health & wellness

Nine Diet Swaps to Prepare For Summer

Sheena Joseph | Feb 26 2021

Summer is around the corner and the scorching heat is not easy on the body. However, you can cope better by making some changes to your diet. Adapting to an entirely new diet may seem difficult. This is why you can choose diet swaps. Replacing one food item with a healthier alternative will eventually result in a better lifestyle. You do not have to adapt all of them at once. Here are some of the diet swaps that make you feel better in a few days.

1) Refined Carbs to Whole Grain Versions

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Whole grains are easier on the digestive system than refined carbs. Refined carbs have no fibre or nutrients. Regular consumption of it can lead to constipation and a general decline in health. Whole grains have the nutrition-packed bran, germ, and endosperm. Your best options are the minimally-processed whole grains - brown rice, oats, and quinoa. You must skip white bread, pasta, cereals, and pastries for the summer. If you are used to eating bread or pasta, try making them at home with a whole grain four. This will give you control over ingredients as well as quantity. Popcorn is a healthy option for those who enjoy snacking during the day.

2) Fried Foods to Fruits and Vegetables

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Fried foods are your enemy for the next few months. They are equally bad for your physical and mental health. These greasy foods can quickly lead to bloating, cramps, stomachache, and diarrhea. They can also affect your gut microbiome and affect your weight regulation as well as immune response. Instead of eating fried foods as evening snacks, go for fruits and vegetables. They will nourish your body and fill your stomach. It is always better to choose water-rich foods like watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumber, zucchini, oranges, lettuce, tomatoes, spinach, and bell peppers in the summer because eight glasses of water are simply not enough.

3) Tea and Coffee to Green Tea

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Coffee and tea are not bad for the body as long as you drink them in moderation. However, too much caffeine can have unpleasant side effects like dehydration. You may also experience insomnia, digestive issues, muscle breakdown, and exhaustion. And summer is not the time for these effects. An easy way to deal with this risk is to switch to green tea. You do not have to skip your morning coffee or tea. However, limit the consumption to one cup. Green tea is an incredibly healthy alternative that comes with many health benefits. Green tea is a highly recommended summer drink because it is unfermented. It will satiate the thirst and help with detox. You can drink up to three cups of green tea.

4) Chips to Charred Vegetables and Fruits

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Chips are high in trans-fats. Your body never benefits from trans-fats. They will support obesity and increase the risk of health problems. One of the fun alternatives for chips is charred vegetables and fruits. You can experiment with any fruit or vegetable as charring adds a smokiness to the otherwise sweet foods. Some fruits and vegetables that are delicious after charring are avocados, kale, spinach, artichoke, bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, grapes, lettuce, nectarines, apples, and beetroots. You can also add these to toasts or salads to make them more interesting. A spicy drizzle on top of them can elevate them to a meal too.

5) Meat to Plant-Based Proteins

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Summer is not the best time to indulge in the non-vegetarian fare. Foods like chicken and red meat can generate heat in the body. However, you need to find another source of protein in the summer. It is easier than you imagine because plant-based proteins are already there in your kitchen. Some of the easily found plant-based proteins are lentils, chickpeas, tofu, peanuts, almonds, and quinoa. If you want to take it one step further, go for tempeh, edamame, spirulina, and mycoprotein. These are not only excellent sources of protein but contain fewer calories.

6) Butter to Olive Oil

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Butter is not the best form of fat to use in cooking. It is a high saturated fat that can increase cholesterol content in the body. Olive oil, on the other hand, is one of the best oils for health. As long as you are not baking, feel free to swap butter for olive oil. It is rich in omega fatty acids, oleic acid, and good fats. It also has large amounts of antioxidants and active compounds with anti-inflammatory properties. Olive oil is also highly resistant to heat and does not oxidise or go rancid.

7) Fried Foods to Toasted Nuts

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Snacking on fried foods is a hard-to-shake habit. The only escape is to find healthier alternatives. And it does not get better than toasted nuts. It definitely beats foods like biscuits and cake which are filled with sugar and fat. Nuts are filling snacks that contain high amounts of nutrients. Some nuts to choose from are almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pecans, macadamia nuts, brazil nuts, and hazelnuts. However, you should eat them in moderation as they have high-fat content. Chestnuts are lower in all types of fats and higher in carbs.

8) Sugar Foods to Fruit Bowl

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Summer may seem like the time for ice creams and candies and fruit popsicles. But they cannot be more wrong for your body. They generate more heat in your body, elevates blood sugar level, and supports obesity. Some high sugar foods you must avoid in the summer are syrups, flavoured frozen yoghurt, barbecue sauce, store-bought salad dressings or dips, and bread. Your best option is to choose natural sugar over artificial sugar. This is why a sugar bowl can always satiate your cravings. Some fruits to keep in the store are oranges, pineapples, papaya, grapes, berries, dates, fresh figs, and apples.

9) Fruit Juice to Buttermilk

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Fruit juices are full of natural sugars which is better than table sugar. However, turning to fruit juice every time you are thirsty is no good. If you are not a fan of drinking water all the time, buttermilk can be a suitable alternative. Buttermilk is not only great for quenching thirst but it nourishes the digestive system. It also strengthens bones, improves oral health, lowers cholesterol levels, and regulates blood pressure.