Life in the Marine Corps can be busy. You don’t always have the time or energy to make healthy food choices. But living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard or involve elaborate meal plans. Simple changes can add up to big health benefits.

1. Oatmeal for sugary cereal. Most popular breakfast cereals are packed full of sugar. Oatmeal is a heart-healthy alternative but steer clear of the pre-packaged flavored varieties. Choose plain oats instead and top with fruit or cinnamon.

2. Mustard for mayo. Next time you reach for some mayo for your sandwich replace it with mustard. It’s naturally fat-free and comes in several varieties so there’s sure to be a flavor to suit every palate.

3. Lean Meats for fatty ones. Choose lean meats like turkey, chicken, or reduced fat beef to add a healthy dose of protein to your meals.

3. Avocado for butter. Spread avocado on sandwiches or toast for a healthy alternative to butter. Or substitute avocado for butter in baked goods to reduce the fat in your favorite sweet treats by 40 percent!

4. Toast for bagel. Did you know that one bagel is equivalent to 5 slices of toast? Forgo the bagel and have one or two slices of toast for breakfast instead.

5. Air-popped popcorn for chips. You don’t need a fancy machine to make fat free air-popped popcorn at home. Place ¼ cup of popcorn kernels in a brown paper lunch bag and fold the top of the bag over twice. Microwave for two minutes then top with your favorite seasonings!

6. Pan-Fried instead of Deep-Fried. Craving something crispy and fried? Pan-fry some lean protein or veggies in a skillet with some cooking oil for a healthier option!

7. Oil and Balsamic for other dressings. Lightly dress a salad with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a tasty, additive free meal.

8. Greek yogurt for sour cream. Swap sour cream for greek yogurt to lower the fat and increase the protein in your favorite creamy dishes.

9. Cinnamon for sugar.  Spice up your coffee with cinnamon instead of sugar. It enhances the flavor without the extra calories!

For more information on making healthy food choices click here, or visit a Health Promotion Specialist at your local fitness center.