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  • Denise Scott

Healthy Substitutions for a Healthy New Year!

Updated: Apr 25, 2023

Make 2023 the Year of Healthy Eating!

Eating healthy does not have to be difficult or expensive. Making simple substitutions goes a long way in improving the quality of what you eat. Swapping foods with healthy nutrients over ones that are less healthy is a great start.

I am passing on information from my book - “Feed Your Child’s Future Health, Prevent Disease before It Starts” and some from previous posts to aid you in a healthy start to the new year!

My new book available on Amazon

The following table of substitutions will improve the fats in your child’s diet:

Instead of This: Try this:

corn, sunflower, or seed oil olive, canola, avocado, grapeseed, or walnut oils

mayonnaise or butter on sandwiches pesto, hummus, mustard, or mashed avocado

croutons on salads nuts or seeds* and more vegetables

meat each dinner seafood twice a week*

grain-fed meats grass-fed meats

poultry with skin and full-fat meats poultry without skin and lean cuts of beef, including

90/10 or 93/7 ground beef

commercial salad dressings make your salad dressings with extra virgin olive oil

deep-frying or cooking with lots of oil bake, roast, pan sear, steam, or air fry

baking with saturated fat or shortening Bake with saturated fat substitutes which include

avocado, ripe bananas, legumes, yogurt, and olive oil

– recipes with these substitutes can be found online

(*Children under 4 should not have nuts or seeds but can have nut butter;

*Shellfish should not be given before a year of age.)

Listed below are foods with the highest carbohydrates and some healthier options:

· Bread (white bread, bagels, croissants, pastries) – whole wheat and whole grain bread have fiber, a healthier choice.

· Pasta - Regular pasta is approximately 80% carbs and low in protein and fiber, thus digested into sugar. Whole wheat pasta or pastas made from vegetable sources, such as lentils or chickpeas, is lower in carbs and high in protein and fiber.

· Cereals – especially those with added sugar – look for whole grain cereals with the least sugar. (also check out the breakfast post on 12/7/22).

· Rice – opt for brown rice over white rice. Brown rice has more fiber - 14% of the recommended daily intake; white rice has only 3%.

· Sugared beverages – soda, juices, sports drinks, coffee shop drinks, etc. – add sugar and calories and nothing healthy. Better options: water, water, water, tea without sugar, coffee with milk.

· Cake, cookies, jam, jelly – these are mostly simple sugars that lead to rapid glucose and insulin spikes. Consider fruit for dessert as well as baked goods utilizing avocado, bananas, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and even black beans as a change! Cake, brownie, and cookie recipes using these ingredients, with delicious results, can be found online.

· Potatoes – white and sweet, are relatively high in carbs but have starch, fiber, and nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals, that make them a healthy option.

· Grains such as oats, quinoa, buckwheat, and farro – are considered healthy carbohydrates due to their fiber and protein content as well as other nutrients that are broken down more slowly in the gut to release sugar more slowly into the bloodstream.

Foods rich in fiber

These foods provide fiber for gut health:

Vegetables - add chopped veggies to soup, stew, chili, salads, scrambled eggs, and casseroles

Fruit - serve for snacks and dessert, whole fruit, not fruit juice

Nuts and seeds - add to yogurt, baked goods, salad, oatmeal, and as a snack

Beans and legumes - add to soup, stew, chili, salads

Whole-wheat and whole-grain breads, crackers, and pastas

Young woman refusing a sugar-laden iced coffee

Finally, reduce sugar, any way you can, especially avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages, to protect your child from future heart disease and a host of other diseases. Make it a New Year’s resolution to drink more water and fewer sugar-laden drinks - your heart, gut, and brain will thank you!


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