Swap This For That: A Guide to Clean(er) Eating [Infographic]

Aside from the virtuous feeling you get from eating a little cleaner, there are many other benefits to subscribing to a clean lifestyle. Not only is it likely that you’ll lose a few pounds, but increasing your intake of nutritious whole foods will help to boost your energy levels, clear you skin, prevent sickness and generally improve your day-to-day living.

However, many of us shy away from clean eating as it sounds complex. Don’t the meals take longer to prepare? Don’t they taste bland? Don’t I have to go to special shops to buy everything I need?

This infographic makes a few simple suggestions for swapping some of your staple favourites for clean alternatives.

Easy swaps to clean up your eating

1.) Swap 100g brown rice for 100g cauliflower rice

Okay, so this might not sound like the most delicious swap in the world, but trust us, once you’ve given cauli-rice a whirl you’ll never go back! Brown rice is still a great choice if you’re eating healthy, but if you fancy something a little lighter, then cauliflower rice is a good substitute; t’s light, fluffy, and takes on all of the flavour of the dish, just like traditional rice.

It’s an easy swap for those on a low-carb diet, and takes no time at all to prepare! Say goodbye to standing over the hob stirring your rice for 20 minutes; welcome in the era of the cauliflower instead.

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

Guilt-Free Egg Fried “Rice” via The Londoner

Cauliflower “Fried Rice” via SkinnyTaste

How to Make Cauliflower Rice via Oh My Veggies

Coconut Lime Cauliflower Rice via I Breathe… I’m Hungry…

How to Substitute Cauliflower — Deliciously — for Just About Anything via Huffington Post

2.) Swap 100g spaghetti for 100g spaghetti squash

Yes, another carb-for-veg swap! If, like us, you just adore a big steaming bowl of hot spaghetti on a cold night and just don’t see how you could ever give that up, why not give spaghetti squash a go?

The inner strands of the squash are absolutely delicious when baked, boiled, or even slow-cooked, and gives you all of the warm fuzzy feelings a bowl of pasta does, without the starchiness.

If you can’t find spaghetti squash in your local supermarket, why not give growing them a go, or substitute spaghetti squash for courgette for an equally-as-delicious alternative.

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara via The Kitchn

Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagne via Half Baked Harvest

Southwestern Stuffed Spaghetti Squash via The Comfort of Cooking

Zucchini Noodles with Pesto via Two Peas and Their Pod

12 Light and Delicious Veggie Noodle Recipes via BuzzFeed

3.) Swap 2 slices of white bread for 1 slice of rye bread

Just because you’re eating clean doesn’t mean that you have to cut out carbohydrates! Your body prefers carbs as it’s main source of energy, and you need to have it as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

However, when it comes to grains and bread, think ‘whole’ grains. Brown rice, quinoa, and rye breads are all good options. In order for a grain to become ‘white’, all of the nutrients must be stripped out, leaving you with minimal nutritional benefits.

Swap your normal 2 slices of white bread for a single slice of rye bread topped with a nutritional topping such as nut butter, smoked salmon and avocado or a classic BLT.

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

Rye Bread via BBC Good Food

Cranberry-Pecan-Rye Soda Bread via Top with Cinnamon

Open-Face Chicken Salad Sandwiches with Asparagus and Prosciutto via Bon Appetite

Nordic Open-Faced Smoked Salmon Sandwiches via The View from Great Island

The 10 Best Sandwich Recipes via The Guardian

4.) Swap 1 medium jacket potato for 1 medium sweet potato

Whilst both white potato and sweet potato are packed with vitamins and minerals (and are equally as delicious) sweet potato wins the battle as they provide over 400% of your RDA of vitamin A, which is essential for a strong immune system and healthy looking skin.

Just because you’re eating clean doesn’t mean you have to give up your beloved jacket potato, but when you feel like switching things up, give the sweet potato a go – it can be baked, fried, boiled and mashed, just like your traditional spud!

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

Cinnamon and Paprika Sweet Potato Wedges via Deliciously Ella

7 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes via BodyBuilding.com

5 Sweet Potato Recipes via Abel & Cole

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Brown Sugar and Black Pepper via Saveur

Roasted Broccoli Rabe, Sweet Potato and Ricotta Crostini via Food52

5.) Swap 1 Tbsp Mayonnaise for 1 Tbsp Avocado

Okay, okay, stick with us on this one! Avocado can be substituted for mayonnaise, and we promise you won’t even notice! Avocado, when mashed, is just as creamy and delicious as mayo, but it also brings its healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamins to the table too.

It makes a great pasta sauce, can be spread on bread instead of mayo or butter, and is generally just super-tasty!

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

How to Mash an Avocado via Live Strong

39 Deliciously Unexpected Avocado Recipes via Greatist

15 Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta via Oh She Glows!

Tuna and Crab Avocado Wraps via Nigella

Better Egg Salad via The Kitchn

6.) Swap 1 tbsp butter for 1 tbsp coconut oil

There has been some debate as to whether coconut oil is really better for you than butter. Whilst coconut oil does boast a few more calories and a few more grams of fat than butter, about half of virgin coconut oil’s saturated fat is lauric acid. Bear with us whilst we get a bit technical here!

