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Home/Blog/25 Processed Foods Swaps for More Nutrients and Better Health

25 Processed Foods Swaps for More Nutrients and Better Health

By Ethan Boldt

June 5, 2024

Processed foods swaps

As we all know too well, processed and ultra-processed foods are everywhere. While some are obviously junk food (think cheese curls and frozen “ice cream” treats), many are often disguised as healthy foods.

You may be eating them without even being aware that they’re ultra-processed and bad for you. Bad for you how? They’re very low in nutrients compared to whole foods and can be quite calorie-dense.

The giveaway aside from them being packaged is that they often contain a long list of ingredients, including additives, preservatives, flavorings, emulsifiers and other substances. Many of these ingredients can even trick the body from not recognizing how many calories are being ingested.

What’s one to do? Time to start swapping those processed foods to mostly whole foods (you can go even further in a no-sugar diet). It can positively impact your health in so many ways, including boosting energy levels, fostering a healthier microbiome and supporting healthy inflammation levels.

Making these swaps will mean more nutrients, fewer calories, less sugar, no additives, more vitamins and minerals, plus more protein, fiber and even probiotics.

Let’s get started.

The Healthy Swap List

Here’s a list of popular processed foods swapped out for healthier foods, including whole foods, easy homemade recipes or few-ingredients products or supplements.

  1. Flavored yogurt — plain Greek yogurt and add organic berries

  2. Cereal — swap for oatmeal like collagen overnight oats

  3. Commercial baked goods — make your own double chocolate collagen donuts or lemon poppyseed muffins

  4. Margarine — swap for butter

  5. Commercial bread — swap for wheat berry bread like Ezekiel

  6. Table salt — swap for sea salt

  7. Chips — swap for kale chips or homemade popcorn with avocado oil

  8. French fries — baked potato or zucchini fries

  9. Pasta salad — swap for quinoa bowl

  10. Processed deli meat — swap for grilled chicken breast

  11. Macaroni salad — swap for kimchi or sauerkraut

  12. Fried fish filets — swap for grilled fish or canned sardines

  13. Hot dogs and sausages — swap for grass-fed burgers or turkey burgers

  14. Conventional pizza — swap for homemade cauliflower crust pizza

  15. French onion dip — swap for hummus

  16. Canola oil and other seed oils — swap for coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil

  17. Artificial sweeteners — swap for powdered or liquid stevia

  18. Fruit juice — swap for fruit-filled smoothie like a peach or cherry smoothie

  19. Store-bought cookies — swap for cookies with real ingredients like strawberry oatmeal cookies

  20. Commercial chocolate candy bar — swap for a homemade chocolate candy bar

  21. Chocolate chips — swap for cacao nibs

  22. Protein bars — swap for your own homemade protein bar

  23. Conventional coffee creamer — swap for coconut milk, goat milk or, if you can handle dairy, whole milk

  24. Soda drinks — swap for sparkling water

  25. Sports drinks — swap for Multi Collagen Advanced Hydrate (which contains 2x the number of electrolytes and zero artificial ingredients)

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