(BPT) – Americans are more concerned than ever before about living a healthy lifestyle. However, implementing dietary changes and adopting an exercise routine can prove to be overwhelming. A recent Gallup poll found that nine out of 10 consumers say they make it a point to try to include fruits and vegetables on their plates, but they are not necessarily succeeding.
“Simple everyday swaps can make the difference in achieving a healthy lifestyle,” says registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner, author of “The Flexitarian Diet.” “We live in a busy society, and no one diet fits all. Focus on small daily shortcuts that are realistic and will have a lasting impact.”
Try these quick and simple swaps, which can actually make a difference in realizing your goals:
- Boardroom conference vs. walking meeting: Swap your sedentary internal office meeting for a “walking meeting.” Instead of meeting in a conference room for 30 minutes, make a few trips around the office building and add a burst of physical activity to your day.
- Online shopping vs. mall: Switch up the routine and head back to the store. While online shopping has made life more convenient, it has eliminated another opportunity to realize the health benefits of walking.
- Gym vs. five-minute routine: Eliminate the guilt of missing a day at the gym. Do jumping jacks or crunches during television commercials. This five-minute routine burns calories and keeps you from mindlessly munching in front of the TV.
- Salad dressing vs. rice vinegar: Replace heavy salad dressing with a light vinaigrette. Simply whisk together NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar, garlic salt, mustard powder, sesame oil, sesame seeds and canola oil in a measuring cup. Pour over arugula and tomato halves for a delicious salad.
- Butter and oil vs. avocado: Instead of making your favorite baked goods with oil or butter, use mashed avocado. The substitution of avocado in baked goods helps increase their nutritional value and serves as a great alternative to ingredients that are high in saturated fat. Avocados offer a subtle flavor and creamy texture to any recipe.
- Mid-morning snack vs. almonds: Control hunger by eating a few almonds instead of the mid-morning pastry. A study published in the European Journal of Nutrition found that almonds helped control appetite and resulted in reduced calorie intake by the study participants.
Another simple swap is to incorporate healthier options into your afternoon snack routine and cut the fat. It’s an opportunity to start the week by adding a zesty flavor alternative into your diet. Look for recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, such as this Superfood Trailmix recipe.
Superfood Trailmix Recipe
Makes 2 cups
1 tablespoon NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
Dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raisins
In a small bowl, mix NAKANO Natural Rice Vinegar, honey, salt and cayenne. In a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat, warm oil and add the vinegar mix, almonds and chia seeds. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly, until all excess liquid is gone. Pour onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and let cool in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to set. Toss almonds with brown rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, and raisins.
Nutrition (1/4 cup): 110 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 6g sugar, 3g protein
Recipe created exclusively for Mizkan by Dawn Jackson Blatner at dawnjacksonblatner.com.