Health Hack: 4 Nutritious Swaps For Common Unhealthy Ingredients

Eating healthy food can be hard. As a recovering junk food junkie, I totally get it. You need to know where to shop, what to shop for, how to understand nutritional information, what ingredients to avoid, and then after all of that work is done, you still have to know how to cook everything. At the end of the day, that’s whole lot of work that I don’t have time for, and frankly, don’t really want to do. And to be honest with you, I think eating well is way easier (and more enjoyable) when I don’t have to work for it. 

That’s why we’re all about making eating healthy as easy as possible here at Eat Well. One of our favorite hacks is ingredient swapping – taking a commonly used ingredient that adds calories and chemicals but little else, and replacing it with a more nutritious, wholesome ingredient. It allows us to take traditionally indulgent meals, like pasta and baked goods, and turn them into nutritional powerhouses.

Learning how to make healthy ingredient swaps can help make eating healthy more sustainable, because you won’t feel deprived of the flavors you love. With a few smart swaps like the ones below, you can still eat your favorite food without feeling guilty about it.

Need a few examples? Our new fall menu is full of health-boosting ingredient swaps!

High-Protein Chickpea Pasta Instead of Refined White Pasta

Most pasta is refined white pasta, which is high in carbs and low in nutrients, making it very easy to overeat. Substituting white pasta with lentil or chickpea pasta is a great way to crush your pasta craving while getting nutrients your body needs. These types of pastas, like the pasta used in our new Gluten-Free Pumpkin Alfredo, pack significantly more protein and fiber than white pasta – a combination that keeps you full longer than carbs alone. And since they’re made with just legumes and water, they’re also gluten-free, making them an allergen-free choice the whole family can enjoy.


Honey Instead of Processed White Sugar

Many of the great fall desserts – muffins, brownies, cakes – are a bit too sugary for everyday eating. Obviously, this totally sucks – because who doesn’t want to eat muffins everyday? We could write a long list of reasons why regular sugar is bad for you, but here are the highlights: white sugar contributes to a suppressed immune system and increased blood glucose levels, and because of its extremely addictive nature, it also increases your risk for obesity and diabetes. Two of our favorite sugar swaps? Honey. Overall, honey is more flavor than white sugar, but it also has lower glycemic index than sugar – in fact, its balanced combination of fructose and glucose helps the body regulate blood sugar levels. 

Our new Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins rely on the rich flavor of honey instead of processed white sugar, along with real pumpkin puree contributing to its filling fiber content (11g of the recommended daily 25!). The end result? A far healthier muffin that you can feel great about eating every day!


Almond Flour Instead of Bleached All-Purpose Flour

Many comfort foods rely on regular flour to batter or thicken the dish. This adds calories, carbs… and not much else. Plus, bleached flour is full of harmful chemicals, and most of the valuable nutrients naturally occurring in flour are lost during the bleaching process. One of our favorite all-purpose flour alternatives: nutty, sweet almond flour. Our Whole30-Approved Tomato Basil Meatloaf replaces traditional white flour with almond flour, boosting the protein content (29g!) while keeping this dish a super yummy, chemical-free classic that’s also gluten free.


Plant-Based Ingredients Instead of Dairy

I’ll admit it: I’m a total cheese addict. Unfortunately, cheese adds a ton of fat, sodium, and calories, and sometimes you can’t even taste it. Pesto is a perfect example of this – most pestos use a hefty portion of parmesan cheese to add a salty nuttiness to dishes, making it deceptively calorie-dense. We’ve found that there are plenty of ingredients in the plant family that mimic similar flavors of cheese! Our new Spinach Pistachio Pesto Chicken uses pistachios to achieve the same salty nuttiness – without all the dairy and salt. And instead of pasta, we paired our chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed veggies to keep the nutrient content high. Even better, this dish boasts over 400% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, and 70% of your vitamin C. Take that, cheese!

Check out our new fall menu!

We released our new fall menu this week, and we’re super pumped about it. Check out our new seasonal options here and give a few of these healthy hacks a try.

Creating Healthy Habits with Personal Trainer Becca Mitchell

Becca Mitchell is a self-love advocate, personal trainer, wife, and mother of 2 – and one of our Eat Well ambassadors! She coaches women toward living healthier lives, through a balanced, holistic approach. She documents her journey – the good, the bad, and the stretch marks – on Instagram, inspiring others to treat their bodies with kindness while developing lasting healthy habits.

Becca knows how to totally transform her lifestyle because she’s done it herself – just a few years ago, she was living on mostly Velveeta shells and cheese. When she became pregnant with her son, she decided to start making some changes, learning from health and fitness influencers on Instagram. A few years later, she’s an ACE-certified personal trainer, coaching others to embrace health and self-love everyday.

We asked Becca to share about the fitness setbacks that most commonly derail progress towards people’s health goals – and how to overcome them with a balanced perspective. Here’s what she had to say!

Changing Everything at Once → Establishing Healthy Habits One at a Time

“I know a lot of people who always seem to want to improve their health, but can’t seem to make a lasting change. Often, people want to jump into living a healthy lifestyle with both feet. They try to change everything at once – and it’s just not sustainable. At some point they get tired, and they feel like if they can’t do all of it, they shouldn’t do any of it.”

“I’ve found that it’s much easier to establish healthy habits for good when you focus on developing them a few at a time. Maybe you decide to walk more, sleep more, stare at screens less, meditate daily, or exercise a few times a week. Either way, work on establishing one habit and building it into your life. Set a specific, actionable goal, such as 10,000 steps a day, then when you’re consistently doing that, raise the bar a little more. Focusing on developing habits intentionally will help you incorporate them sustainably into your lifestyle.”


Lack of (the Right) Accountability System → Figure Out What Works for You

“When people decide to start living healthier, they focus on food and exercise. That’s already a lot to transform, but it really requires more than that. In order to have healthy food available, you might have to start cooking every day, or block out a chunk of time to meal prep each week. In order to make time for the gym, you might have to make some serious changes to your family’s weekly schedule (or start waking up early – which means you need to get to bed earlier!).”

“All these changes can be hard, and it’s easy to give up on them, especially if you don’t have a plan in place for when things get stressful. I’ve found that having an accountability system is so important – and it’s also important to find an accountability system that works for you and your goals.”

“When you’re choosing an accountability system, think about what usually motivates you. If you’re social by nature and do well when people are counting on you, a tight-knit social gym or bootcamp might be a great way to find accountability. If you’re more private by nature, but are super motivated by metrics, a fitness tracker is a great way to set and achieve specific qualitative goals. If you want a partner in crime to join you on your journey, find a friend, neighbor, or coworker who is similarly motivated to get healthy, and work together to establish healthy habits, such as morning walks, helping each other make healthy lunch choices, or going to yoga together a few times a week. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that works for you. That’s the key to sustainability!”


Lack of Self-Love → Reframe Your Thinking

“So many of my clients are moms, who are so focused on taking care of everyone around them that they struggle to take care of themselves. They feel guilty taking time to workout, meal prep, or even sleep. They feel guilty for shifting their family’s schedule around their needs.”

“To those who feel selfish for taking time for themselves, if you can’t do it for yourself right now, do it for them! Do it so that your partner, children, and friends have access to your best you – the one who has the energy and stamina to take whatever life throws at you. Eating well, exercise, and sleep all promote a healthier stress response and immunity – allowing you to be better prepared for the beautiful chaos and unpredictability of mom life. Once my clients begin to shift their mentality and truly embrace self-care as a form of love for their families – that’s when they really start to shine in all areas of their life.”


Get inspired with Becca!

For more inspiration, follow Becca on Instagram. Visit her website to learn more about her coaching services – and you can even use the code EATWELL for 10% off all of her online training programs! She offers personal training, online fitness courses, as well as bootcamp-style classes in the Nolensville area.  

3 Self-Care Tips To Stay Present and Grounded This Fall

Fall can be many things at the same time: Exciting and chaotic, comforting and stressful, hot and cold. For many of us, fall is a time when we really tap into our productive energy. We buy new planners, start scheduling our days to the minute, and barely take a second to breathe (or eat).

This is a time when we need self-care the most; however, it’s also usually the time we let it go by the wayside – which can affect our productivity, relationships, happiness, health, and more. During stressful times, it’s more important than ever to pause and breathe. We’re big believers in intentional downtime – which is why we’ve compiled our favorite tips for an intentional self-care practice as another way for you to fall in love with your health this season.


1. Go Into Airplane Mode
When you’re spending time with family and friends, turn your phone on airplane mode. If that makes you uneasy, try putting it just out of your reach. Be present with your people. This isn’t only good for your relationships – it’s good for your brain to relieve itself from the need for constant instant gratification.

It’s also a great practice to put your phone away during meals. This will not only get you to be more intentional with your food – you’ll also be able to experience your meal more fully (which will make it more enjoyable) and better practice portion control. Because why not celebrate mealtime? Just a thought!


2. Stay Hydrated
As the air gets colder and ragweed pollen continues to cover the city of Nashville, it’s a great idea to start prioritizing your hydration. Staying hydrated can help you stay energetic, focused, and free of sickness.

One of our favorite ways to stay hydrated? Develop a tea habit! The cool thing about tea is that you can choose specific functional blends for different purposes throughout your day. If caffeine is your thing, try swapping your morning coffee for some yerba mate, which has about as much caffeine per cup than your average joe. What they lack in caffeine, herbal teas make up for in relaxing, detoxifying, immune-boosting, and hydrating properties that can help you stay well. We’re particularly huge fans of this blend and this one for the fall!

If tea isn’t your thing, fear not! To combat the effects of dehydration, we’re also big fans of our neighbors over at Vida Flo. They offer IV treatments that can help you rehydrate after a bout of sickness, a heavy workout, or a night out on the town. Headache and migraine sufferers: it’s also a proven treatment to alleviate your pain! Learn more


3. Spend Time Outside
As the days get shorter, it’s more important than ever to spend some time outside and soak up all of the vitamin D you can! Vitamin D deficiency is a serious contributor to seasonal affective disorder (otherwise known as the “winter blues”), which affects 10-20% of Americans every year, so it’s no wonder that soaking up a little sun each day can keep you feeling mentally and physically resilient and help you ease seasonal depression.

For all of our dog moms and dads out there, this is just another great excuse to take your furry friend out for a brisk walk for 30 or more minutes a day. Walking in the morning is an energizing way to start your day and a great way to bond with your pup.

For office dwellers, try taking your meetings or breaks outside! A little fresh air can help reset your mood if you’re feeling stressed. And remember, to maximize the benefits of being outside, it’s important to be present – so minimize phone time when possible!


Well, there you have it, Eat Well Nash Pack! Self-care is extremely important during seasons of stress, so whether you’re planning on taking a walk with your pup to decompress, letting us meal prep for you so you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, or embracing airplane mode for a few Facebook-free hours a week, we hope these tips help you find another way to fall in love with your health this season.


Do you have a favorite self-care tip for stress relief? Share your thoughts in the comments!


It’s Time To Fall In Love With Your Health

As the dog days of summer turn into the over-scheduled days of September, it’s important to establish healthy habits that will keep us energized, focused, and balanced… And that’s why this fall, we’re inviting you to fall in love with your health! 

Here’s how we’re greeting the season at Eat Well: We’re busy preparing our new fall menu, including several new Whole30 meals that we released this week. All season long, we’ll be sharing ways to not only celebrate the flavors of the season, but ways to keep your body, mind, and spirit healthy, happy, and strong.

Ready to get started? Us too! Check out insight from three members of our Eat Well team members as they reflect on their favorite ways to stay happy and healthy all season long.

Celebrating Fall Flavors with Alyssa McCord, Marketing Director

Q: According to Starbucks, it’s pumpkin season! What fall flavors are you most looking forward to?
A: I’m not going to lie, I LOVE all things pumpkin spice! But I try to steer clear of sugary drinks whenever I can, so I usually just add some pumpkin spice into my coffee grounds pre-brew in the morning and it makes my coffee taste like fall! I also love pumpkin seeds – they add a super flavorful crunch to fall salads.

Q: September is being called the new January – a time to reset our health and fitness priorities and get back on track. You’ve done a Whole30 before – would you recommend it for someone looking to clean up their diet?
A: I would absolutely recommend it. Whole30 changed my life, to say the least. My favorite thing about it is that it’s not a diet – it’s simply a 30-day reset to give your body a chance to get rid of any bad stuff that may be lingering in your system, and tell you what kind of food makes it feel (or not feel) its best. As you head into the holidays, which are inevitably full of less-than-healthy foods, it’s the perfect way to start things off on the right foot. Fun fact: Eat Well is actually the only licensed meal prep partner of Whole30 that’s local to Nashville! (Check out our Whole30-approved meals here!)

Fall Fitness with Yasar Chaudhary, Co-Owner and COO

Q: Fall is a season of change. Are you planning to mix up your workouts as the weather cools down?
A: Absolutely. I usually work out inside during the hot summer months. In the fall, I like to mix it up by taking my workouts outside! I love finishing my workouts with a long run while it’s chilly, and a really good playlist. The weather in Nashville is almost always perfect for a cool-down run, especially at night.

Q: Football season can make some of us rather sedentary on Saturdays and Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays)… What are some ways to stay active while watching the game?
A: Running around the couch in circles every touchdown TCU gets! But seriously, my best tip is to plan to get a workout in before the game starts – preferably outside. Especially if you plan on staying in all day to watch game after game. You can also do squats or jumping jacks, or even a football-themed workout during commercial breaks – anything to get your legs moving and blood pumping!

Practicing Self-Care with Sarah Mason, Community Manager

Q: Fall is a season of change, productivity, and excitement. How do you ensure that you’re taking care of yourself during this busy time?
A: I actually make a point to set aside time for self-care in my calendar: I schedule workouts, yoga classes, time with friends, and even downtime. If I have a particularly busy week, I try to have a lazy day (aka: Netflix binging and a cuddle session with my dog, Cooper!) on the weekend to recuperate. It’s so important to take breaks throughout busy times, instead of waiting until you burn out to start taking care of yourself.

Q: You have ten minutes between meetings at work, and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. What’s something you can do to regain your balance?
A: I love taking walks outside, totally unplugged, preferably with a cup of herbal tea – chamomile and white teas are both great for promoting calm! Fresh air and a little movement are great for releasing any anxious energy.