Revamp Your Meals: Healthy Swaps for a More Energized You

Learn what healthy ingredient and meal swaps to make every day to get healthier and more energized, one meal or ingredient at a time.

Wondering what ingredient and meal swaps will help you be healthier and feel more amazing? Learn easy swaps you can make today to unlock health & energy below. 

You Can Get Healthier One Swap at a Time!

Overhauling your diet all at once can be a beneficial way for some of us to jump right into Mediterranean Living: like ripping off a band-aid! It’s challenging for a few days or weeks, but once the new habits stick, your whole way of eating has changed– for the better.

For others of us, easing into the lifestyle with lots of smaller changes can be a manageable way to move towards healthier living.

For people who want to start getting healthier without a complete overhaul, making simple food swaps can be an excellent way.

This is also a great way to ease your family or partner in a new way of eating without causing panic.

Think about meals that you, your family, or the other people you routinely eat with, currently enjoy on a frequent basis. Now, trying making substitutions for the less healthy items. Take a look at our list below and pick a few to try.

By making some of these easy swaps, you are taking steps to make your diet healthier. It may take some thought at first, but after a while, these types of switches will become automatic.

As your new routines become habit, you can add in some additional swaps… and so on! Let us know in the comments which ones you’ve tried.

Ingredient Swaps to try TODAY!

These are the ingredients that routinely go into your favorite meals. By choosing a similar but higher quality ingredient, your overall meal is pretty similar-- but healthier! 

Here are a few options to consider, broken down by category: 

Grains and Carbs: (Wondering why whole grains are healthy? Check this post.) 

  1. White Rice -> Quinoa or Brown Rice:
    • Quinoa and brown rice are higher in fiber and nutrients.
  2. White Bread -> Whole Grain Bread:
    • Whole grain bread contains more fiber and nutrients.
  3. Pasta -> Whole Wheat Pasta or Zoodles:
    • Whole wheat pasta is more nutritious, and zucchini noodles (zoodles) are a low-carb alternative.


  1. Ground Beef -> Ground Turkey or Chicken:
    • Ground turkey or chicken are leaner and lower in saturated fat. 
  2. Red Meat -> Plant-Based Proteins:
    • Beans, lentils, and tofu are excellent sources of protein with less fat and cholesterol. (Studies indicate that plant-based proteins offer health benefits over red meat, particularly in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and improving overall longevity.)

Dairy: (Wondering if you can have dairy on the Mediterranean Diet? Read this article.) 

  1. Whole Milk -> Almond Milk or Low-Fat Milk:
    • Almond milk and low-fat milk have fewer calories and less saturated fat. (Saturated fat can be linked to heart concerns.)
  2. Regular Yogurt -> Greek Yogurt:
    • Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in sugar

Fats and Oils:

  1. Butter -> Olive Oil or Avocado Oil: (this is our favorite!)
    • Olive oil and avocado oil are rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Olive oil has a huge range of healthy benefits! Learn more here
  2. Mayonnaise -> Greek Yogurt or Avocado:
    • Greek yogurt and mashed avocado provide healthier fats, fewer calories, and less processed food/ artificial stuff.

Condiments and Spices:

  1. Salt -> Herbs and Spices: (Learn more about salt here.) 
    • Herbs and spices can add flavor without the extra sodium.
  2. Soy Sauce -> Low-Sodium Soy Sauce or Coconut Aminos:
    • Low-sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos reduce your sodium intake.


  1. All-Purpose Flour -> Almond Flour or Whole Wheat Flour:
    • Almond flour and whole wheat flour are more nutritious alternatives.
  2. Sugar -> Honey or Maple Syrup:
    • Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners with more nutrients. These all still count as added sweeteners, though, so if you are watching your sugar intake, keep this in mind. 

Cooking Methods:

  1. Frying -> Baking or Grilling:
    • Baking and grilling reduce the amount of added fat compared to frying.

Now, try some MEAL swaps!

easy ingredient and meal swaps for optimal health

Here are some ideas of meals that feel similar to what you may currently consume, but are much healthier. See which of these you might like to try!


