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You should aim to enjoy your food choices, just make them a bit healthier. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
You should aim to enjoy your food choices, just make them a bit healthier. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

These six easy food swaps can make a big difference for your health Add to ...

Being a trainer for over 15 years has definitively taught me there is no one-size-fits-all miracle health plan; everybody is different.

This probably sounds obvious. Most of us know that long-term success requires work and a realistic, individualized plan. The problem is, too many of us still fall into the trap of searching for that “perfect” program that will miraculously just “work.”

That miracle plan doesn’t exist. Even if someone else has supposedly found their miracle plan, that doesn’t make it your solution.

Instead of trying to dramatically overhaul your eating and lifestyle habits to fit someone else’s program, give your taste buds and life rhythms time to adjust; find simple, realistic and effective healthy substitutions.

Respect your life realities. Aim to live and enjoy your life – just a slightly healthier version. It starts with the most basic thing – what to eat.

Snacks

Instead of a granola bar that is high in fat and sugar, grab a hard-boiled egg.

They are low in sugar and high in protein, most convenience stores sell them, and, worst-case scenario, Starbucks has an egg in their protein box.

Better yet, carry healthy snacks with you; try hard-boiled eggs and cut up vegetables, or an apple and a few almonds.

Pasta

Instead of nutritiously vapid white pasta, have bean pasta, spiralized zucchini or spaghetti squash.

Bean pasta usually has over 25 grams of protein per serving. Combine with a ton of vegetables for an easy-to-assemble, healthy meal. Or invest in a spiralizer; make “pasta” with zucchini. Or try spaghetti-squash “pasta.” Cut the squash lengthwise and bake. Scoop out the stringy inside. Then top with nutritious sauce with lots of vegetables and protein.

Sweetener

Instead of sugar in your coffee, try cinnamon. Cinnamon is mildly strong and somewhat sweet, so it works well as a sugar substitute. As an added benefit, it is also healthy; it can help relieve nausea, vomiting and indigestion; is beneficial for the heart, lungs and kidneys; and can protect the body against diabetes since it drastically improves insulin’s ability to metabolize blood sugar.

Rice

Instead of rice, try cauliflower “rice.” Chop cauliflower in the food processor until it resembles rice. Steam it. Then load it with spices and toppings.

Muffins

Instead of a regular muffins, have egg “muffins.” Muffins are convenient but are often full of sugar and fat. Egg muffins are equally convenient but also nutritious. Make six or 10 mini “egg muffins” every Sunday and eat them through the week. Sauté vegetables and place them into separate muffin tins. Mix a bunch of eggs and pour roughly half an egg into each cup. Bake muffins in the oven, then voilà – a healthy breakfast you can grab as you walk out the door. When you have an extra minute enjoy the muffin with some avocado or whole grain bread.

Pizza

Instead of pizza, have egg “pizza.” Put egg whites and/or a few whole eggs in a pan. Bake until firm – that is your “pizza"” crust. Add pizza toppings — cheese, veggies, meat, etc – and bake until the toppings are cooked. You won’t be able to hold it like a real pizza, but the firm cooked egg is a perfect vehicle for pizza toppings.

Kathleen Trotter is a personal trainer, Pilates equipment specialist and author of Finding Your Fit. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter @KTrotterFitness.

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