How to Make Healthy Choices

Living a healthy lifestyle is all about making choices. You choose to be active. You choose to eat vegetables. You choose to limit your sugar intake. Sometimes it can be tough to make the right choice or know what the right choice even is. Here you can find some healthy substitutes for current choices you might be making!

High-Sodium Foods

There is not enough evidence to establish a Recommended Dietary Allowance for sodium, however, there is an adequate intake. The AI for men and women older than 14 years is 1,500 mg per day and should not exceed 2,300 mg per day. Unfortunately, the American diet makes it easy to overconsume sodium resulting in high blood pressure. High blood pressure is a risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease. The average American’s daily sodium intake is 3,400 mg.

Instead ofTry this
Seasoning saltsHerbs and salt-free seasoning
Adding table salt to foodFresh herbs, spices, onion, garlic
Lunch meatLow-sodium lunch meat, home-cooked meat with no added salt
Regular soups and brothLow-sodium soups and broth
Canned beansUnsalted or low-sodium canned beans
Soy sauceCoconut aminos, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, herbs
Salted nutsUnsalted nuts

High-Sugar Foods

Sugar is readily available in the American diet. The American Heart Association recommends limiting the amount of added sugar to no more than half of your daily discretionary calorie allowance. That is no more than 6 teaspoons, 25 grams, or 100 calories for women and 9 teaspoons, 36 grams, or 150 calories for men. Foods high in sugar may lead to unwanted weight gain, unstable blood sugars, and dental cavities.

Instead ofTry this
Soda or lemonadeWater, Zevia, or unsweetened tea
Flavored coffee beveragesSugar-free flavored coffee beverages
Honey, syrup, or sugarCinnamon, vanilla or almond extract, stevia
Flavored yogurtPlain yogurt with fresh fruit
Sugar added to recipesStevia, Splenda, or use less than what the recipe calls for


Grains are an important part of a balanced diet. It is important to make at least half of your grains whole. Grains are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and when whole, they are packed with fiber.

Instead ofTry this
White flour½ white, ½ wheat, or all wheat flour
White riceBrown rice, wild rice, quinoa
White pastaWhole wheat pasta
Instant oatmeal packetsWhole oats, steel cut oats

Other Substitutes

Instead ofTry This
Potato chipsBakes chips, veggie chips, whole wheat crackers
Dried fruit and juiceFresh whole fruit
Iceberg lettuceDark leafy greens
Croutons and bacon bits on saladsNuts, fruits, and seeds on salads
Creamy salad dressingOlive oil-based vinaigrettes

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