Lauric acid is a medium-chain triglyceride that turns out to have a number of health-promoting properties. We can also easily digest MCT’s and convert them to energy.

A tablespoon of coconut oil a day has also been proven to aid weight loss according to research from the Journal of Nutrition.

Not sure where to start with coconut oil? Check these out:

Sweet Potatoes Roasted in Coconut Oil via Food52

Homemade Coconut Oil Honey Almond Granola via Lovely Little Kitchen

Pink Power Detox Smoothie via Oh She Glows!

No-Bake Coconut Crack Bars via Chocolate Covered Kate

50 Ways to Use Coconut Oil by Swansons Health

7.) Swap 1 cup semi-skimmed milk for 1 cup almond milk

Did you know that 65% of the human population has difficulty processing lactose, the sugars in milk? Whether you’re lactose intolerant or not, almond milk can be a tasty, and healthy, alternative to cows milk.

If you’re going to give almond milk a go, choose an unsweetened variety to reduce the amount of sugar you’re drinking in.

Need some recipe inspiration? Give these a go:

How to Make Almond Milk via The Kitchn

No Dairy Chocolate Pudding via A Beautiful Mess

Almond Milk Pancakes via The Cake Hunter

Dairy-Free Chocolate Ice Cream via The Minimalist Baker

Creamy Leek and Almond Pasta via Love and Lemons

8.) Swap 1 glass of orange juice for 1 glass of fruit water

Now, this is an easy one. Whilst orange juice is tasty and packed with vitamin C, it’s also full of fructose. Whilst fructose is a naturally occurring sugar, it’s still a sugar none-the less.

If you don’t like the taste of plain water, then adding fruit it an easy way to make it taste great, without adding calories! Plus, it’ll help towards your daily recommended intake of water (about 1.6l per day for women, and 2l for men).

Get fruity. Try these delicious combinations:

Pomegranate and Rosemary Infused Water via Divine Glowing with Health

3 Easy Infused Water Recipes via A Beautiful Mess

Raspberry, Rose Petal and Vanilla Water via She Who Eats

Blueberry and Orange Water via The Peach Kitchen

Strawberry, Lime and Cucumber via Back to Her Roots

9.) Swap a cup of tea with milk and 1 sugar for a black cup of tea with a slice of lemon

We can’t start our day without a cup of tea, so we wondered how we could turn our builder’s brew in to something a little healthier. It turns out that skipping the milk and sugar and drinking your tea black keeps the flavonoids called catechins intact!

You don’t need to skip the milk completely, just having one cup of tea a day without your usual additions could be enough to make a difference!

Need some tea advice? Check these out:

How to Make a Proper Pot of Black Tea via The Kitchn

How to Make Iced Tea via Bluebird Tea Co

Lemon Black Tea via Food.com

10.) Swap 100g vanilla ice cream for 100g protein ice cream

Hands up who has a sweet tooth? Trust us, our hands are most firmly in the air. You just can’t be a delicious bowl of icecream, but when it comes to clean eating, how do you avoid all those delicious sugars?

A simple way to clean up your ice cream act is to swap you vanilla ice cream for protein ice cream! Just take 500g of 2% fat Greek yoghurt, mix it up with half a cup of your favourite protein powder and pop in the freezer. Fifteen minutes will have you a frozen yoghurt texture, and the longer you leave it, the more solid the texture becomes!

Want some more ice cream goodness? Check these recipes out:

Cocoa Banana Almond Dairy-Free Ice Cream via Offbeat and Inspired

Two Ingredient Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream via Two Peas and Their Pod

2 Ingredient Protein Ice Cream via BodyBuilding.com

Chocolate Chunk Strawberry Ice Cream via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Raw Cookie Dough Ice Cream via Clean Food Dirty City

11.) Swap 50g chocolate chips for 50g cacao nibs

Chocolate chip cookies. Chocolate chip ice cream. Chocolate chip everything! We adore chocolate chips, but realise that stuffing handfuls of them in to our mouths might not be the healthiest thing to do ever. If you can’t give up your sweet treats, why not clean them up with cacao nibs instead?

Cacao nibs are cacao beans which have been roasted, separated from their husks and broken in to smaller pieces. These nibs are then processed to make the chocolate we know and love today.

Cacao beans are packed full of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, fibre, iron, antioxidants, and phenylethylamine (PEA – we produce this naturally when we’re excited).

Cacao nibs have a chocolately taste but it might come as a bit of a surprise if you’re used to sweeter milk chocolate.

Get chocolately! Try these tasty nib recipes:

Raw Chocolate Nib Brownies via Nutrition Stripped

Cocoa Nib Coffee Cake via Not Without Salt

Oatmeal Walnut Cacao Nib Cookies via Joy the Baker

Raw Almond Coconut Cacao Nib Bites via Oh Lady Cakes

Double Cacao Buckwheat Granola via My Blue and White Kitchen

Do you have any clean-eating swaps you think we should give a go? Or have any recipes you’d like to share?

We’d love to hear from you!