When I started my health journey, struggled with eating things like rice, bread, as well as chips and ice cream. Now, I only eat these very sparingly as treats— I didn't quit them cold turkey. Instead, I found healthy substitutions for some of my favorite foods. They had more nutritional value and in many cases, less calories, carbs, and fat. These are just some of the healthy substitutions I recommend when first starting to change your eating habits. These small improvements alone will immensely improve your health and fitness.
At first I replaced rice with quinoa. Quinoa is known as a super-grain and it has become increasingly popular in recent years. Though quinoa is an excellent alternative to rice, there are other options such as cauliflower rice. I take a couple of heads of cauliflower and grind them in a food processor until they look like rice. Then I sauté them with oil and some seasoning. Which takes me to my next replacement...
Stop using canola, corn, and cottonseed oil! Olive oil is a better choice. Coconut oil is great as well and it has about a million other uses— hair rejuvenation is just the start. Another great replacement is avocado oil.
I am a potato lover. I like them baked, fried, grilled, mashed...you name it. But let's face it, white potatoes aren't the best choice. Sweet potatoes are a much better healthy substitution. They have more fiber than regular potatoes, fewer calories, more vitamin C, and provide more than enough of your daily requirement of vitamin A. If you're making mashed potatoes, you can also replace them with mashed cauliflower.
This one is fun because all you need is a really good sauce. I always make tomato-based sauces because they are way healthier than creamy ones like Alfredo. The pasta itself can be replaced with zucchini spaghetti, spaghetti squash, and even edamame pasta. You can make tons of veggies into spaghetti by using Veggeti which is a spiral vegetable slicer.
Water is the best replacement. Even fruit juice has tons of sugar that you don't need. This is pretty important because sugary drinks are one of the top reasons why people have a hard time losing weight, specially in their mid-section. If you like flavored drinks, try unsweetened tea!
Who doesn't love toast in the morning or sandwiches for lunch? There are many ways to make paleo or gluten-free bread. Recipes are available all over the Internet. An even better replacement for morning toast would be a side of sliced avocados, apples, tomato, or cucumber. Instead of using bread slices for sandwiches you could also use lettuce to make a wrap instead.
This is a hard one for me. I love chips. The best part is that I still eat them regularly. Kale, spinach, and sweet potato chips are all splendid replacements for regular potato chips!
If you're not on the paleo diet, frozen yogurt could be a good option as long as the sugar is kept to a minimum. I am on the paleo diet so dairy is not an option (except cheat day). Instead, I make my own ice cream by blending frozen fruits and adding things like honey and almond butter.
Exercising is a very important part of staying fit. But your diet is even more important. It's hard going from eating everything (without limitations) to eating healthy and natural food like fruits and veggies. It's specially hard to do it all at once, but with some hard work, determination, and healthy substitutions, it can be done.