Seven easy and healthy grocery store swaps
This post about healthy grocery store swaps is sponsored by Whole Foods Market 365. Thanks for supporting our sponsors.
It’s no secret that my food philosophy has always erred on the simple side. While I love to eat healthy, I’m not one to spend forever in the kitchen whipping up a 25-ingredient gluten-free vegan casserole, if you know what I mean. I like to buy food that is partially ready for me to cook/eat if possible too, because I’m not really a “made-from-scratch” gal, even though I like things to be healthy. How about you?
That’s why I’m so happy that grocery stores and food manufacturers have caught onto this and are providing so many easy and very healthy items, which are perfect for making a few swaps to kick up the nutritional content of your daily meals without much extra effort.
While I’m not saying you need to make all of these swaps (especially if you LOVE the food that I’m swapping out — life is too short to eliminate foods that you truly enjoy), but just a couple could be a great way to start cleaning up your grocery haul. I’m a total convert with all of these.
Seven easy and healthy grocery store swaps
Here we go …
1. Cauliflower rice swap for white or brown rice
Pre-made frozen cauliflower rice is a staple in our diets. I’ve been eating at least a bag or two a week for years, and I haven’t gotten sick of it yet. Ways to use it? As a substitute for rice, as a side dish, mixed into pasta, on top of a salad, basically however you want. It’s got a good texture and is made from a veggie, rather than a grain — more nutrients, less carbs, less calories.
Here’s how I prepare it …
- Coat a pan with some coconut oil spray and a little dollop of liquid coconut oil too.
- Add desired amount of frozen cauliflower rice.
- Turn up the heat to medium.
- Break up the large blocks of frozen cauliflower.
- Add sea salt and turmeric (optional, of course).
- Let it cook uncovered for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to desired level of crisp.
- Serve, top with whatever you want, and enjoy.
And every time you use cauliflower rice, you’re adding beneficial nutrients to your plate in the form of a cruciferous veggie, which provides antioxidants and valuable fiber too.
2. Hummus swap for mayo
I must be honest, I’m not a huge sandwich eater anymore, because I like to eat larger amounts of food with a fork. Sometimes sandwiches are too small for me (although I did pack a PBJ in my bag for the worst travel day ever back from Florida last week). However, I’m a big hummus person and often add it to the top of sprouted crackers or veggie burgers too. I happen to think hummus is a stand in for a lot of condiments.
Now, when it comes to mayo — most of the popular conventional varieties are so darn gross and unhealthy. So if you’re a major sandwich/mayo eater, try using hummus instead and see what you think. Don’t knock it until you try it.
Once again, hummus will add some nutrients to your plate in the form of fiber, protein and antioxidants as well from the chickpeas.
3. Bean pasta swap for white or wheat noodles
When I was pregnant, I ate bean-based pasta with cauliflower rice, eggs and marinara sauce on top about five nights a week, not a lie. I was carb and pasta obsessed, but wanted to kick up the nutritional value of my meals.
I continued to eat lentil or bean pasta a couple nights a week up until just a month or two ago. I decided to take a little break from this exact meal, because it took so many pans (one for the pasta, one for the cauliflower rice, one for the sauce and one for the eggs) and I wanted something even more simple with less to clean (we’re talking major laziness over here sometimes) …
However, I stand firm that bean or lentil pasta is one awesome creation as of late.
Bean or lentil noodles, or these Eat Banza chickpea noodles, are made from beans, which is a real protein, so the protein content is higher, they fill you up more and keep you full longer than regular pasta. Not to mention, they are gluten free and have less sugar too.
How do you cook them? Almost the same as regular noodles. Boil water, add sea salt, throw in the pasta and cook them until your desired consistency.
The taste is slightly bean-ish, but is easily covered by red sauce or your desired toppings, so you hardly notice the difference. I literally do not miss regular white pasta or even whole wheat pasta. I’m now a bean pasta gal through and through.
4. Sparkling water swap for fruit juice or soda
No real description needed for why you may not want to be downing fruit juice or soda, so we’ll just say that sparkling flavored water with minimal ingredients is a great go-to when you want flavor, but not sugar, nor calories.
This Whole Foods Market brand of Italian Sparking Mineral water is my absolute favorite, in nearly all flavors. I also like that it comes in a pretty glass bottle, because it seems fancy.
If you’re still drinking regular soda or conventional fruit juice on the regular, I hope you take a look at the label and consider some other options. Coconut water? Kombucha? Cold-pressed fresh juice without added sugar? There are other things to sip on.
5. Coconut oil swap for vegetable oil
With a name like vegetable oil, you’d think that would be the best option for your oil needs. Not so much though. Vegetable oils are some of the most processed oils, and they contain trans fats (pretty harmful to the bod), and are also known to cause inflammation. A lot of health experts suggest you swear off vegetable oils entirely if you can.
While vegetable oil is diverse and inexpensive, you can also do a lot of your cooking with coconut oil — a far cleaner and more natural option, because it’s nothing but oil from the coconut.
There was recently a study out saying that the saturated fat content in coconut oil is too high, and it’s not healthy. However, that study doesn’t give you the full picture, and a lot of health experts came out against that study. You see, from what I understand, the fat content in coconut oil acts differently in your body than other fat and helps support the good kind of cholesterol. It’s also been said that the MCT or medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil actually help your body to burn calories faster. I mean, who doesn’t want that?
It’s so diverse. You can use it on your skin, on your face, to coat your veggies before you roast them or a swap for veggie oil in the pan when you’re sautéing or cooking things at medium heat. Coconut oil does no wrong in my eyes. We’re constantly going through jars of it.
6. Dates swap for candy
Dates. We go through a box of dates each week. And before you tell me that dates are high in sugar and carbs, let me remind you that dates are a fruit. They are all natural. They are delicious. They are satiating. They have fiber, vitamins and minerals, and they help to keep you regular, if you know what I’m getting at.
Dates are one of my favorite fruits (second only to the banana, of course, another daily staple in my diet). That’s why, Dave and I eat dates as a sweet bite after meals rather than reaching for candy, and I can promise you that these coconut-covered dates are every bit as satisfying as a Reese’s cup. I really believe that.
So if you’re someone who likes to grab some chocolate after dinner, maybe try swapping out for some fancy dates here and there and see how it feels.
Don’t get me wrong, real desserts not made from fruit are an essential part of life (hello carrot cake and real ice cream), but if you’re looking to keep things a bit more natural, dates can be your best friend. I like to get the pitted version, by the way, and that’s always the case with the coconut-covered varieties.
You can also drop dates into smoothies for a little thickness or top plain dates with nut butter too. Lots of tasty options.
7. Stevia swap for artificial sweetener
It makes me cringe to think about the many years when I emptied three to four pink Sweet’n Low packets into my morning or afternoon cup of coffee. Ick. Sweet’n Low is as artificial as they come, made from saccharin, which is known to cause cancer and completely mess up your satiety signals and so much more. Splenda? Not much better.
What is better? Stevia. It’s made from a plant and is the most natural “artificial” way to sweeten your food or beverages.
I love the 365 Everyday Value line of Stevia Extract, because it’s got minimal ingredients and does just the right job at sweetening my morning tea.
Speaking of tea, I used to use more stevia than I do now, which I think is always a good thing. A little goes a long way. I also keep a few packets in my purse for mid-afternoon pit-stops for a tea or matcha latte on the go.
You can also get liquid stevia or flavored stevia, if that’s more your style. And you don’t have to feel bad about polluting your body with junk. Thank goodness.
And there you have it — some super simple healthy grocery store swaps — all of which are tasty and easy to incorporate into your life.
Whole Foods Market 365 in Concord
I picked all of these swaps up at my local Whole Foods Market 365 in Concord, just a short drive away from me.
