Most of you would know that I’m a huge fan of grocery shopping and can spend hours at Whole Foods discovering healthy food products. Every day, the food industry launches new and exciting items that claim to be healthier and better than there traditional counterparts. Even though most of us buy into the “health” claims and pick up these products while rushing through the grocery store, does not make them the best choice. Just because terms like ‘natural’ and ‘reduced fat’ are slapped on food items in big, bold letters, that does not mean that they may be healthy at all. I always emphasize to my clients the importance of reading nutrition labels before purchasing any product. This will help to make smarter choices instead of getting influenced by claims and marketing gimmicks. I’ve put together a list of common refrigerated food items, things to look out for on their nutrition labels/ingredients, and healthier items to buy instead!
Below you will find fridge food swaps that I personally have my clients swap out during our nutrition sessions.
Cow’s Milk vs Plant-Based Milk:
This is not a great buy because cow’s dairy (that is not organic or grass-fed) can be packed with hormones and antibiotics. When the cows are fed antibiotics, hormones, and other medications, this directly transfers into the human body once consumed. According to One Green Planet, these hormones stimulate a high increase of insulin and trigger the release of IGF-1 (insulin growth factor) which is linked to acne and many cancers. For more information on dairy and why I like to use plant-based milk instead, click here. Even though the milk’s fat has been reduced to 2%, the carbs are still quite high, coming in at 12 grams per cup which is equivalent to 1 slice of bread.
This is a way better alternative to dairy milk. Cows dairy is highly inflammatory and can leave us feeling bloated and gassy. Almond (nut) milk is a tasty and wholesome option. This plant-based milk provides 50% more calcium than cows milk. Containing no added sugars, no saturated fat, there is only 1g of carb per cup. A much better option for not only your health but for your waistline as well! Dairy milk contains 103 calories per cup while a cup of Unsweetened Coconut Milk contains just 45! You can easily make dairy-free milk yourself – read my article here on how to make your own nut milk!
Conventional Beef vs Grass-Fed Beef
This ground beef is 80% lean, 20% fat.
280 calories, 22g Fat, 9g Sat Fat, and 80mg sodium.
Beef should be avoided if it is not grass-fed. This means that the cow has been fed grains, given antibiotics, growth hormones, and other medications. Eating this meat can transfer those substances directly into our bodies and eventually make us sick!
This ground beef is 93% lean, 7% fat. It is a much better alternative to grain-fed beef. It is lower in calories and saturated fat. Saturated fat can cause concern when it comes to maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol. Grass-Fed Beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids and in CLA, the essential fatty acid, which helps us burn fat. Try my recipe of gnocchi with grass-fed beef bolognese – it is to die for!!
Vegan Butter vs Goat Butter
Supermarkets now offer a variety of vegan spreads and it can be confusing with all the different options. Most vegan butters contain palm oil, additives, colorings and have a high sodium content. Some brands even have over 20 ingredients in them, SO unnecessary. Vitalite Dairy Free Spread, for example, is made with palm oil, emulsifier – E471, natural flavorings (what exactly is natural flavors? It could mean anything!), preservatives and colorings. If you are plant-based then look for butter that is free of additives. One such is Miyoko’s – contains only 6 ingredients and no palm oil.
For those of you who can tolerate goats dairy (closest to mother’s milk & easier on digestion), then goat butter can be your new go to. Barely containing any lactose it is a viable option for people who are lactose intolerant. According to Science Direct, goat butter is high in calcium and fatty acids but low in cholesterol and doesn’t cause inflammation (like butter from cows does). As the general rule applies – look for one that’s free of hormones and GMO. The Riviera goat butter is made purely of organic goat’s milk and tastes divine. It has only 2 ingredients and you can try it in my Carb Free Mushroom Risotto with Scallops!
Dairy Cream Cheese vs Non-Dairy Cream Cheese
This cream cheese has many ingredients that are not Nedi approved. Modified food starch, whey protein concentrate and 3 other milk products that are not organic or grass-fed which means they are packed with hormones and antibiotics. As talked about before, milk products like these have endocrine disrupting substances. Most of the commercially available brands are made with hydrogenated oils. These oils are essentially trans fats – harmful fats linked with cardiovascular disease.
Kite Hill is a brand that I use, love, and trust. They have a variety of vegan cream cheeses in delicious flavors like chive to jalapeño. Kite Hill uses ingredients that we all know and can pronounce (No BS!!!). There are only 6 ingredients, no fillers or artificial preservatives.
70 calories and 6g of fat in 2 tablespoons which is more than enough! Try my delicious smoked salmon bagel!
