It wouldn’t be the end of the year if we didn’t look back and take some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t. This traditional practice as the calendar approaches the new year is a healthy way to keep us focused on what works and to change what doesn’t. Evaluating diet and how it is working to keep us healthy is a logical place to start.

One of our favorite features here at Pain Doctor is our popular Eat This, Not That series where we look at specific swaps that focus on improving diet with a few easy and delicious changes. Here are our ten favorite Eat This, Not That recommendations from the year.

1. Eat This, Not That: Workout Snacks Edition

Going to back to one of our first Eat This, Not That features takes us to one of our favorites: snacks to eat before and after a workout. This time of year can make a mess of your workout schedule, and some foods can help charge (and recharge) better than others. In this edition of ETNT, we highlight not only why some foods are better than others before the workout but also suggest ways to make snacks ahead of time. This way, if time is short in the morning, you can still get a healthy snack to fuel your workout.

Top tip: Overnight oatmeal makes a hot breakfast an easy reality, with healthy whole grains, dried fruits, and nuts to fuel your morning workout.

2. Eat This, Not That: Heart Health Edition

Our hearts are full this time of year, but are they healthy? Even though February is American Heart Month, we love this edition of Eat This, Not That for its suggestions to help us take care of our hearts all year long. Did you know that you can have some of your favorites (pizza, anyone?) and still stay heart healthy? You can. We show you how.

Top tip: Swap your greasy, meat-laden pizza for one that has higher quality ingredients in smaller quantities. Stick with whole-wheat crust, fresh mozzarella, homemade sauce, and grass-fed organic ground beef for a delicious, healthy swap.

3. Eat This, Not That: Fibromyalgia Edition (On A Budget!)

This time of year can wreak havoc on not only your diet but also your wallet. Eating healthy food in the middle of winter can get expensive pretty quickly. The best part about these suggestions (other than their wallet-friendliness!) is how quick and easy they are to prepare. Cooking for fibromyalgia doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming to be delicious!

Top tip: Make your own almond milk! With just raw almonds, water, and a blender, you can make unsweetened almond milk at a fraction of the grocery store price (and without extra ingredients you don’t need).

4. Eat This, Not That: Healthy Kids

You know the drill; you pick the kids up late from school (afterschool activities) and then head to another activity. After that, you take your tired, grumpy, hungry children the fastest route to food: the drive thru. The holidays are already filled with sweets and high-fat, high-sodium foods. Take a look at our healthy ideas for snacks, lunches, dinners, drinks, and sweets. “Fast” food doesn’t have to mean junk food.

Top tip: Bento boxes are better than the drive through and easy and quick to assemble. Keep a few Bento boxes in the house to grab and go when you are rushing between activities.

5. Eat This, Not That: Manly Edition

This one was specifically tailored towards the guys, or really anyone who feels like dinner isn’t a meal without a meat centerpiece. Turns out, you can actually have your steak (and eat it, too) with just a few little tweaks. Same goes for pasta, chili, and burgers.

Top tip: Don’t skip the gooey, cheesy lasagna – deconstruct it! Make a fresh hot pasta with tomatoes, basil, and mozzarella for the same oozy, warm dish with a fraction of the fat and calories.

6. Eat This, Not That: Gluten-Free Substitutes For Your Favorite Foods

Whether you are avoiding gluten due to celiac, gluten sensitivity, or any other reason, eating gluten-free can get expensive and sometimes feel limiting. In this edition of ETNT, we open up the world of ancient grains, change up your noodle game, and give you suggestions on how to navigate the grocery store to find the best gluten-free options.

Top tip: Try substituting veggie noodles – zucchini, beet, broccoli, or sweet potatoes – for your regular gluten-free pasta.

7. Eat This, Not That: Summer Crockpot Recipes

Yes, it nearly winter, and our crockpots are in heavy rotation, but we loved this edition of ETNT for its summer cooking ideas. Anything that lets us keep the stove and oven off during the hottest days of the year is a hit!

Top tip: Hands down, our top tip for the summer crockpot is corn-on-the-cob. No heavy pot of boiling water, no steam in the kitchen, and no need to fuss with charcoal (or deal with a propane-y taste) on the grill.

8. Eat This, Not That: Arthritis-Healthy Recipes

With just a few easy suggestions, ETNT offers those with arthritis some concrete, research-based ideas to feel better with food.

Top tip: When taking supplements, don’t go for a multivitamin. A targeted approach – taking only what you need – is healthier, safer, and more effective.

9. Eat This, Not That: Comfort Food Edition

Comfort food may be comforting in theory, but in practice it can often leaving us feeling stuffed and heavy. This edition of ETNT focuses on foods that are just as delicious and comforting as traditional comfort foods but without the sluggish feeling afterwards.

Top tip: The good news about chocolate is that you don’t actually have to give it up! Try swapping dark chocolate in modest amounts for your regular square of milk chocolate.

10. Eat This, Not That: Healthy Foods For Diabetes

With diabetes as the 7th leading cause of death in the world and numbers of diabetes cases in the U.S. projected to double or even triple by 2050, we can’t love this edition of ETNT enough. Being diagnosed with diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t eat delicious food, and here we show you how to do it.

Top tip: Zucchini or eggplant rollatini (a.k.a. “involtini”) are a delicious, satisfying substitute for lasagna with wheat noodles.

Which of our Eat This, Not That features was your favorite, or what was your top tip this year?


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