Monday Meal Inspiration- Food Swaps

This Week’s Meal Inspiration for September 27th-October 3rd

If you’re anything like me, you probably feel overwhelmed by the new eating trends and ingredients. Eat this and don’t eat that, you’re told. I thought I was pretty adept at healthy eating, but then I gave into the promises of a low-carb diet several years ago. Within four months, I had lost 25 pounds. My body felt great! Then it was time to stick with it. The diet included shakes in the morning, no root vegetables, minimal fruit (like berries and low sugar fruit), and no dairy. Lunch and dinner was a piece of meat and vegetables. I’m not vegetarian but I am not much of a meat-eater, either. So, this diet was hard for me. All of my favorite foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, black beans, and similar were off-limits! As a self-proclaimed foodie, it was like living in a food purgatory. I got to the point where just thinking about the shake made me sick. All the while, I was afraid to eat the wrong thing. Mealtime became stressful.

Monday Meal Inspiration September 27-October 3, 2021

Now, there are times when we DO need a specific diet. For example, someone with diabetes needs to be cautious about their sugar intake. But for most of us, we generally know that eating 2 donuts and a pot of coffee for breakfast is not healthy. In general, nutrition is really about a well-rounded diet, and it’s much easier than it sounds. The truth is that a healthy lifestyle doesn’t need to be expensive or complex. 

CDC guidelines suggest that nutrition includes fiber and healthy fats in addition to vitamins. In this week’s meal inspiration, I want to encourage you to eat healthier by thinking outside the box. Consider, for example, making the mushrooms into the burger instead of putting them on it! Or, why not use cauliflower instead of chicken for Kung Pao?

What is the purpose of doing these swaps? We get a chance to flex our creative muscles and decrease calorie density and increase nutrition. Mushrooms are loaded with essential nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Mushrooms may benefit health by improving immune function, preventing and/or reducing the risk of cancer, and protecting the nervous system. Several chronic diseases such as cancer and heart problems are less likely to occur if you consume crunchy veggies like cauliflower. Some other cruciferous vegetables you can eat are broccoli, radish, kale, Brussels sprouts, watercress, and cabbage. They can be eaten fresh (in salads), steamed, or cooked.

So, take a look at your current collection of recipes. Are there any swaps you can do to make your recipe healthier? Does your recipe call for heavy cream? Maybe you can swap it for whole milk or canned milk. What if you add spinach and mushrooms to your spaghetti sauce? Are you a meat-eater? Maybe you can eat a 3 oz steak instead of a 5 oz steak then load it up with garlic and mushrooms with a baked potato and roasted Brussel sprouts? Use the recipes included this week or get creative with your own. Then, let me know if you are able to swap something in a recipe to make it healthier by sharing your comments below.

All of this week’s recipes include hyperlinks to recipes I found around the internet. I can’t wait to try the Healthier Cashew Chicken. Publix had bags of cashews on BOGO. 🙂

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Note: We’ve provided these recipes and menu information for educational and inspirational purposes. Remember, we’re therapists and coaches, not doctors or registered dieticians! You should follow the advice of your healthcare provider or dietician.

2 thoughts on “Monday Meal Inspiration- Food Swaps

  1. Tracy says:

    Thanks for sharing these ideas!

    I sub in zoodles for my pasta. For a quick, yummy meal, I get the Green Giant frozen bag of zucchini noodles (cooks in 5 minutes), brown some ground chicken breast then add a healthy red sauce and I’m done. If I have mushrooms, I throw them in with the ground chicken for some extra nutrition.

    Another easy quick meal, you can either brown ground chicken breast or sauté some chicken chunks then add in this Path of Life brand frozen quinoa blend. They have several different kinds. All you do is pour it on of your meat after you cook it, add a little water, cover and cook.

    Both of these meals are done and ready to eat within 20-30 minutes.

    1. Carissa says:

      Tracy,
      Those are great swaps! I love that your meals take less than 30 minutes.

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