.
Get enough protein. Make sure you’re not under-eating. Drink water. Don’t restrict yourself. Super heavy emphasis on this last one. Spoiler: you can still eat pasta and cookies and chips and dessert and be healthy (whatever that healthy standard looks like for you). Now, don’t get me wrong, not all food is created equal. Ya gotta watch the ingredients. I personally like to make a few swaps & find alternatives to my favorite foods that might be a bit more indulgent so I can still enjoy the yummy things I love with a lot less of the icky ingredients that are usually involved.
My Favorite Nutrition Swaps & Alternatives
I’ve rounded up ALL of nutrition swaps that I personally swear by. Here’s proof that you can have the pasta, eat the cookie, drink the latte and still feel good from the inside out!
Chips & Crackers
- Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers (Sea Salt and Farmhouse Cheddar): I love crackers. This brand is completely gluten-free and all of their products are so delicious. I love the Cheddar Crackers as a great alternative to Cheez-Its and the Sea Salt crackers are great for a charcuterie board or as a quick grab-n-go snack option.
- Terra Sweet Potato Vegetable Chips with Sea Salt: I am obsessed with these ruffled chips. Great for dipping or simply snacking on something crunch.
- Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP Sea Salt Microwave Popcorn: We have popcorn every Wednesday night for movie night and this is handsdown my favorite. Not too salty or buttery (you can always melt some butter and add it if that’s your style). Simple ingredients and super tasty – you need this in your life for everything from movie night to an afternoon snack.
- Chomps Beef & Turkey Sticks: If you’re looking for a great protein-packed snack, the Chomps beef & turkey sticks are a sure winner. They’re easy to grab-n-go and also make for a great alternative to add to your charcuterie board 9simply slice ’em up and serve with cheese). They’re Keto, Whole-30 and paleo-friendly with simple ingredients.
- Plant-based queso/”cheese” dip: I love cheese dip. It’s great for dipping veggies or gluten-free chips and is also great for adding to tacos or quesadillas. I have found a few brands that I really love including the Sprouts brand but the Sieta Cashew Queso is also SO good.
Desserts & Sweets
- Cappello’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough: this almond flour cookie dough is perfect for those days when you want to roll out cookies and bake ’em “fresh” from the oven. The texture is great and the ingredients are even better.
- Sweet Loren’s Fudgy Brownie cookies: I can’t even really explain how good these cookies are. A mix between a brownie and a cookie, these are not only gluten-free but have super clean ingredients and are so freaking delicious.
- Simple Mills Almond Flour Snickerdoodle Cookies: For a yummy non-bake option, these snickerdoodle cookies are perfect. I love having these as snacks for summer excursions like trips to the pool or the lake. They’re gluten-free, soft, and taste homemade without the hassle of turning on the oven.
- Tate’s Bake Shop Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies: These are another AMAZING no-bake cookie option and probably my favorite cookies ever, gluten-free or not. They’re thin & crispy but somehow still soft. They taste fresh basked and are great alone or crumbled over ice cream.
Sweets & Candy
- Yum Earth Fruit Snacks: If you’re a gummy candy lover like, you are going to love these fruit snacks. Like, I truly love a fruit snack. I was never allowed to have them when I was growing up so I went through this insane gushers phase in college. Fast forward to now and I still crave the gummy snack so I love having a few packs of the Yum Earth Fruit Snacks around (gluten-free with clean ingredients).
- Smart Sweets Candy: You’ve heard/seen me talk about these a lot. Safe to say I truly, authentically love them. They are the perfect fiber-packed candy to enjoy with popcorn, as a snack or on the road. My favorite varieties are the Peach Rings, Sour Blast Buddies, and Sweet Fish.
- Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips: I use Lily’s chocolate chips almost once a week. Whether I’m baking, adding a few to a mint chocolate chip smoothie, or topping an apple with peanut butter and a few morsels, the options are endless. They’re stevia-sweetened and dairy-free!
- Hu kitchen chocolate bars: If you’re looking for your chocolate fix, these are for you. Clean ingredients, dairy-free, and really REALLY good when they’re cold, I always have a few HU KITCHEN chocolate bars on hand. They have so many options (the vanilla crisp and hazelnut butter ones are my favorites!
Foods & Mains
- Almond Milk & Cashew Milk: When it comes to smoothies, almond milk is my go-to. I love the Califia Farms brand and also really like the Simply brand of unsweetened. For my lattes and coffee, cashew milk tends to froth the best for that super creamy vibe.
- Miyokos Creamery Farmhouse Cheddar: I love this plant-based cheese alternative. It’s my go-to for making my dairy-free, gluten-free mac n cheese and is also great in slices for a charcuterie board. To be fair, it’s NOT cheese. So you gotta set your expectations but it’s my favorite alternative for sure.
- Kitehill Almondmilk Yogurt: I’ve been doing yogurt with granola and fruit pretty much every morning for breakfast lately and this vanilla almond milk yogurt is my go-to. It’s not too sweet, has a creamy texture, and is also great for blending into smoothies.
- Chickpea or lentil pasta: Ya girl loves her pasta – you know this. I’ve been using lentil and chickpea pasta noodles for a while now in place of wheat/grain-based noodles and don’t think I’ll ever need to turn back. I think lentil pasta has a more pasta-like texture but both are great options packed with a ton of protein.
- Siete Almond Flour Tortillas: Taco and quesadilla lovers rejoice. This gluten-free option is absolutely perfect for taco night. The texture is just right and the ingredients are fantastic.
- Eat Banza chickpea rice: I love rice. Truly. This chickpea-based version is great for adding into burrito bowls or serving as a side with your favorite protein and veggies.
Dressings & Marinades
- Tessemae’s Habanero Ranch: I use this ish on everything. Salads. taco bowls, with veggie sticks – everything. It’s so good, dairy-free, and full of clean ingredients. The Buffalo Ranch is also a major vibe.
- Primal Kitchen Ketchup & BBQ Sauce: I also love the Primal Kitchen sauces. Their unsweetened ketchup is great with gluten-free chicken tenders or on burgers and we always have a bottle of their BBQ sauce for marinating chicken or serving with turkey sandwhiches.