If devoting yourself to a total diet overhaul seems daunting, fear not.  There are a few quick fixes that can jump start your journey to better health without having to commit to a complete transformation.  Swapping out a few ingredients while making meals is an easy-peasy way to eliminate added calories.

Flour is used in many baked goods – from pancakes to birthday cakes and everything in between.  But, white, processed flour is made up of all kinds of unhealthiness.  A simple fix is to use whole wheat flour instead.  Grab whole wheat pasta and bread instead of white as well.  These yummy alternatives are much better for your diet.

In many tried and true recipes, you can swap butter for unsweetened applesauce and canola oil without even noticing.  Or, you can substitute the canola oil with flax seeds for an even healthier option.  Many baked goods will taste exactly the same, including your favorite cakes, brownies, and cookies, but will be far leaner than if they were made by the book.

Greek yogurt is an ingredient that can be used in a number of ways.  It’s chalked full of protein, probiotics, and calcium and is a heart healthy alternative that can be used in place of many less responsible choices.  You can serve Greek yogurt instead of sour cream for many delicious meals or use this to top your latest Mexican dish.  A container of nonfat yogurt and a dash of lemon will do it.  You’ll need one small container of nonfat yogurt and a lemon.  Make sure to stick with the naturally unsweetened version.  Sweeteners add unhealthy loads of sugar.

If you’re craving a burger, chili, or spaghetti, add ground turkey to your shopping cart.  This meat is leaner than hamburger and will help to reduce your risk of heart disease.  You should begin swapping many red meats with alternatives to increase overall wellness.

The next time you’re in the mood for a salad, instead of reaching for your more traditional greens, replace lettuce and romaine with more dense options.  Kale, spinach, and arugula will give you all the flavor you’re looking for while adding many more vitamins and minerals, as well as a hardy dose of protein, to the mix.

These are just a few of a whole host of better-for-you quick fixes the American Heart Association recommends swapping for less-than-great choices.  Replacing ingredients little by little is far less cumbersome than committing to a complete overhaul, and pretty soon, reaching for these ingredients instead will become second nature.

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