89 Simple Swaps to Change Your Life

by TOI Admin April 21, 2014

Greatist.com suggests simple and smart swaps like whole grains for white and quality for quantity to help pave the way to a healthier and happier life. Greatist.com’s article “89 Simple Swaps to Change Your Life” will help you make smarter decisions with healthier swaps.


1. Planks for crunches. Give planks a try instead to work that whole core.

2. Interval workout for relaxed run. Try a 20-minute interval run that involves lots of sprinting with some walking recovery.

3. Incline for flat treadmill. Add some hills to that treadmill run by cranking up the incline, and feel the muscle-building burn!

4. Zumba for elliptical. Trash that elliptical routine and surprise the body with a fun, calorie-burning cardio session.  

5. Dynamic for static stretching. Stretching out cold muscles could lead to injury. So incorporate some active movement into a stretching routine—try lunges and arm swings before working out.

6. Warming up for rushing right to it. Before hitting the weight rack, do an active warm-up to loosen up limbs and get the most out of the workout.

7. Standing for sitting at a desk. How often does someone complain about having to sit in a cubicle all day? We have a simple solution… stand. Use a pile of books to prop up the computer.

8. Exercise ball for office chair. Some people really don’t want to stand at their cubicle. So stay seated, but on a Swiss ball. It can help with balance and that six-pack.

9. Gym for napping. Tired in front of the TV? Hit the gym. It provides a big boost of energy and burns calories.

10. Free weights for machines. Skip the big machines and go for the little guys—free weights are more versatile and allow for a full range of motion in the joints.

11. Pull-ups for bicep curls. Pull-ups are not only impressive but they work way more than one muscle.

12. Squats for leg press. Amp up the training session and do some squats to strengthen all the leg muscles.

13. Personal trainer for guessing games. Trainers may help push us through that second set of burpees.

14. Foam rolling for static stretching. Need to get the knots out? Try using a foam roller instead of sitting and stretching to the toes.

15. Exergames for Mario Kart. Try out Wii Fit or Just Dance—they’re designed to provide light to moderate exercise.

16. Rowing for biking. Take advantage of the rowing machine instead of the bike; it’s a super upper and lower body exercise.

17. Stairs for escalator. the option’s available, go the old-fashion route and climb the stairs to burn some extra calories.

18. Fun workout for dreaded one. Loathe the elliptical? Try the stair-master. Hate the bench press? Do push-ups instead. We can still challenge ourselves without doing exercises we hate.

19. Active date for dinner and a movie. Save a night at that French restaurant for retirement and go on a fun, active winter date with a special someone. Sledding can be just as intimate as duck confit, and it sneaks in a hill-climbing workout, too.

20. Parking farther away for getting a spot up close. Park further away and walk the extra 100 feet.

21. Walking further for running shorter. New to running? It’s okay. Even if a mile is all that’s possible, keep walking for a good cardio workout. Hold some light weights to up the intensity even more.

22. Working out with a pal for exercising by yourself. Working out with others may strengthen trust. Plus he or she could help motivate you through that final set of push-ups.

23. Hands-free running for holding handles. On the treadmill, don’t rely on the handlebars. They take some of the stress off the body and make that workout less challenging.

24. Cherry juice for muscle medicine. Feeling sore? Try drinking a glass of cherry juice. The antioxidants could help keep muscle swelling down.

25. Homemade post-workout snack for a protein bar. Bring a PB&J or another post-workout snack to the gym rather than buying a protein bar.


26. Cooking for eating out. Trust those top-chef skills and turn on the skillet. Cooking at home will more likely result in a healthier meal.

27. Whole fruit for fruit juice. Skip the glass of orange juice and go with the whole piece of fruit to reap the benefits of this sweet, healthy snack.

28. Pan-fried for deep-fried. Keep things crispy by pan-frying lean protein or veggies in the skillet with some cooking oil.

29. Local produce for supermarket veggies. Take a trip to the farmer’s market instead of the grocery store’s produce aisle. According to the USDA, local, seasonal fruits and veggies may be more nutritious.

30. Oil and balsamic for other dressings. Think “less is more” and lightly dress a salad with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

31. Raw spinach for iceberg. Spinach is full of vitamin K, vitamin A, calcium, and iron.

32. Greek yogurt for sour cream. Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt to amp up the protein and slash the fat.

33. Cinnamon for sugar. Using cinnamon, rather than sugar packets, in coffee can heighten the flavor without adding extra calories.

34. Salsa for cream cheese dips. Dip the chip into this healthy alternative to cheesy spreads.

35. Frozen grapes for popsicles. Stick a bunch of grapes in the freezer and snack on them a few hours later.

36. Sparkling water for soda. Try a fun flavor like lemon-lime sparkling soda.

37. Fresh fruit for syrup at brunch. Every now and then, there’s nothing like a good stack of pancakes. Cut calories by skipping the syrup and spreading those cakes with fresh fruit.

38. Air-popped popcorn for chips. Air-pop some popcorn and add a dash of salt—three whole cups is only about 100 calories.

39. Red wine or beer for a margarita. Ask for a glass of red wine or a beer on tap over a sugary-filled margarita.

40. Brown rice for white. White rice is stripped of many essential nutrients, like fiber, so get the full, nutritious benefits of brown rice that’ll also help fill you up.

41. Whole-wheat pasta for white. Just like rice, whole-wheat pasta has a nutty flavor that’s filled with antioxidants and fiber.

42. Oatmeal for sugary cereal. One bowl of cereal can be filled with sugar, so choose some heart-healthy oatmeal instead.

43. Biking to work for driving. If the office is a few miles away, skip the car ride and hop on the bike. A little bike-ride can boost endorphins before the workday starts.

