9 Dietitian-Recommended Healthy Swaps

Professional barista making latte art coffee

Written by Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD

Myth: Healthy food doesn’t taste good.

Fact: Healthy food is delicious and nutritious.

As a Registered Dietitian, I see many clients who are self-proclaimed picky eaters. They love cooking and enjoying food and don’t want to switch to ‘diet’ versions of food when they’re trying to make healthy lifestyle changes.

There are many healthy substitutions of food that we love. Read below for my shortlist of healthy swaps to try today!

1. Canola or Vegetable Oil –> Coconut Oil

Stir-frying or baking something? Rather than using canola or vegetable oil, give coconut oil a shot! I love using coconut oil on everything because it makes things taste tropical and slightly sweet.

Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are fats that are used effectively in your body. MCT oils are even used to help with digestion in the medical world – they’re commonly added to baby formula when babies have digestive problems.

MCTs may also support weight loss and metabolism [1], which is why people love making them a part of popular low-carb and keto diets.

Also, be sure to choose unrefined (virgin) coconut oil instead of the refined variety. Unrefined coconut oil is more flavorful and retains its nutrients since it’s made from unbleached, cold-pressed coconut. On the other hand, refined coconut oil has less of a tropical aroma and is often bleached and processed with chemicals.

virgin coconut oil

2. Baking Chocolate –> Unsweetened Cocoa Powder

Baking a sweet treat with chocolate, but don’t want to add unnecessary sugar? I’ve got a solution for you!

For every ounce of baking chocolate, try substituting it for 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. This swap works like a charm for brownies and cookies where you would normally add baking chocolate.

Each ounce of semi-sweet baking chocolate contains up to 15 grams of added sugar. With this swap, you’ll eat 0 grams of sugar. Plus, healthy flavanols in cocoa powder can help lower your blood sugars. [2] Now that’s sweet!

cocoa powder

3. Blended Coffee Drinks –> Cold Brew with Coconut Milk and Sweetener

Pumpkin spice lattes and caramel frappes are tasty, but oh-so-high in added sugar.

Instead of buying these blended drinks, try drinking some cold brew with coconut milk.

If you want to add a touch of sweetness, try a natural, low-calorie sweetener like allulose or monk fruit (by the way, allulose is the amazing sweetener used in Munk Pack Keto Granola Bars and Keto Nut & Seed Bars. Read more about it here).

Plus, cold brew tastes less acidic than regular coffee, so your drink is smooth and tasty!

healthy coffee swap

4. Deli Meat Sandwich –> Avocado and Veggies Toast

Regular deli meat is heavily processed and high in nitrates and nitrites. Nitrates and nitrites can contribute to health problems like cancer. Additionally, deli meat is high in sodium content, which can make you feel bloated.

Instead, try a piece of whole-grain toast and top it slices from a mini avocado, fresh arugula or spinach, and Everything Bagel Spice.

Avocados are rich in vitamins and healthy fats to raise your good cholesterol. They’re also high in fiber so that your net carb intake remains low and keeps you full throughout the day. [3] Despite being fruits, they’re well-suited for a keto diet!

If you’re watching your carb intake, you can omit toast from this recipe altogether and swap it with sliced cucumber or collard greens.

avocado veggie toast

5. Spaghetti & Meatballs –> Shirataki Noodles and Tempeh

Pasta is one of my favorites, but it’s so darn high in carbs, even if those carbs don’t come from added sugar. And, meatballs often contain breadcrumbs, which are loaded with carbs!

For a plant-based, lower carb dinner, you may want to try shirataki noodles with tempeh.

Shirataki noodles are made with konjac yam, which comes from Asia and is naturally low in carbs. Moreover, the carbs found in these noodles are mostly soluble fiber, which helps you feel full.

Tempeh is also an Asian-inspired and popular meat substitute made of fermented soybeans and high in protein. I’ve hidden tempeh in my husband’s pasta dishes before without him even realizing it’s not meat (shh!).

healthy pasta swap

6. Traditional or Boneless Chicken Wings –> Cauliflower Wings

With a little bit of almond flour, seasonings, and cauliflower heads, you can replicate this popular bar food.

Additionally, cauliflower is one of the only veggies allowed on the keto diet, since it’s low in carbs. One cup of cauliflower has 5 grams of total carbs and only 2.5 grams of net carbs.

You can either bake them in the oven or pop them into an air fryer. I prefer using my air fryer for these to get that crispy taste I love. With this swap, you can save calories, fat, and carbs all at the same time!

cauliflower wings

7. Standard Granola Bar –> Munk Pack Keto Granola Bar

Contrary to popular belief, granola bars can be very unhealthy! Popular granola bars out there are high in added sugars and carbs. The leading granola bar can consist of up to 12 grams of added sugar and 20 grams of carbs per serving.

What I love about Munk Pack Keto Granola Bars is that they have no added sugar, only 2 grams of net carbs, no grains, no high-intensity sweeteners, and are low glycemic index. Their nutrient profiles are superior because they consist of nutritious, better-for-you nuts and seeds instead of your typical oats.

Munk Pack Keto Granola Bars are chewy and delicious without all the guilt! They also come in a variety of tasty flavors that you’ll love.

munk pack keto granola bar

8. Potato Chips –> Lightly Salted Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, or Olives

Are you a salty snack lover but looking to cut back on the salt, calories, and carbs? Check out this simple hack.

For every bag of potato chips you crave, try keeping some lightly salted almonds, sunflower seeds, or olives around. They’ll meet your salty snack needs while providing you with essential nutrients.

Nuts, olives, and seeds are high in healthy fats that raise your good cholesterol. [4] [5] They’re also high in fiber, so you’ll only need a handful before you get full. Compare that to chips, where it’s so easy to eat the entire bag in one sitting (I’m guilty of this!).

nuts and seeds

9. Standard Snack Bar –> Munk Pack Keto Nut & Seed Bar

Unfortunately, the leading nut and seed snack bar has 4 grams of added sugar and 9 grams of net carbs. I’m not sure if this nutrient profile meets my standard for what’s considered healthy!

Fortunately, Munk Pack Keto Nut & Seed Bars have much better nutrition facts!

These sweet and salty bars only have 2-3 grams of net carbs (depending on the variety), less than 1 gram of sugar, no high-intensity sweeteners, and are keto-friendly.

munk pack keto nut and seed bar

The Bottom Line

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. There are many quick swaps to make your foods lower in sugar, plant-based, and delicious!

Check out some of my other low-sugar, keto-friendly snacks here. Not keto? Don’t worry, these snacks are great for anyone looking for nutritious foods that still taste great!

What’s your favorite healthy swap? Comment below and let me know!


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