February 04, 2020 at 10:00AM by CWC
When you hit a fitness plateau, the easy fix is trying a new class or lifting heavier weights in your next gym sesh. But when your motivation to meal prep starts to wilt like your third-day salads, it can be tough to find the inspiration to stick with the healthy-eating commitment you made at the beginning of January.
One trick that has full RD approval? Instead of opting for salads all day, every day (because, boring), keep your tastebuds from yawning by making foods you actually like—but with a few healthier ingredient swaps to make them a total nutritional win.
Keep your tastebuds from yawning by making foods you actually like—with a few healthier ingredient swaps.
If you’re not sure what constitutes a healthy swap other than subbing white rice for cauliflower rice, the new OptUP app will be your new back-pocket partner in crime the next time you hit the grocery store. The nutrition-scoring tool ranks food from one to 100 and provides better-for-you suggestions personalized to your tastes. It’s basically like having your own personal dietitian riding around in your cart with you.
“Many of us dive in too quickly when committing to a new nutrition goal,” says Ashley Martinez, MFN, RDN, LD, culinary dietitian at Kroger Health. “Instead of making drastic changes in your eating pattern, OptUP demonstrates how to make small, yet realistic shifts in your food selections, and encourages you to gradually select higher-scoring products over time on your terms.”
To get the ball rolling on your healthy food swaps, we used the OptUP app and Martinez’s culinary suggestions to select a few ingredients from Kroger that you can easily sub into your go-to meals without missing a beat on the flavor front. And if you want even more swap options, use the app to scan specific barcodes and find out what other ingredients you can throw into the mix.
Keep reading for 4 simple healthy food swaps to amp up the nutrition in your meals.
1. Sprouted Avocado Toast
Who else could write a sonnet to avocado toast? Come on, it multitasks as a breakfast-lunch-and-dinner staple, but did you know you can make it (even) better?
By swapping out your traditional white or yes, even wheat, toast for a sprouted version like Simple Truth Sprouted Thin Sliced Bread (OptUP 95), you’ll be getting all the good out of your go-to. “Because these whole grains have been soaked and left to sprout, they naturally increase many of their key nutrients like B vitamins, folate, and essential amino acids,” Martinez says.
And if that weren’t enough, studies suggest that the sprouting process increases the bioavailability of some nutrients (translation: they may be absorbed easier). In case you run out of reasons to post your morning avo toast to the ‘gram, this nutritious info should do the trick.
2. Vegan Sloppy Joe
Frigid winter days call for your childhood comfort-food classic sloppy joe. And while just the thought of the soul-food staple can make you feel warm inside, a few tweaks can bump up its health factor IRL, too. Swap ground beef for Simple Truth Canned Lentis (OptUP 94) and you’ll be headed for #MeatlessMondays quicker than you can say “snow day!”
“Comparatively to meat, [lentils] provide complex carbohydrates and a good source of fiber to keep you full longer,” Martinez says. “Additionally, they contain potassium, a mineral that counteracts the effects of sodium, which results in supporting healthy blood pressure levels.” Proof that your kid-favorite foods can actually be good (if not better!) for you.
3. Healthified Breakfast Bowl
Eating a full-fledged breakfast every morning isn’t always doable, which is why cereal heads up the frontlines of weekday morning eats (no, it’s not just for kids). If you opt for a bowl, Martinez suggests swapping out one-third cup of cereal and adding in Simple Truth freeze dried fruit (OptUP 80), specifically strawberries.
“Strawberries contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects our bodies against oxidative stress that ultimately can damage some of our healthy cells,” she says. Cereal with a side of antioxidants? We’ll take it.
4. Oat Milk Latte
Now onto your favorite part of the day: coffee time. To add a dash of health to your morning treat, pour in some Simple Truth Oatmilk (OptUP 66).
“This plant-based alternative provides a creamy, smooth consistency to your morning coffee,” Martinez says. “Even better, oat milk provides fiber, protein, and healthy fats with every sip, unlike regular creamer.” Let your oat milk latte obsession run rampant—this RD said so.
Sound the alarms: Your meal prep plateau is behind you. Now you can rely on your arsenal of healthy food swaps (all thanks to OptUP) to turn up the volume on good-for-you foods—without having to eat a single wilted salad.
Sponsored by Kroger
Top photo: JAVIER DÍEZ/Stocksy