5 Simple Ingredient Swaps for a Healthy 2016

January 5, 2016

Nearly half of all Americans make a New Year’s resolution, while only eight percent are able to see their annual pledges through to completion. The most common resolutions? Lose weight, get fit and eat healthier. No surprise there, right? Perhaps you’ve made some of these yourself and are now daunted as to how to make the changes stick. Well, we can help.

Step 1: start small. It’s a total system shock to completely cut out sweets and fatty foods that you’re used to. It’s also a recipe for failure, as it’s too drastic a change to maintain. Keep your resolutions by making simple ingredient swaps that put you on an easier path to success. Here are some easy, healthier switches we at Green Valley love that don’t skimp on the flavor.

Use beans, oats and veggies instead of some red meat for burgers
Red meat isn’t the worst for you, particularly if it’s lean, however, beans, oats and veggies are far better for you. Try this the next time you’re plating up patties: combine 6 ounces of 90% lean ground beef with a mixture of organic Green Valley Dark Red Kidney Beans (1 can), ½ a cup raw mushrooms, 1 medium onion (minced), one ½ cup rolled oats and a tablespoon of tomato paste to add some color. Make the burgers up to a day in advance and put them in the fridge. Allow the meat to return to room temperature before cooking over medium heat in a cast-iron skillet. Season to taste and serve with your favorite burger toppings. You’ll end up with a beefy-taste, and the same consistency and texture as though you’d only used meat, but you’ll have less fat, sodium and more nutrients in each bite.

Combine bananas, eggs and peanut butter to make healthy, gluten-free pancakes
All you need are those three ingredients to elevate your griddle game to win over the pickiest of palates. Start with two over-ripe bananas, all mashed up, add two eggs and a ½ cup of peanut (or almond) butter and whisk it all together. If you’re feeling adventurous, give it a quick hit of cinnamon, but it’s not necessary. Cook ‘em on a greased pan over low-medium heat. Garnish with fresh banana slices, walnuts and a drizzle of honey and you’ve got a high-protein, healthy breakfast in minutes.

Swap cheese with black beans
Ready to cut the fat in your favorite Mexican dishes? Ditch half the required cheese in any dish and replace it with organic Green Valley Black Beans mashed similarly to refried beans. They’ll have a creamy, gooey, cheese-like consistency that your taste buds will easily mistake for high-fat dairy products.

Use frozen bananas instead of ice cream
Seriously. Take two frozen, peeled bananas – cut into 1-inch chunks – and blend in a food processor or blender for several minutes until smooth and creamy. It’ll look as thick and rich as vanilla ice cream, and you’ll forego all the added sugar and fat. Want chocolate ice cream? Drop in 2-3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder into the processor. Serve immediately.

Spritz up seltzer water instead of soda
Even diet soda is bad for you, so skip the sugary, processed fizzy pop all together and make your own healthier, bubbly beverage. Use club soda or seltzer water as your base and drop in some cucumber or mint to give it a zesty kick. Or opt for citrus juices for a cleaner tangy drink. A little drop of orange juice or lemon and lime and you’ve got a seriously healthier version of popular soda flavors.

See? Nice and easy. At Green Valley we believe healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard or bland to be effective and you won’t miss any of those pesky preservatives, additives or unpronounceable ingredients either. The best part? These simple swaps will have you on your way to a brand new resolution in 2017. Good luck!