Have you ever gone on a trip and found out you’ve been UPGRADED?  Maybe it’s for a flight, car rental, or even your hotel room.  Everything feels like a treat … better seats, better ride, better sleep. 

Well … that’s what your body feels like when you UPGRADE your food choices.  When you STOP feeding it ultra-processed food and START giving it food that’s flooded with benefits (more fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.), your body feels like it got an upgrade!

Basically, it’s all about SWAPPING out things that block you from your results … and replacing them with foods that move you closer to your goals!

Here are just a few examples of upgrade swaps to try:

  • Chips → Nuts 

Why upgrade? Potato chips contain very little in the way of positive benefits for your results or your health. They’re high in sodium, usually contain unhealthy fats, and their refined carbs can send your blood sugar up.  Meanwhile, nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, and micronutrients your body needs.

Fun fact: people who regularly eat nuts are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease!

TIP: Portion control is everything. One serving of nuts equals about 1 oz., or about ¼ cup (38 grams). Savor each and every bite!

  • Cookies/Cakes/etc. → Dark chocolate

Why upgrade? You’re swapping out all the unhealthy refined ingredients (sugar, white flour, unhealthy fats) … and you’re replacing it with an ingredient that actually helps you!  The cocoa in chocolate contains flavanols, which (among other things) can help lower your blood pressure and improve how your blood vessels function.

Again, it’s all about moderation – 1 ounce (30 grams) equals 1 serving. 

  • Soda → Herbal Tea

Why upgrade? Most of us already get way too much added sugar.  The American Heart Associates suggests that women get no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar (24 grams) a day, and men, 9 teaspoons (36 grams).

But … get this!!!

A single 12-oz serving of soda contains 7-10 teaspoons of sugar. GROSSNot only that, but studies link diet soda to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.

Herbal teas are a MUCH better choice. Some (like chamomile) can help you relax, others (like peppermint) can energize you, and some just plain taste great! 

  • Steak → Salmon

Why upgrade? You’re swapping out saturated fats for healthier fats that protect your health.  Steaks, burgers, and hot dogs are all high in saturated fat that can raise your level of LDL (“lousy”) cholesterol that’s linked with heart disease.

Fatty fish like salmon and albacore tuna are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which most of us don’t eat enough of. These healthy fats lower how much fat is in your blood and cut back on plaque buildup in your arteries.

  • Pasta/Rice/Potatoes → Veggies … Especially Green Veggies!

Why upgrade? For starters, most of us don’t eat nearly enough veggies.  If your diet is heavy on starchy carbs (like pasta, rice, or potatoes), one of the easiest ways to get more is to swap out a serving (or 2!) for vegetables.

Starchy carbs contain a lot of calories for how many nutrients they contain. Plus, they can raise your blood sugar.  By swapping in veggies, you can boost your micronutrient intake AND reduce inflammation that contributes to disease. 

As you can see, upgrading your food choices has nothing to do with deprivation. It’s all about foods that taste great … and have great benefits. 

Small changes really can make a big difference in your results, and in your life.

REFERENCES:

www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-drinks/sugary-drinks/

www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-hearthealthy-food-swaps

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Rob is the owner and founder of Fitness Lifestyle Personal Training.

He has been training for over thirty-three years; seventeen of those years as a personal trainer helping others reach their goals.