8 Easy Swaps to Build a Real Food Foundation
04/13/2017 11:30 AM


Integrative Dietitian Nutritionist, Robyn Johnson, gives tips for improving health through good nutrition.


1. Swap the pasta with zoodles, spaghetti squash or sweet potato noodles

This is a great opportunity to swap a processed carb (pasta) for a real food carb (veggies). The veggies provide more fiber, vitamins, minerals and believe it or not…flavor.

Recipe ideas here and here.

Check my website for a spiralizer tool recommendation.


2. Use real butter 

Embrace the healthy fats in butter! Use the real stuff and ditch the margarine or other processed versions. The visual below highlights the ingredients in real vs fake butter! Eek!



3. Choose real eggs over egg white cartons   

Eat your yolks! Real, whole eggs are much more nutritious that any processed boxed egg mixture. Embrace the yolk as it contains important nutrients that aren’t common in other foods (like choline).

Tip: support your local farmers by purchasing eggs from chickens who have grazed on greens and grass! Healthier chickens = healthier eggs = healthier you!


4. Opt for natural peanut butter

When searching for any nut butter, remember to keep it simple. Look for brands that only contain the ingredients “peanuts” and maybe salt. Keep it simple and healthy by purchasing a brand with 1-2 ingredients.

Tip: after purchasing, flip the jar in your cupboard for a day and then stir it so the oil is on the bottom and doesn’t spill everywhere. Store in fridge so it doesn’t separate again!


5. Oil swap

Ditch the vegetable oil (seriously, throw it away) and opt for any of the following: coconut oil, real butter, extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, flax oil or ghee. That swap reduces inflammatory fats and provides ANTI-inflammatory fats instead. Find a complete list of healthy fats here.


6. Salt change        

This one is super simple! Choosing a salt with trace minerals (i.e. Himalayan or celtic sea salt) gives you more flavor to your food AND more nutrients. It’s available at most stores too! Most salts are processed and stripped away of the trace minerals. Check my website for a brand recommendation.


7. Sweetener check

Stick to more natural forms of sweeteners like honey, pure maple syrup, or stevia versus artificial sweeteners (equal, Splenda) or processed sugar.

Tip: Truvia, PureVia and Stevia in the Raw are not pure stevia. Recipe ideas here!

Brand Recommendation: Stevia Leaf 



8. Get it on greens

When dining out, ask for a burger or sandwich to be served on greens instead of the bun. It’s an easy way to reduce the processed carb (bread) and increase the real food carb (greens). Prefacing the order adjustment with a smile and promise to tip keeps your server happy too.



About the Author 

This guest post was written by Robyn Johnson: MS, RDN, and LD—Integrative Dietitian Nutritionist.

Robyn is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with her Master’s degree in Nutrition and is certified in Dietetics and Integrative Medicine from KU Medical Center. She uses a food-centric and whole-body approach to healing and has a passion for helping people improve their health by learning to utilize the power of good nutrition.

Robyn Johnson
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