dad son eating banana

Instead of This, Eat That!

January 10, 2024 General /Family

Instead of This, Eat That!

By: Bridget Swinney MS, RDN, LD

Elena’s 3-year-old son Brandon won’t eat veggies. Is there anything Elena can serve instead that has the same nutrition? Grace knows she can eat better, but she doesn’t really like it when her mom keeps telling her what NOT to eat. Why does eating healthy foods have to be so difficult?

Luckily there’s a better way to think about eating healthier. It involves making “trade-offs.” It’s good to remember that it’s not “all or nothing” when it comes to eating healthier. For example, nutritionists recommend eating “whole” wheat bread, but if you prefer wheat or white wheat bread, that’s still healthier than just white bread.

Below are some suggestions on healthier options based on healthfulness, nutrient content, and cooking method. Use these tips to help your family eat a little healthier with simple substitutions!

Instead of This, Eat That for Healthfulness

rice
brown rice

Instead of this…

Eat that…

Why

White Rice

Brown rice, quinoa, barley

Whole grains contain healthy fiber, more nutrients, and are better for blood sugar and cholesterol.

Mayonnaise

Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or use a mix of mayo and yogurt in dips and salad dressings

Yogurt has a similar texture but has much less fat and also has protein, calcium, and gut friendly bacteria.

Corn or Vegetable Oil

Canola, Olive, or Avocado Oil

Less saturated fat, more healthy fats.

Oil when pan frying

Olive or Avocado oil cooking spray

Less fat and calories.

Oil when making quick breads

Applesauce, mashed banana,
or other fruit

Reduces fat while adding more fiber and vitamins.

Instead of this…

White Rice

Eat that…

Brown rice, quinoa, barley

Why

Whole grains contain healthy fiber, more nutrients, and are better for blood sugar and cholesterol.

Instead of this…

Mayonnaise

Eat that…

Use plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or use a mix of mayo and yogurt in dips and salad dressings

Why

Yogurt has a similar texture but has much less fat and also has protein, calcium, and gut friendly bacteria.

Instead of this…

Corn or Vegetable Oil

Eat that…

Canola, Olive, or Avocado Oil

Why

Less saturated fat, more healthy fats.

Instead of this…

Oil when pan frying

Eat that…

Olive or Avocado oil cooking spray

Why

Less fat and calories.

Instead of this…

Oil when making quick breads

Eat that…

Applesauce, mashed banana,
or other fruit

Why

Reduces fat while adding more fiber and vitamins.

Instead of This, Eat That for Variety and Similar Nutrients

Cheese
Beans Peas Dried

Instead of this…

Eat that…

Why

Broccoli, cabbage,
bell peppers, tomatoes

Oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, cantaloupe, berries

Rich in Vitamin C

Carrots, sweet potato, spinach, red peppers

Cantaloupe, mango, pumpkin

Rich in Vitamin A

Lean beef, dark meat of chicken

White beans, lentils, firm tofu, kidney beans

Vegetarian sources of iron

Lean beef, pork, chicken, fish

Eggs, cottage cheese and other cheeses, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), lentils and beans (except green), tofu, nuts*, and seed butters

High in protein

1 cup milk or 1.5 oz cheese

1 cup of soy milk or fortified orange juice, ¾ cup almond milk, 3 cups cooked kale or turnip greens, 3 oz. sardines, 6 tbsp Almond butter*, ¾ cup tofu, 3 tbsp black strap molasses

All servings of food listed have similar amounts of calcium. (Note that you need to eat a very large serving of veggies to equal a serving of dairy.)

*May be a choking hazard for children under 5.

Instead of this…

Broccoli, cabbage,
bell peppers, tomatoes

Eat that…

Oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, cantaloupe, berries

Why

Rich in Vitamin C

Instead of this…

Carrots, sweet potato, spinach, red peppers

Eat that…

Cantaloupe, mango, pumpkin

Why

Rich in Vitamin A

Instead of this…

Lean beef, dark meat of chicken

Eat that…

White beans, lentils, firm tofu, kidney beans

Why

Vegetarian sources of iron

Instead of this…

Lean beef, pork, chicken, fish

Eat that…

Eggs, cottage cheese and other cheeses, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), lentils and beans (except green), tofu, nuts*, and seed butters

Why

High in protein

Instead of this…

1 cup milk or 1.5 oz cheese

Eat that…

1 cup of soy milk or fortified orange juice, ¾ cup almond milk, 3 cups cooked kale or turnip greens, 3 oz. sardines, 6 tbsp Almond butter*, ¾ cup tofu, 3 tbsp black strap molasses

Why

All servings of food listed have similar amounts of calcium. (Note that you need to eat a very large serving of veggies to equal a serving of dairy.)

