woman holding pasta sauce

Upgrade Your Plate: Simple Food Swaps for Healthier Eating

By Melinda Maryniuk, MEd, RD, CDCES

As a dietitian, I am often asked, “What’s the best __ (bread, crackers, cereal…) for me to eat?” While there is no “best” option, we want to offer you some nutritious selections, and share some tips on how you can judge different foods for yourself. As a general rule – the fewer ingredients, the better, as it’s normally less processed. Look at the nutrition facts label, and aim to minimize sodium and saturated fat, while maximizing fiber. Certainly, taste is important. (If you don’t like it, don’t bother!) Price is also a consideration. With so many different products available, this guide will give you great options for yogurt, cottage cheese, pasta sauce, desserts, breakfast cereal, & protein bars.

Both yogurt (especially Greek yogurt) and cottage cheese are great sources of protein. However, when flavorings are added the sugar can go up considerably. We encourage you to start with plain (unsweetened) and add your own flavorings, but sometimes you want a little sweetness, so this list compares vanilla Greek yogurts and several kinds of cottage cheese:

Keeping a few jars of pasta sauce in your pantry is an easy way to start a quick meal  Get in the habit of checking the label before you buy. Basic marinara sauce can vary greatly in the amount of added sugar – some varieties even have between 10-12 grams. Here are a few that have no added sugar:

Many varieties of ready-to-eat breakfast cereals are high in added sugars and have a long list of ingredients – making them highly processed. However, there are some great options for a quick breakfast.

Whether you’re craving ice cream or a frozen treat on a stick, there are a growing variety that are lower in sugar. If these foods are an occasional treat, eating a small portion of your favorite regular variety is fine! These options are great to consider if ice cream is something you eat more often:

There are so many kinds of bars on the market. Some are designed to give a protein boost, others are a quick snack. Check the label to know what you are getting! All examples below have less than 10 grams of added sugar:

Check out this article for suggestions on bread, crackers, breakfast items and savory snacks.

It’s important to stress that for many people, diet and exercise alone aren’t enough to reach a healthier weight. The good news is that there are safe and effective medical treatments available that can address the biological issues that make sustained weight loss difficult. To find a physician near you who specializes in weight management, click here.

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This article was sponsored by Novo Nordisk Canada. All content is created independently by My Weight – What To Know with no influence from Novo Nordisk.

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