Want to live a healthier, happier, and more balanced life?  Think about what you can add or mix-up, not what you need to restrict or avoid.


Here are seven more of my favorite Healthy Tipping Point Swaps and Additions.  To read the first seven tips, check out this post.


HTP SWAP:  Instead of plain old French fries, explore different kinds of “fries.”  I love slicing and roasting sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and yucca (here’s a fun recipe!) to create lovely fries that complement sandwiches and salads.  After slicing the veggies, lightly toss them in some oil and salt and bake at 400 for 20 – 30 minutes.  Serve with organic ketchup and enjoy!  Side note:  The key is to consume cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin oils (I like olive oil).  Commercially pressed oils have added solvents and are cooked at very high temperatures, which removes important nutrients that are especially good for the appearance of your hair, skin, and nails. (Source)  So don’t be afraid of oil – just use it in moderation.


HTP SWAP:  Instead of expensive granola, try mixing regular raw oatmeal into your yogurt.  More than anything, this simple swap will eliminate a TON of unnecessary sugar.  When you pair 1/2 a cup of raw oatmeal with Greek yogurt, you get a lovely breakfast (or larger snack) that includes about 20 grams of protein!


HTP ADD:  Make your water interesting to ensure you’ll drink more.  I really believe water consumption is KEY for living a healthy lifestyle.  But I also understand that drinking water can be boring.  Try adding a squirt of lemon or lime juice, a section of orange, crushed raspberries or strawberries, a few cucumber slices, or a drop of peppermint oil to make your water seem luxurious and refreshing. 


HTP SWAP:  Instead of chain-bought pizza, save money by making your own personal pizza with a whole wheat flatbread or pita as the base.  Pizza has a reputation for being “unhealthy,” but it doesn’t have to be – especially if you make it at home.  I love using a flatbread or pita as the base for pizza because it’s the perfect size for one serving.  Try topping your pizzas with unusual ingredients, like egg, tofu, or beans.  I’ve been craving a BBQ-style pizza with baked beans on top.  Expect to see that soon!


HTP ADD:  Engage in morning or evening affirmations (or both).  Don’t EVER doubt the power of positive thinking to led a calmer, happier life.  Sometimes I find that I have trouble falling asleep so I repeat affirmations to myself while in bed.  I like to say things like, “You are going to have a restful, calming, nightmare-free night and will wake up feeling refreshed.”  It REALLY works. 


HTP ADD: Mix up your workouts by adding speedwork sessions.  Speedwork isn’t just for runners (my dad explains how to do speedwork on your bike for endurance events here).  Any physical activity, including swimming, dancing, or even the elliptical, can benefit from speedwork.  Not only does it increase your endurance, speedwork also keeps workouts mentally interesting and prevents burnout.  You can start by adding a minute of intense activity every three or four minutes.  


HTP SWAP: Make your own icing.  It’s not as intimidating as it sounds, and trust me – once you read the ingredients of store-bought icing, you’ll be more than willing to break out the blender.   While icing is definitely a special treat, the store-bought brand is dripping in hydrogenated oils (trans fat).  My homemade vanilla icing recipe is really simple and the perfect complement to cake or cupcakes!


What healthy additions or swaps have you been making in your life lately?



  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg September 13, 2010, 10:01 am

    I LOVED making the swap from regular fries to sweet potato fries. And now I’m a big fan of parsnip fries and carrot fries as well!

    I’ve been subbing greek yogurt for anything that sour cream would typically be used in, and I love it! So tangy!

    • Jacqueline September 13, 2010, 2:50 pm

      Where can you buy parsnip fries?? Thanks!

      • Erica September 13, 2010, 2:57 pm

        You actually just buy parsnips in the vegetable section at the grocery store (they kind of look like carrots, but whitish yellow). Then peel and slice in matchsticks like you would a carrot, then toss with some oil, salt and pepper and bake as Caitlyn mentioned. I don’t think you can buy them pre-packaged.

  • Laura September 13, 2010, 10:06 am

    I’ve tried the plain oats swap with yogurt, but found that I missed the crunch granola supplied. Grape Nuts (I buy the store brand as the ingredient list is exactly the same) have a great nutritional profile and adds the crunchy goodness of granola. Also, if I’m craving a sweet treat I’ll just make a small glass of chocolate milk and make myself drink it slowly. Yum…

    • Sarah @ Going on Goals September 13, 2010, 2:00 pm

      Laura, I do the same, except I use Ovaltine so that I am also getting some extra vitamins and minerals.

      • Laura September 13, 2010, 2:03 pm

        My husband suggested Ovaltine, too, so we did some research and while Ovaltine does have the extra vitamins it is actually higher in sugar and lower in calcium than Nesquick. We were surprised!

        • Sarah @ Going on Goals September 13, 2010, 2:42 pm

          I will be switching when I finish my current jar! Thanks for the tip!

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin September 13, 2010, 10:07 am

    I love thinking of healthy living as additions/swaps instead of deprivation/restriction.

    I have been adding a lot of cross training to my life lately rather than just running, including biking and yoga. I have also been adding a lot of positive thinking, and its made a world of a difference in overcoming mental hurdles during my long runs for half marathon training.

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) September 13, 2010, 10:10 am

    I need to expand beyond sweet potato fries! I hope to try yucca or parsnips soon… even though I have no clue what they are 🙂

    And raw oats are a GREAT suggestion.. love ’em 🙂

  • Andrea September 13, 2010, 10:13 am

    Caitlin, about how many cupcakes do you guess one could ice with your recipe? I plan to make cupcakes Friday for my son’s birthday and want to be sure I have enough icing for 24 cupcakes! Thanks!!