The store, which is a newer concept from the Whole Foods Market family, has been open for business for a few months and has all sorts of delicious and healthy high-quality products at more affordable price points. Also, Amazon Prime members save more at Whole Foods Market 365 — it goes like this: You download the Whole Foods Market app or use your phone number to get an extra 10 percent off select yellow-tagged sales products and other Prime member deals too. Woohoo!
Whole Foods Market 365 seems to always have sales, and quite frankly, is a great shopping experience with the wide-open aisles and convenient grab-and-go items. There’s an Urban Remedy, Next Level Burger and taqueria in the Concord store as well, so you can dine in before or after you shop.
Take a look to see if a Whole Foods Market 365 is coming near you soon.
Until then, I’ll be over here eating … 🙂
Disclaimer: This healthy grocery store swaps post is sponsored by Whole Foods Market 365. I received compensation as well as a gift card for product, however, all thoughts and opinions are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands who support A Lady Goes West.
P.S. More simple food info? Check out this list of healthy store-bought snacks you can also buy at Whole Foods Market 365.Healthy grocery store swaps for QUICK and EASY eating over on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
What’s your favorite healthy food swap?
What’s for dinner tonight?
I love all of these healthy food swaps! I’ve been loving cauliflower rice in my lunches when I get sick of salads. And we had such an obsession with sparkling water I bought us a soda stream, I still buy some of the flavored waters occasionally though.
Now I just wish Whole Foods would come to Southern MD. I have to drive about 45 minutes to our closest one.
Hi Patricia! I remember when you said you bought a soda stream — that’s so cool. And wow — 45 minutes is a long drive to Whole Foods, but at least you can get to one. Totally worth it to stock up from there every once in a while. And YAY for cauli rice — we consume SO much of it over here. Happy Monday, lady!
I love all of these healthy food swaps and already to most of them, so I’m pleased to see that my choices get the ALGW stamp of approval!
I think I fall somewhere between you and the 25-ingredient gluten-free vegan casserole chef. I do enjoy splurging on a few things that are pre-made for me, Whole Foods organic grilled chicken breasts being one of them because #1 I don’t own a grill and #2 I’m not a man so grilling just is not in my wheelhouse, yet I enjoy grilled foods SO much. And for things like cauliflower rice, ain’t no way am I ricing that myself when it’s so easy to purchase pre-riced. I do, however, enjoy making some healthy, gluten-free baked goods. I find those items very hard to find pre-made without containing a ton of added ingredients. And I also think it is fun to bake because baking requires specific ingredients and amounts and I tend to follow directions well.
Hi Court! Yay for healthy swaps! That’s the thing — BAKING is more fun than cooking. I don’t take much time to bake, but I would rather do that then make a vegan casserole of savory items hehehe. And WFM organic grilled chicken is a GREAT thing to buy. Smart decision, lady! Happy Monday to you! 🙂
Grilling is actually quite easy, even for us feebleminded women.
hehhhe I’ve never tried it, but my Mom always did the grilling in our house growing up, so I know it’s not too scary heheh!
I just the Banza pasta yesterday & going to make it tonight for dinner! So excited & hope my picky husband likes it!
Hi Katie! Yay!! I hope he likes it! Just make sure not to overcook it, because it can get soggy! 🙂 Let me know how it goes!
Yay for PB&J on travel days 🙂 I did the same thing a few months ago on a travel day. I didn’t want to spend ridiculous money on an airport meal that would just make me feel gross anyways. I dream of the day a Whole Foods opening up closer to me. We have two (which are very close to each other) about an hour away, on the other side of town.
Hi Jessie! PBJ for the plane is always a good choice. I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to grab a meal during my layover, and I was very much right. And yes, it’s hard to find decent stuff at the airport to eat anyhow. Totally hoping for a new Whole Foods for you one day heehhe! Hope all is else is well, lady! 🙂