Naomi Knows: Start with the Cart! Five Healthy Food Swaps

“It is never too late to become what you might have been.” That famous Georg Eliot quote is a thought that I always keep top of mind when it comes to getting healthy. If that means just getting out and taking a brisk walk (even though you may not have been to the gym in a year) or starting a new vitamin and supplement routine — we all too often are afraid to start making changes because it acknowledges the fact that we haven’t made those changes before. I always say: begin with taking the small steps that you can make today and it will promise to make big changes for your tomorrows.

Start with the cart! One of the easiest first steps into the wellness journey is amping up the health factor of your grocery list. I’ve put together five of my go-to healthy food swaps that you can make on your weekly shopping trip that will boost your health without necessarily breaking the bank. The good news? Once you know what is better for you, these changes will become good habits of a healthier, more energized life that awaits.

Choose High Smoke Point Oils for Cooking

When it comes to cooking oils, the key health factors you need to consider are heating temperature and flavor. Olive Oil, while is incredibly healthy for you for salads and dressings, is not necessarily the best for frying and sautéing. Why? Oils break down at a certain temperature, which is known as their smoke point. Refined oils have higher smoke points and typically a more neutral flavor, which makes them better for sautéing, frying or even deep-frying. Consider Peanut, Grapeseed, Sunflower, Safflower, and Sesame Oil.

Skip the Iceberg and Go for Dark Leafy Greens

A rule of thumb to follow in the produce section is “the darker the lettuce, the more nutritious it will be.” Iceberg lettuce is made of 95 percent water and contains only small amounts of fiber and minerals. While iceberg lettuce is low in calories and definitely not bad for you, it’s not that good either. Dark leafy greens — like spinach, arugula, kale, turnip greens, and so many more — have countless health benefits. Their fiber and magnesium content will aid your metabolism and overall nerve and muscle function. The high levels of iron in spinach and Swiss chard are great for bringing oxygen to your muscles, and kale is loaded with Vitamin C and calcium. In general, dark leafy greens also help to prevent system-wide inflammation.

 Go Quinoa, not Couscous

Quinoa and couscous look very similar, but differ tremendously in nutritional value. Couscous looks healthy but it is really a simple carb, with nutritional value similar to white pasta. Quinoa, a Peruvian grain (some call it a “super grain”) is a superior carbohydrate compared to couscous. Quinoa has 20 grams of carbohydrates in a boiled half cup. The glycemic number of quinoa is also very low which means that it will not spike your blood sugar levels, which is good for your insulin sensitivity. The protein level in quinoa is also very high (similar to that of beans), which slows down the digestion process. It can keep you fuller for an extended period of time and that means it contains all the essential amino acids that you need to build healthy body tissues.

 Cook the Whole Chicken (No More Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts)

In the 1980s and 1990s, the idea of boneless, skinless chicken breasts emerged as a great way to control your weight and keep cholesterol levels in check. But in eliminating the fat and the bones, we culturally shifted away from whole chickens, bone broths and other bone-centric recipes — which directly contributed to the lowering of our natural collagen intake from foods (meanwhile in other cultures like Europe and Asia, where bone-centric recipes still thrive, their collagen intake has helped contribute to long term health and beauty effects from youthful skin to strong bones and muscles.) Collagen, the essential protein in our connective tissues, makes up more than 25 % of the proteins in our body. It is the substance that holds us together, and it positively affects nearly every part of the body. It not only helps keeps you looking younger by helping skin stay more elastic and plump and supporting shinier hair it can help the body maintain healthy cartilage, tendons, muscles and bones. To boost your collagen intake, try collagen supplementation like Reserveage Collagen Booster with Ceramides capsules or Reserveage Collagen Replenish Powder, a flavorless, texture-free dissolvable formula that you can mix into your water, green drink or soup!

 Go Grass-fed, not Grain-Fed for Beef

Recent scientific studies have suggested that what a cow eats can have a effect on the nutrient composition of the beef that we eat. This is particularly evident when it comes to the fatty acid composition. Grass-fed beef usually contains less total fat than grain-fed beef, which means that gram for gram, grass-fed beef contains fewer calories. The composition of grass-fed beef’s fatty acids is vastly different: grass-fed beef and Omega 3 fatty acids.   In addition, it is higher in Vitamin E and it is abundant in another beneficial fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

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