In an ideal world, we'd all be eating fresh vegetables and clean sources of protein at each meal. The problem is, most of us are constantly on the move and often resort to convenience when it comes to our out-of-the-house meals and snacks. Because, hey, grilled chicken and green beans don't exactly hold up well in the gym bag. But just because you've got to grab something fast doesn't mean it has to be filled with fat, sugar, and sodium. The next time you're forced to choose packaged over fresh, here are a few suggestions for healthier swaps.
The world of energy drinks is a scary one. Most cans you find at the convenience store are full of unnatural ingredients you can’t pronounce and probably shouldn’t be putting in your body. While a cup of green tea or a straight shot of ginger would be the most natural and healthiest way to get a boost of energy, it’s not always an option, which is where EBOOST comes into play. The berry-melon energy shot contains 74 seaweed-derived trace minerals, citamins, antioxidants, green tea, green coffee been extracts, and coconut water. It comes in a convenient 2-ounce shot that you can grab and take with you anywhere.
Unless you’re an elite athlete, you don’t need to be guzzling traditional sports drinks after everyday workouts. They’re full of unnecessary calories and often contain sugar your body doesn’t need. Coconut water is often referred to as “nature’s sports drink,” and you should use it as such. It contains essential electrolytes—600 milligrams of potassium per bottle—that you lose during sweat sessions. Plus, it's much lower in calories than traditional post-exercise elixers. Even better, Taste Nirvana coconut water tastes like candy—it's almost too good to be true.
Oatmeal is in every way a power food and one of the best ways to start your day. However, once you put premixed instant oatmeal packets into the pile, you’re pretty much negating its health benefits. So many store-bought oatmeal packets contain copious amounts of sugar, and like we’ve pointed out before—your body doesn’t need it. This doesn’t mean you have to forgo the convenience of instant oats, just choose a little more wisely. Opt for unflavored oatmeal packets or better yet, reach for Vigilant Eats. The cereals are all gluten-free, low glycemic, and contain absolutely no soy, dairy, additives, preservatives or refined sugar. All the ingredients are organic, too. It doesn’t get much cleaner than this. All you have to do is tear the lid off and pour cold or hot water or milk into it and stir. On average, each flavor only contains around 6 grams of sugar.
You don’t need to have a sweet tooth for this food swap to be relevant. Cacao powder is one of the most potent superfoods on the planet. It’s full of antioxidants, magnesium and iron. This raw version is a healthier alternative to conventional (often over-processed) cocoa. Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder is free of any sugar or fillers and works well in smoothies, desserts, ice cream or anything else you prefer a little chocolaty. Use it in place of regular cocoa powder, hot chocolate packets, or even chocolate syrup if that’s your thing. Just remember, this is its purest state so it will be a little bitter. Opt for a natural sweetener like stevia or honey to enhance flavor.
It’s OK to buy pre-cooked meat, however, it’s vital that you choose wisely. Instead of buying pre-cooked meats that are stuffed with preservatives and sodium, check out Bilinski’s organic chicken sausage. On average they’re 100 calories per link and have an impressive 13 grams of protein. All you need to do is throw them on the skillet for a few minutes and they’re ready to eat. Try the hot Italian flavor—it’s got all the same taste as traditional spicy Italian sausage but only a fraction of the fat and calories.
Regular pasta isn’t necessarily the devil, but it doesn’t really provide your body with much fuel, either. It’s a simple carb so it’s going to break down fast and quickly convert into sugar. A better option: quinoa. It’s got all the essential amino acids and is a complex carb that'll keep you fuller longer and also feed your muscles. Plain quinoa can be a bit boring, and cooking up a homemade sauce or a bunch of sides can be time-consuming. Instead, opt for a quinoa blend from Near East. The roasted red pepper and basil flavor is a combination of quinoa and long-grain brown rice. It comes with a flavor packet so you don’t need to worry about getting creative with your spices. You have the option of cooking it on the stove or in the microwave. Either way, you'll have a great tasting, healthy dish in less than 20 minutes.
Try: R.W. Knudsen Low-Sodium Organic Vegetable Juice
Bottled juice can be scary depending on which one you spring for. As a rule of thumb, any juice that contains fruit is also likely to contain a lot of sugar so try to avoid those when possible. A fantastic option for when you just need to guzzle something other than water—R.W. Knudsen’s Low Sodium Organic Veggie Juice. The first ingredient on the label is filtered water, followed by organic tomato paste. Tomato paste is one of the most potent sources of lycopene, which helps your body fight free radicals. Low sodium is also key here because many versions of vegetable juice contain stockpiles of salt. Last but not least: One serving sets you back only 60 calories.