44. Packing lunch for eating out. Pack a sandwich or some leftovers to bring to school, work, wherever.

45. Eating three meals for skipping out. We should only eat when we’re hungry, but being too busy to squeeze in a mid-day meal can leave us feeling tired and grouchy.

46. Mustard for mayo. Skip the fat-filled mayo and spread some tasty and naturally fat-free mustard on the bread.

47. Avocado for butter. Take plain old bread to the next level with avocado spread instead of butter.

48. Lean meats for fatty ones. For a boost of protein when watching fat intake, go after lean meats like turkey and chicken over pork and beef.

49. Marinara for white sauce. Choose marinara sauce for your next bowl of spaghetti.

50. Doggy bag for food coma. Take half the meal to go. To avoid eating more than planned, ask the waiter to wrap half of it up before serving.

51. Chewing slowly for speed eating. Slow down and chew food—studies show people who eat faster consume more calories.

52. Eating at the table for eating in front of the TV. Dining in front of the television can lead to over-eating. Forget multitasking and carve out time in the day to enjoy a meal at the table.

53. Eating breakfast for hitting snooze. It may be temping to hit the snooze button more than once in the morning, but allow some time for breakfast—it may help jumpstart your metabolism.

54. Black coffee for latte. If that caffeine fix is calling, order a simple black coffee.

55. Toast for bagel. How often do we eat five slices of toast for breakfast? Well, that’s what a bagel can amount to, so instead, enjoy a slice or two of whole-wheat bread.

56. Medium plate for large one. Switch to a smaller plate (about 8 to 10 inches) and save more than 20 percent of the calories a large plate could pile on.

57. Eating from the bowl over digging into the box. Some mindless handfuls of cereal can turn into more than a bowl’s worth. Portion out food rather than eating straight from the box.

58. Hard-boiled eggs for fried. Who needs extra grease in the morning? Drop some eggs in boiling water and cook them up for a protein-packed breakfast.

59. Chopsticks for forks. Slow down and eat the Pad Thai with some chopsticks.

60. Grocery shopping when full for shopping while hungry. Shop when full to avoid buying more than what’s necessary.

61. Stopping when full for cleaning the plate. Listen to the body and stop eating when it’s had enough—a plate half-full means more leftovers and fewer calories.

62. Raw nuts for nut butter. Nut butters can sneak in extra fat and sugar that raw nuts don’t have.

63. Power nap for energy drink. For a quick pick-me-up, take a 10-minute snooze rather than grabbing an energy drink. Energy drinks can pack as much sugar as six donuts, while a quick nap is always calorie-free.


64. Gratitude for complaining. Feeling thankful can actually make us happier and healthier, so don’t forget to appreciate every bit of good in life.

65. Outside for inside. Soak up the sun—even in the winter. Exercising in the cold is safe, and getting outdoors could help battle Seasonal Affective Disorder.

66. Book for television.  Get a dose of knowledge and read a good novel before bed.

67. Meditation for comfort food. When stress strikes, try dimming the lights and meditating for as little as five minutes—it’s calming.

68. Yoga for Facebook. Got a spare 30 minutes? Use the free time to roll out the yoga mat and work on flexibility and strength while alleviating stress and anxiety.

69. Being upfront for acting passive aggressive. Rather than bottling up that anger, be forthright. Working out issues is better than building up inner frustration.

70. Journaling for emotional eating. Sometimes a cookie or two can lift our spirits, but writing down our thoughts can be just as therapeutic—no calories involved.

71. Working at a desk for working in the bedroom. Finish that assignment at a desk rather than between the sheets.

72. Fun alarm clock song for annoying ringer. Choose a fun little melody on the cell phone to wake up to instead.

73. Fancy silverware for plastic. Using some nice forks and knives will add some style to that bowl of ramen noodles.

74. Carpooling for driving alone. Carpooling with a friend can make a morning commute less boring. Also, it reduces air pollution and cuts down on gas money.

75. Breathing for being a stress mess. Calm breathing can boost relaxation and calm the mind. Take a long, deep breath to relax your body rather than stressing out.

76. Smiling for frowning. Even when we’re alone, smiling can improve our mood. Try grinning in the shower or on the way to work—it may really make us feel cheerful.

77. Color for drab shades. Science suggests wearing red can boost confidence and self-esteem.

78. Keeping the same bedtime for winging it. Setting a bedtime schedule may help us fall asleep faster, so pick a good time and try to stick to it.

79. Little milestones for big goals. Thinking big is great, but huge goals may take time to reach. Don’t forget the small achievements we can make.

80. Clean workspace for clutter. Take some time to put away the laundry and organize your desk. Having a clean space may make us more organized and eager to tackle the day.

81. Venting to a friend for bottling it up. When sad or stressed, reach out to a trusted friend instead of holding in the feelings.

82. Self-love for self-criticism. Stop pointing out the negative and focus on all those redeeming qualities.

83. Focus on the future instead of dwelling on the past. Don’t focus on yesterday’s issues.

84. Moderation for deprivation. As long as we regulate our indulgences, they can help keep that smile around.

85. Planning for procrastination. Making a plan, rather than waiting until the last minute, helps ensure we get things done.

86. Honesty for excuses. Skip the excuses—being honest with others and ourselves is the best option.

87. Comfy shoes for fancy footwear. Keep it comfy in the foot department.

88. Saying no for over-committing. Agreeing to too much can be overwhelming and bring on sickness. Figuring out what we can realistically commit to will help keep stress away.

89. Calling a friend for texting. Phone a friend rather than sending text. It’s more personal, and hearing a friendly voice may lift the spirits.

Source: http://greatist.com/health/89-simple-swaps-could-change-your-life
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