6 Food Swops to Boost Your Energy

Try these healthy food substitutions in your favourite snacks, meals, and sides to amp up your energy levels.

Selene Yeager |

We all have our diet staples. Pasta, peanut butter, and cheese and crackers are okay, but they’re not ideal fuel for maintaining great energy levels. With all the amazing alternatives available these days, we could do better — way better.

We chatted with sports nutritionist Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, for some fresh food substitutions for athletes. “These simple swaps boost nutritional value, satiety, and variety,” she says.

Instead of: Peanut butter and jam
Swap in: Almond butter and honey

Almond butter is a slightly better source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, a banana trumps jelly any day as a whole fruit with plenty of potassium, and a drizzle of honey adds instant energy and antioxidants. If you’re feeling really adventurous, eat the banana peel for an extra health boost.

Instead of: Cheese and crackers
Swap in: Cheese and apple or pear slices

Crackers can taste great, but so do apples and pears — and the latter two are way more nutrient-packed than processed snack foods any day of the week. Apples and pears are also slightly hydrating.

Instead of: Pancakes
Swap in: Mashed Banana Flapjacks

You can make these potassium-packed flapjacks in a snap by mashing a banana and mixing it with a couple of eggs and cooking it in a pan the way you would traditional pancakes. You get more vitamins, fibre and protein.

Instead of: Light beer
Swap in: Craft beer

Yes, craft beer generally has more calories — 180 to 200. But they have far more antioxidant-rich hops than mass-produced light beer, and more body and flavour, too, so you’ll be more satisfied with less.

Instead of: Mashed potatoes
Swap in: Mashed cauliflower and white beans

Sneak in a crazy amount of fibre and get your cruciferous veggies with this swop. Plus, you can look forward to lots of folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

Instead of: Spaghetti
Swap in: Veggie noodles

These are “noodles” made with squash, sweet potatoes, and/or zucchini. You can make long noodle-y ribbons from these veggies with a Spiralizer, or use a veggie peeler or paring knife to make swirls and slivers. The result is an antioxidant-packed alternative to pasta, which you can use as a base for our five favourite pasta recipes.

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