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/ Source: TODAY
By Jessica Sepel

When people think about healthy eating, they often think about all the things they have to give up: cookies, muffins, alcohol, chocolate, ice-cream, pasta — the list goes on! As a nutritionist (you can learn more about me here), I’m here to tell you that you CAN enjoy your favorite foods, all while living a healthy life.

Repeat after me: No diets or deprivation. Just balance and moderation.

My food philosophy is all about balance. I advocate eating all kinds of food — it just comes down to making more nutritious choices when possible. In my lifestyle, nothing is off the menu.

Check out Jessica's meal plan here

The body responds to what we do most of the time — not some of the time. The trick is to make healthy choices most of the time and indulge moderately in your favorite foods.

It’s also beneficial to make healthy swaps when possible. I love making healthier versions of my favorite indulgent foods. In fact, the healthier versions can really hit the spot! I love wine, gelato and pasta in particular. While I still treat myself to these foods, I find that the healthy versions make me feel so much better — no more bloating or energy crashes!

When you start to embrace the healthy life, your taste buds adapt, and you’ll begin craving the healthier options that don’t contain refined sugar. For example, this banana nice-cream is delicious!

When it comes to healthy swaps, the key is to adapt your ingredients. Swap white flour for coconut flour. Swap white sugar for coconut sugar or Stevia. Swap flavored soda for homemade vitamin water.

Here are some healthy swaps for your favorite foods:

Dinner side swaps

  • Cauliflower/sweet potato mash (instead of potato mash)
  • Brown rice pasta or zoodles (instead of white pasta)
  • Brown or basmati rice (instead of white rice)
  • Brown or seeded bread (instead of white bread)

Drink swaps

  • Sparkling water with lime or coconut water (instead of soda)
  • Red wine or spirits with lime (instead of cocktails)

Snack swaps

  • Fresh mixed berries (instead of hard candy)
  • 70-80 percent dark chocolate (instead of milk chocolate)
  • Homemade trail mix (instead of salted nuts)
  • Kale or veggie chips and hummus (instead of potato chips)

Dessert swaps

To learn more from Jessica Sepel, check out her website, or follow her on Instagram. For more simple tips on how to improve your diet and fitness, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.