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Unprocessed Food Swaps

Here are some easy ways to trade processed foods for healthier options.

It’s easy to grab packaged and processed foods that make for a quick meal when you’re in a rush. But processed foods are often low in nutrition. Luckily, there are many ways to swap in more nutritious foods at every meal without sacrificing time or flavor.

A better smoothie. If your breakfast is simply a glass of fruit juice or a packaged all-fruit smoothie, think about a more complex creation that is still sweet. Try ingredients like flax seed, kefir and nut butters to add in protein and fiber. For more fresh smoothie ideas, check out Mindful’s guide to building a better smoothie.

Bacon, egg and cheese. Breakfast on-the-go is often a reality of life. Instead of reaching for a bacon, egg and cheese, try a, high-fiber breakfast taco on your way to work. Can’t find a grab-and-go option? Prep scrambled eggs, a mix of veggies and beans the night before reheat the mixture to fold into a tortilla.

Deli sandwich. Deli sandwiches, such as roast beef or ham, are packed with high-protein beef, but often lack fiber and vegetables to round it out. Instead, start with a colorful, crunchy base and then top with steak or strips of roast beef. Need inspiration? Check out Mindful’s Asian steak salad.

White rice. You already know swapping white for brown rice can pack in more fiber and nutrients. But you can also mimic white rice with cauliflower, which provides more fiber in far fewer calories. Use a box grater or food processer until the cauliflower is the same size as rice grains. If you have time, leave it on a towel to remove any excess moisture. It can cook up in a pan with a little olive oil in under 10 minutes.

Spaghetti. Nothing is more comforting than a big bowl of noodles. Swap the pasta for spiralized zucchini or squash noodles, which you can make yourself or buy already prepared. Just like pasta, they cook up fast and can go with your favorite sauce.

French fries. Frozen French fries are an easy fix to round out any meal. But with an extra few minutes, you can create at-home sweet potato fries that are packed with beta-carotene, vitamin C and potassium. Simply cut into short, thin strips and toss with a little salt and cook on a lightly-oiled baking sheet for about 30 minutes in the oven, flipping half way through.

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Unprocessed Food Swaps

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