*May be a choking hazard for children under 5.

Instead of This, Cook Like That for Better Health

food for batter health

Instead of this…

Eat that…

Why

Deep fried chicken, fish, or veggies

Coat with egg and bread crumbs or flour and bake at a high temperature or air fry

Less fat and calories

Boiled veggies

Toss with a bit of oil and seasonings and roast in the oven

Veggies lose less nutrients and turn sweet when boiled, which may appeal to kids.

Steamed veggies

Steam in the microwave by cooking in a covered glass or ceramic container with 1-2 tablespoons of water

Food is more nutrient-rich, looks prettier and tastes better.

Baking a roast or brisket

Use a slow cooker

Inexpensive meats which are healthier, but tend to be tougher, get tender when cooked slowly over low heat. With a slow cooker, you can set it and forget it!

Instead of this…

Broccoli, cabbage,
bell peppers, tomatoes

Eat that…

Oranges and other citrus fruits, kiwi, papaya, strawberries, cantaloupe, berries

Why

Rich in Vitamin C

Instead of this…

Carrots, sweet potato, spinach, red peppers

Eat that…

Cantaloupe, mango, pumpkin

Why

Rich in Vitamin A

Instead of this…

Lean beef, dark meat of chicken

Eat that…

White beans, lentils, firm tofu, kidney beans

Why

Vegetarian sources of iron

Instead of this…

Lean beef, pork, chicken, fish

Eat that…

Eggs, cottage cheese and other cheeses, yogurt (especially Greek yogurt), lentils and beans (except green), tofu, nuts*, and seed butters

Why

High in protein

Instead of this…

1 cup milk or 1.5 oz cheese

Eat that…

1 cup of soy milk or fortified orange juice, ¾ cup almond milk, 3 cups cooked kale or turnip greens, 3 oz. sardines, 6 tbsp Almond butter*, ¾ cup tofu, 3 tbsp black strap molasses

Why

All servings of food listed have similar amounts of calcium. (Note that you need to eat a very large serving of veggies to equal a serving of dairy.)

The ‘I’m a WIC Client’ button now directs to Nutrition and Breastfeeding, the content offered on the site has not changed.

Side Lying Hold

Side-Lying Hold

  1. For the right breast, lie on your right side with your baby facing you.
  2. Pull your baby close. Your baby’s mouth should be level with your nipple.
  3. In this position, you can cradle your baby’s back with your left arm and support yourself with your right arm and/or pillows.
  4. Keep loose clothing and bedding away from your baby.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Cross Cradle Hold

Cross-Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, use your left arm to hold your baby’s head at your right breast and baby’s body toward your left side. A pillow across your lap can help support your left arm.
  2. Gently place your left hand behind your baby’s ears and neck, with your thumb and index finger behind each ear and your palm between baby’s shoulder blades. Turn your baby’s body toward yours so your tummies are touching.
  3. Hold your breast as if you are squeezing a sandwich. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  4. As your baby’s mouth opens, push gently with your left palm on baby’s head to help them latch on. Make sure you keep your fingers out of the way.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Football Hold

Clutch or “Football” Hold

  1. For the right breast, hold your baby level, facing up, at your right side.
  2. Put your baby’s head near your right nipple and support their back and legs under your right arm.
  3. Hold the base of your baby’s head with your right palm. A pillow underneath your right arm can help support your baby’s weight.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Bring baby to you instead.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Cradle Hold

  1. For the right breast, cradle your baby with your right arm. Your baby will be on their left side across your lap, facing you at nipple level.
  2. Your baby’s head will rest on your right forearm with your baby’s back along your inner arm and palm.
  3. Turn your baby’s tummy toward your tummy. Your left hand is free to support your breast, if needed. Pillows can help support your arm and elbow.
  4. To protect your back, avoid leaning down to your baby. Instead, bring your baby to you.
  5. Reverse for the left breast.

This hold is useful when:

Breastfeeding Holds

Laid-Back Hold

  1. Lean back on a pillow with your baby’s tummy touching yours and their head at breast level. Some moms find that sitting up nearly straight works well. Others prefer to lean back and lie almost flat.
  2. You can place your baby’s cheek near your breast, or you may want to use one hand to hold your breast near your baby. It’s up to you and what you think feels best.
  3. Your baby will naturally find your nipple, latch, and begin to suckle.

This hold is useful when: