Harley Pasternak: 6 Healthy Food Swaps You Can Make Today

06/04/2014 at 12:15 PM ET

Harley PasternakCourtesy Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

Smart decisions can make the difference between flab and fit! Here are a few of my easy food swaps that will help you look and feel your best:

Almonds and cashewsFoodcollection/Getty, Jonathan Kantor/Getty

Almonds over cashews. The truth is, both of these nuts are loaded with healthy fats, and both have a comparable amount of calories per ounce. However, almonds have almost four times as much fiber, and 20 percent more protein.

Blackberries and Acai BerriesCreative Crop/Getty

Blackberries over acai berries. Forgetting the countless acai berry scams and false weight loss claims on the Internet, acai berries are not bad — they’re just not as amazing as blackberries. Per 100 grams, blackberries have triple the fiber, 40 percent less calories and infinitely more Vitamin C than acai. Moreover, blackberries are just as potent of an antioxidant, if not more, than acai.

Avocado and butterImage Source/Getty

Avocado over butter. Per 100 grams, butter has nearly 5 times more calories, only one-quarter the protein, and is fiber-less. Hass avocado, on the other hand, has a whopping 7 grams of fiber and is mainly heart-healthy unsaturated fat (butter is mainly saturated fat).

Wild rice and white riceTom Grill/Getty, Michael Rosenfeld/Getty

Wild rice over white rice. This one is a no-brainer. Wild rice is not only 30 percent lower in calories, it has quadruple the fiber and nearly double the protein of white rice. The net result is a grain that will make you feel fuller longer.

Beef JerkyJuanmonino/Getty

Natural jerky over regular jerky. One of my favorite snacks is beef jerky: it’s portable, it’s convenient, it’s packed with protein. But take a glance at the ingredient labels of some of the top brands, and you’ll see that all jerkies are not created equal.

Look for a short ingredient list with recognizable ingredients to avoid preservatives and additives. One to avoid: Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky, which has both MSG and nitrites. Smart swap: Oberto Beef Jerky, which has no artificial ingredients and no MSG. Lesson: Read your ingredient lists. Not all similar foods are made from similar recipes.

BreadTetra Images/Getty

High-fiber bread over regular bread. Not all bread is evil! Yes, some bread has hundreds of calories’ worth of white flour per giant slice; others however, can be a healthful choice and a great addition to your diet. Look for breads that have fewer than 60 calories per slice, and have at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. And generally, the more fiber the bread has, the more filling it will be! To cut on calories, try making sandwiches open-face style.

A few “better-bread” examples are: Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delightful 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins; Nature’s Own 40 Calorie Wheat Bread.

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whatever on

Ezekiel IF you must have bread. Freeze it and it will last a long time.

Brandon on

Fiber facts on acai are wrong. Acai has more than 3 grams of fiber per 100 gram serving. Acai also has 5 grams more Omegas than blackberries. Omegas give lots of fuel for long-lasting sustained energy. Acai also has no sugar where as blackberries do. Finally, antixoidant measures so much more in acai than blackberries. Overall, not a very good comparison as it misses key nutritional elements of acai that blackberries don’t come close to and it has some erroneous facts about fiber.

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