Nutrition

Swapping Foods

May 19, 2022

If you find yourself sick of eating the same food every day for dinner this is a great post for you. Were going to list ways to add variety to your meal plan by changing up food items. Eating the same chicken and rice meal for dinner day after day can get boring, making it challenging to stick to your healthy eating plan.

Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be that way. You can swap out different food items similar in macronutrients and calories, making it easier to sustain long-term.

There are five different categories, specifically: Proteins, Carbohydrates, Vegetables, Fruits, and Fats.

Starting off with Protein, the king of macronutrients.

Protein is the building block for muscle, the brain, nervous system, blood, skin, and hair. Protein keeps you full for longer, and your body burns more calories digesting it than carbohydrates and fats. If you’re aiming to improve your body composition, you’ll want to focus on eating a quality protein source with every meal. 

We’ll group protein sources that you can swap ounce for an ounce or gram for gram, starting with protein sources that are lowest in fat first. 

  • Chicken breast
  • turkey breast
  • white fish
  • tuna
  • shrimp

Any of these can be interchanged with each other. For example, if you don’t feel like having chicken breast on your salad, you can substitute it for the same-sized portion of tuna or white fish.

Low-fat vegetarian protein sources are:

  • Egg whites
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Protein Powder

3 ounces or 85 grams of lean meat is equivalent to approximately: 

  • 1 Cup Egg whites
  • 1 Cup 0-1% Cottage Cheese
  • 1 Cup 0-1% Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Scoop (30 Grams) of Protein Powder

Proteins that are a little higher in fats but are still an excellent source include:

  • Salmon
  • Beef 
  • Bison
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Chicken Thighs

3 oz/85 grams of higher-fat meats is equivalent to: 2 Whole Eggs 

Legumes are a good source of protein but contain more carbohydrates. For example, 1 cup of cooked chickpeas contains 34 grams of carbohydrates and 10 grams of protein.

We wouldn’t necessarily swap chickpeas ounce for ounce with chicken breast, but any of the following legumes are interchangeable.

  • Kidney Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Black Beans
  • Edamame Beans

All of these legumes are similar in macros.

Now let’s move on to Carbohydrates.

We’ll start with Grains:

  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Pasta

Next, we have starchy carbs. Good sources include:

  • Red, White, Russet, and Baby Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Corn

Some healthy breakfast carbohydrates include:

  • Sprouted Wheat Bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Cream of Wheat or Rice
  • Tortillas
  • Whole Grain Cereals
  • English Muffins

The macronutrients on these may vary slightly for each serving, but you can reference the Nutritional Label to ensure the swap meets your needs.

When it comes to vegetables and fruits there is usually not a huge difference in macronutrients. This means they can typically be swapped cup for cup. We recommend incorporating a wide variety to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.

Finally, Now let’s move on to Fats. We’ll start with Cooking Oils and Nut Butters:

  • Olive Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Macadamia Nut Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oil

Next, we have Nuts. These include: 

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts

Seeds are also classified as a healthy fat and include:

  • Seeds
  • Chia
  • Flax
  • Hemp
  • Sunflower Seeds

As you can see, there are many ways to include a wide variety of foods into your healthy eating plan to help you reach your goals without ever getting bored.

This showed you to now swap out different food items that are similar in macronutrients and calories, making it easier to stick to a healthy diet long-term.

Book a call with our Wellness Coordinator to learn more