Coffee Creamer vs Dairy Free Creamer
Coffee-Mate Creamer is made with SO many artificial flavorings, sugar, canola oil, carrageenan, and the list goes on. Carrageenan has been linked to autoimmune diseases and is known to be a major gut disruptor. Drinking this creamer will not only create digestive issues but it can even harm your health in the long run. It also has 35 calories and 5 grams of carbs per tablespoon. It may not seem like much, but no-one really pours themselves a tablespoon. Most people like their coffee creamy and will consume at least 3 tablespoons which is equivalent to a slice of bread.
This plant-based creamer is rich and full of flavor! It contains no hydrogenated oils, additives, artificial ingredients, and all the other nonsense. It also contains fewer calories, carbs, and sugar than a dairy creamer. One serving has 10 calories and 0 grams of sugar! It is a much better choice for you without compromising taste. Try adding this creamer to a matcha latte or black coffee.
White Bread vs Ezekiel Bread
Wonder bread is marketed as “nutritious” but there is nothing nutritious about it. It contains more than 20 ingredients that are impossible to pronounce including high fructose corn syrup – one of the most processed ingredient in America that has been linked to so many health issues. High on the glycemic index charts, high fructose corn syrup will spike up your blood sugar levels and leave you feeling hungry. With no fiber and just 2 grams of protein per slice, wonder bread is basically just refined flour and sugar.
I mean it when I say that Ezekiel bread is one of the best bread I have ever tried. Made using organic sprouted wheat, barley, millet, soybeans etc. Food For Life has gluten-free options available as well for people with gluten sensitivities. Ezekiel is diabetic friendly, contains all nine essential amino acids, 4 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein per slice! It comes in many flavors such as raisin honey, but double check for no added sugar. The bread tastes delicious and crunchy just by itself, but can also be made into a wholesome meal in my Avocado Toast or Egg and Cheese Toast.
Ranch Dressing vs. Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Dressing
Stick to a salad dressing that has 50 calories or less per serving, which is about 2 tablespoons. This dressing has 140 calories per serving – way too high! The fat content is extremely high as well, coming in at 14 grams per serving. If your goal is to lose weight, you should aim for your total fat to be around 33 grams per day. If you were to have a salad with dressing, goat cheese, and avocado, you would already max out your daily fat intake in just one meal. Not only is this dressing a calorie bomb, but the ingredients are also so overly processed that it can have a negative impact on your health.
This vegan dressing contains only 2 grams of fat and 20 calories per serving! It has clean ingredients such as avocado, apple cider vinegar, green onion, lemon, chives, and olive oil. It tastes incredible and you can try it with my super green salad or grilled chicken.
Processed Lunch Meat vs. Organic Turkey Meat
Very processed with 17 ingredients, some of them including sugar, modified corn starch, dextrose, maltodextrin, and nitrates. Studies have shown an increased risk of cancer with consumption of deli meats that are non-organic. These products contain so many artificial ingredients and come from animals that were given antibiotics, growth hormones, and other medicines. A serving of this turkey provides you with 80 calories, 5 grams of fat, 8 grams of protein and 550 mg of sodium.
This is a much better option as the turkey meat is organic and doesn’t contain any GMOs or antibiotics. It is made out of only 6 clean ingredients and the nutritional value is much better in comparison to the turkey meat above. A serving provides you with 50 calories, 0 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, and 380 mg of sodium. Try adding this organic turkey to my hangover cure sandwich.
Plain Yogurt vs. Coconut Yogurt
Don’t let the “low fat” marketing label fool you into thinking this is a “healthy” option. Made with conventional milk that is non-organic, not grass-fed, and cane sugar. These processed ingredients are can lead to inflammation in the body. One serving of this yogurt has 13 grams of sugar and 16 grams of carbs which is equivalent to a slice of white bread.
I love this coconut yogurt! It doesn’t have an overpowering taste of coconut and it isn’t sweet at all. It actually has a nice tangy taste to it and I make a killer vegan tzatziki with it. Made with simple and clean ingredients, this yogurt has 0 grams of sugar and contains 3 grams of fiber per serving!
I hope this helps guide you through your next grocery shopping spree! The most important rule is to be MINDFUL of what you buy. Whenever I’m in a hurry, I tend to shop with less thought. ALWAYS give yourself enough time to look over labels and make the right #HealthywithNedi approved choice.
Some general rules when shopping:
- Minimally processed
- Free of additives
- Free of colorings
- Free of chemicals
- Non GMO
- Buy Organic
Let’s take this step together to not be deceived by frivolous health claims and be mindful about we put into our beautiful bodies!