  1. Swap: Sugary Cereal -> Overnight Oats with Fresh Fruit
    • Overnight oats made with rolled oats, almond milk, chia seeds, and topped with fresh berries provide more fiber and less sugar.
  2. Swap: Bagel with Cream Cheese -> Whole Grain Toast with Avocado and Egg (or smoked salmon) 
    • Whole grain toast with mashed avocado and a poached or scrambled egg offers healthy fats, fiber, and protein.


  1. Swap: Cheeseburger and Fries -> Veggie Burger and side salad

    • A veggie burger has less saturated fat, more fiber, and generally more nutrients overall. Unless you make your own baked fries from real potatoes, fries are not a super nutrient-rich choice. Instead, choose a side that includes some veggies or fruit. 
  2. Swap: Deli Meat Sandwich -> Hummus and Veggie Wrap

    • A whole grain wrap filled with spinach, bell peppers, and hummus provides lean protein and veggies without the preservatives in deli meats. (Deli meats contain a lot of ingredients that we would generally recommend staying away from. Here are some others to consider.) 


  1. Swap: Spaghetti with Meat Sauce -> Zucchini Noodles (or whole wheat pasta) with Marinara and Lentil Meatballs

    • Zucchini noodles (zoodles) with marinara sauce and lentil meatballs offer a low-carb, plant-based alternative with plenty of fiber and protein. Whole wheat pasta is a great option as well for more fiber and better blood-sugar control. 
  2. Swap: Fried Chicken -> Baked Salmon with Quinoa and Steamed Broccoli

    • Baked salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and pairing it with quinoa and steamed broccoli makes for a balanced and nutritious meal.


  1. Swap: Potato Chips -> Carrot and Celery Sticks with Hummus

    • Carrot and celery sticks with hummus provide a crunchy, satisfying snack with fiber and healthy fats.
  2. Swap: Candy Bar -> Greek Yogurt with Honey and Nuts

    • Greek yogurt with a drizzle of honey and a handful of nuts offers protein, healthy fats, and natural sweetness.


  1. Swap: Ice Cream -> Frozen Yogurt with Fresh Berries

    • Frozen yogurt topped with fresh berries is a lower-calorie, nutrient-dense dessert option.
  2. Swap: Cookies -> Dark Chocolate and Almonds

    • A small piece of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds offer a satisfying treat with antioxidants and healthy fats.

Snacks and Sweets:

  1. Potato Chips -> Nuts:
    • Nuts are a much healthier alternatives with more nutrients. Crushed nuts can act as a stand-in for crushed cereals/ breading that you might use for making nuggets or breading. 
  2. Candy -> Fresh or Dried Fruit:
    • Fresh or dried fruit provides natural sweetness and additional vitamins.


  1. Swap: Sugary Coffee Drinks -> Black Coffee or Coffee with Almond Milk

    • Black coffee or coffee with a splash of almond milk reduces sugar and calorie intake while still providing a caffeine boost.
  2. Soda -> Sparkling Water with Fruit:
    • Sparkling water with fruit slices is refreshing and free of added sugars.
  3. Juice -> Whole Fruit:
    • Whole fruit contains fiber and is more filling than juice.

General Tips:

  • Incorporate More Vegetables: Aim to fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables for added fiber and nutrients.
  • Use Whole Grains: Choose whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat over refined grains.
  • Lean Proteins: Opt for lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, beans, and legumes instead of fatty meats.
  • Healthy Fats: Include healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

What Meal Swaps Do You Love?

We’d love to hear about how you are starting or continuing a Mediterranean Lifestyle! Are you making lots of changes all at once or a few at a time? What has been your favorite food swap? Tell us in the comments!


Song, M., Fung, T. T., Hu, F. B., et al. (2020). "Plant Protein Intake and Mortality in US Adults: Prospective Cohort Study."

Keys, A. (1970). Seven Countries: A Multivariate Analysis of Death and Coronary Heart Disease.

Ready to Get Serious?

The Mediterranean Diet can help prevent diabetes, reduce heart disease risk, promote weight loss, and help you live a longer, healthier life. It's backed by decades of research.

But the truth is, there's a lot of misinformation out there! It can be really tough to get started.

If you're struggling to begin, our Starter Guide & Recipe Book is the perfect first step!

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