They say it takes 21 days to break a habit, and while the jury may still be out on that, it's only three weeks = worth a try.
While going without the nectar of the gods (AKA Diet Coke) for close to a month may seem like hell on earth, it's a small price to pay to kick the addiction in the name of better health.
Here, Jacqueline offers 21 healthier food swaps you can make in your own pantry to kick some not-so-great food habits in 21 days. It's not about going without, it's about replacing certain foods with their nutrient dense cousins.
Sugar. Swap it for rice malt syrup.
Rice malt syrup is better than sugar because it provides a great natural and unrefined, sweetening alternative without an overload of the fructose we typically find in white, brown, table and caster sugar.
Vegetable oil. Swap it for coconut oil when cooking.
Coconut oil is better to cook with than vegetable oil as it has a high smoking point, making the fats more stable -- and contains valuable anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
White flour. Swap it for gluten free flour alternative.
Gluten free flour is better than plain white flour because gluten has an inflammatory effect in the gut and can reduce the absorption of other vital nutrients.
White rice. Swap it for quinoa.
Quinoa is better than white rice because it has a wonderful nutrition profile and is particularly high in protein
White wine vinegar. Swap for apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is better than wine based vinegars because the apple base contains a rich source of polyphenols (antioxidants) known to reduce the effect of stress within the body.
Wheat crackers. Swap for seed and vege crackers/snaps.
Seed and vegetable snaps are better than wheat crackers as they increase the vegetable based nutrition in our day and are a great gluten free alternative.
Commercial muesli. Swap for rolled oats mixed with nuts, spices and organic dried fruits or simply fresh fruits.
Rolled oats made into a home granola or muesli are better than pre-packed muesli/granola as they contain less sugar, and you can tailor them best to your needs. They’re far more economical too.
Commercial chocolate. Swap for raw chocolate.
Raw chocolate is better than commercially produced chocolate because it is incorporates beautiful whole food ingredients such as coconut oil, raw cacao and spices. These ingredients are rich in minerals, antioxidants and enzymes and are wonderful for energy, mood and libido!
Wheat pasta. Swap for rice, buckwheat, quinoa or legume based pasta.
Rice, buckwheat, quinoa or legume based pasta are better than wheat based pasta as they are gluten free and offer superior plant based nutrition and protein sources than plain wheat pasta.
Packet muesli bars. Swap for a small handful of nuts and seeds, bliss balls -- or bake your own.
Raw nuts and seeds as a snack are better than muesli bars because they contain essential fats, proteins and no sugar, versus packaged muesli bars which are often loaded with sugars and are often low in nutrition.
Vegemite. Swap for a mix of tamari and tahini.
Whilst vegemite is an Aussie favourite, it’s also quite high in sodium, which can deplete the nutrition from the body. A combination of tahini and tamari is better than Vegemite as it tastes so similar yet contains a great source of minerals such as calcium and magnesium and B vitamins.
Table salt. Swap for sea salt or Himalayan crystal salt.
Sea salt is better than table salt as the mineral status is much higher than processed table salt
Bottled sauces. Swap for simple combinations of fresh or dried herbs and spices to season foods.
Bottled sauces and condiments are the pantry culprits for sugars, additives and preservatives our bodies don’t need, whilst fresh herbs and spices add quality phytochemicals (plant nutrition) to our diet.
Instant coffee. swap for freshly brewed plunger coffee, green tea or dandelion tea.
Instant coffee is considerably higher in caffeine than freshly brewed coffee. Green or dandelion tea are the ultimate goal to swap for coffee as they contain antioxidants and qualities to improve the bodies detox pathways.
Poppers. Swap for fresh vegetable juices or smoothies.
Fruit juice packs are on par with soft drinks in sugar content. We lose the fibre of the fruit and a number of other essential nutrients once fruit juice is prepared for tetra paks, so you’re best with a freshly squeezed vegetable juice or make a blend of your own as a smoothie.
Soft drinks. Swap for sparkling water with lemon, lime, orange or pomegranate.
Sparkling water is better than soft drinks as it will hydrate, where many soft drinks deplete hydration. Add a touch of lemon, lime, orange and pomegranate and you have natural beautiful flavours coming from fresh fruits instead of artificial flavours.
Peanut butter. Swap for pure nut butter or a natural peanut butter without added vegetable oils.
Commercial peanut butters contain a considerable amount of vegetable oil and sodium. Natural nut butters, made purely from almonds, brazil nuts and cashews and without any added nasties, give the body beautiful nutrition from omega 3 fats and amino acids. If peanut butter is still your craving, simply look for ‘natural’ peanut butters and check the ingredient list to ensure there is no added oils or salt
Nutella. Swap for raw cacao mixed with almond butter, or make your own with roasted hazelnuts, raw cacao, maple and coconut milk.
Whilst Nutella can be a family favourite and claims to be a hazelnut spread, it is predominantly sugar and oil. You can make your own delicious alternative with almond butter, maple syrup and raw cacao powder that offers far greater nutrition.
Potato chips. Swap for rice crackers.
Rice crackers (seaweed or plain) are better than potato chips as they are lower in saturated and trans fats, which increase risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cookies. Swap for bliss balls or bars.
Bliss balls are a great swap for biscuits or cookies as they combine natural nuts, seeds, and fruits which offer your body high quality energy and nutrition in a snack, where packaged biscuits or cookies typically will not. Sorry!
Sweetened dried fruits. Swap for organic dried fruit or fresh fruit.
You’re only human to have a craving for fruit, but fresh fruit or organic dried fruit is better than sweetened dried fruits as they do not contain added sugars or sulphites used to preserve regular dried fruits.