6 Processed Food Swaps to Try Today

Carbs get a bad reputation in the world of weight loss and total-body health in general. But, one big thing most nutritional experts will tell you: They are incredibly vital. The real villain is something incredibly common that you are probably eating every day: processed foods.

“Carbohydrates are extremely important for a healthy diet,” says celebrity nutritionist Nilli Grutman. “Unfortunately, modern society is very nutritionally confused. Many people are led to believe that carbohydrates promote weight gain, bloating, fatigue and a slow metabolism, to name a few. This is nutritionally incorrect and most of this incorrect information is spread by food companies and outdated debunked nutrition research.”

But, what Grutman says is definitely, without-a-doubt bad for you? The processed carbs and processed foods. “These foods are detrimental because of the processing and chemical refining, the abundance of white or artificial sugars, the lack of vitamins and minerals, regardless of supplementation/fortification. You don’t have to swap carbs; you have to swap processed foods.” So, next time you want to reach for something with a bar code, try these easy-to-do options instead:

Instead of pudding or custards, try homemade chia seed berry pudding or avocado chocolate mousse (you can make it in the blender with half an avocado and a banana).

Instead of normal bread, refined or whole wheat, try sprouted multigrain.

Instead of chips or typically refined crackers, try rice cakes, sliced veggies, or whole multigrain crackers (Grutman recommends Mary Gone Crackers).

Instead of ice cream, try frozen bananas, frozen mangos, frozen figs, frozen grapes, etc. Put them in a blender for a frozen yogurt–like consistency.

Instead of granola bars, try a couple of dates and nuts.

Instead of pasta, try spaghetti squash or use a spiralizer to easily cut zucchini, carrots, squash, beets, cucumbers into spaghetti-like noodles.

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