Bowl of freshly cut tropical fruits as a healthy snack to regulate blood sugar levels.

1. Use Olive Oil Instead of Butter

Olive oil is a healthier alternative to butter.

Beyond the flavourful taste, olive oil has many benefits. It is rich in monounsaturated fat (good fats that can help to lower LDL cholesterol) instead of saturated fat (bad fats). It contains zero trans fat (also a kind of bad fats) and is free of cholesterol, sugar, salt, and gluten, making it a better alternative than butter for the heart. Studies found that dunking your bread in olive oil could cut your heart attack risk in just six weeks.

Related: The Oily Truth

2. Choose Salsa Over Cheese Dip

Choosing salsa over cheese dip is a healthy food swap.

Ready to dip those chips? You can still sauce things up without gaining that extra pound by choosing fresh salsa over cheese dip. Get creative and make your own chunky salsa with some tomatoes, onion, chili, and fresh herbs. This is an easy way to increase your daily vegetable intake and save you over 100 calories.

Related: How Dangerous Are My Potato Chips?

3. Opt for Mushroom Sauce, not Canned Gravy

Eat healthy by swapping gravy with mushroom sauce.

Canned gravy is high in sodium and it can cause more harm than good to your health when consumed excessively. According to Harvard School of Public Health, excess sodium can increase your blood volume and with it, the strain on your heart and blood vessels.

Mushrooms, on the other hand, are a good source of vitamin D and B which help increase your metabolism. Try to make a mushroom sauce by sautéing diced mushrooms and add about 1 cup of no-added-salt chicken stock with a tablespoon of sour cream. This adds creaminess and is much lower in calories compared to the regular gravy.

Related: Mushrooms! Mushrooms!

4. Swap the Pops for the Water Drops

Drink fruit-infused water instead of eating ice-cream.

Fruit-infused water is the perfect substitute for sugary drinks such as cordials, sweetened ice teas, soft drinks and fruit juices with added sugar. All you need to do is toss in some sliced fruits or vegetables into a glass pitcher with some ice and enjoy. Healthy eating is about making healthy food choices.

Related: How to Order Healthier Drinks

5. Popcorn for Potato Chips

Air-popped popcorn is a healthier alternative to chips.

If you cannot decide whether to get popcorn or chips, make a healthier food choice and grab that popcorn. However, the type of popcorn you choose does make a big difference. Skip the movie theatre buttery popcorn and opt for plain air-popped popcorn. Inexpensive and filling, it provides a better alternative for healthy eating.

The article “5 Food Swaps for Healthier Holiday” first appeared in Caring Magazine, issue 145, Nov/Dec 2016.

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