    My HTP swaps lately are more veggies/grains for meat. We are definitely getting better at using meat as the occassional side instead of the main attraction. Portabello mushrooms instead of burgers, eggplant parmesan instead of veal parmesan. Yum! Your vegetarian lifestyle inspires me!

    • Caitlin September 13, 2010, 10:13 am

      At least a dozen!

  • Kristy @ Kristyruns.com September 13, 2010, 10:15 am

    So many great ideas, Caitlin! I am going to try the flatbread pizza tonight! 🙂

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat September 13, 2010, 10:17 am

    What great tips! I think the positive affirmations one is especially helpful and it’s one I’ve been making an effort to do more of lately. Lately I’ve also been trying to swap as many things as I can with PUMPKIN!! I made a pumpkin chili last week and it was so so so good! If you want the recipe, it’s here: http://eatspinrunrepeat.wordpress.com/2010/03/03/pumpkin-chili/

    Have a great day! 🙂

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story September 13, 2010, 10:19 am

    I can’t wait to try the vanilla icing! I feel some pumpkin cupcakes coming up in the near future. 🙂 Great ideas!

  • Sarah September 13, 2010, 10:20 am

    I love snacking on Larabars (usually just 1/2 since they’re so filling) instead of “real” cookies/brownies in the evening.

    I also read an interesting article this weekend saying it’s a good idea to add a dash of lemon to your water throughout the day as the absorbic acid works as a natural cleansing agent through your kidneys/bladder, etc as your body processes the water 🙂

  • Madeline - Greens and Jeans September 13, 2010, 10:21 am

    I’ve been baking my own bread recently (beer breads and soda breads), which not only is way more fun than buying bread from the store, but I love being able to control and KNOW what is going in it!

  • andrea @ Food Not Fuss September 13, 2010, 10:22 am

    Caitlin, I just love these posts! I think you’re so right that healthy living should be about adding in more positives, rather than focusing on what you’re ‘giving up’. My biggest swap lately has just been adding in more fruit. For some reason I get this idea that I should limit my fruit to one or two servings a day — but then I crave something sweet after meals and end up eating a granola bar because I want the sugar (but ‘can’t’ have fruit!) DUH. So now when I want something sweet I ALWAYS choose fruit, even if I’ve already had two or three or four servings.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete September 13, 2010, 10:23 am

    Healthy changes? For one I start my meal with veggies — that way I get good nutrition in right off the bat, and I am getting full from the veggies, which keeps me from eating too much starch (which is usually my downfall) — its not that carbs are bad, its just that I have little control when they are involved!

    I love the idea of healthy “fries” aka roasted veggies — they add some great flavor to your plate!

  • Anne September 13, 2010, 10:24 am

    Store bought icing is disgusting. It’s so sugary and way too sweet. Of course, I have been brought up to make every bakery item from scratch, so I’m all about making it myself. Butter+PowderedSugar+Milk+Vanilla+FoodColoring = VOILA!! FROSTING!

    • Tracy September 13, 2010, 3:52 pm

      I agree!!! I a so glad Caitlin mentioned the icing. I cannot believe it is still made with trans fats. Now I always make my own!!!

  • Madeleine September 13, 2010, 10:25 am

    I love carrot, parsnip and sweet potato fries!!!

    Raw oatmeal is a new idea to me, will definitely be trying it out. Also like the idea of affirmations, for when my mind is too full and busy when I go to bed.

    I like to switch things up in my physical activities. For example, playing soccer at the park, or going climbing (inside walls) when I have an available and willing buddy!

  • Deb September 13, 2010, 10:25 am

    I don’t really like sweet potatoes but I love sweet potato fries! I make them and all other roasted vegetables using olive oil spray.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday September 13, 2010, 10:26 am
  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) September 13, 2010, 10:28 am

    I love these tips! It really is a great idea to focus on what you can have, rather than thinking you have to give everything up. As you are proving, this is not true and healthy alternatives can be just as tasty (if not more so!). 🙂

  • Heather (Heather's Dish) September 13, 2010, 10:36 am

    i love grilled veggies rather than sauteed ones…cuts the fat that’s needed to keep them from sticking to the pan and adds so much more flavah 😉

  • Shellybean September 13, 2010, 10:43 am

    I saw a fun tip in this month’s real simple- melt a marshmallow on top of cupcakes instead of icing them. I love this b/c I don’t really like icing very much!
    So my healthy tips are:
    Instead of using a creamy pasta sauce, make pasta with lots of fresh veggies and top it with a poached egg. The runny yolk is nice and creamy!
    Instead of dip, I eat Rosemary Triscuits and cottage cheese (with a little pepper)to get more protein into my day.
    Instead of going to a bar and eating bar food on the weekends(like cheese fries) I eat a quick, veggie heavy dinner beforehand and then maybe munch on a fry or two at the bar instead of eating a whole plate of them.

  • Kelly September 13, 2010, 10:43 am

    I love making pizza at home and sweet potato fries!

  • Erin September 13, 2010, 10:44 am

    Homemade pizza is the best. I seriously never order pizza anymore because I love being able to choose my own toppings and customize a pizza to be exactly what I want. I also make it single-serving size so I can eat the entire thing without second thought.

  • Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine September 13, 2010, 10:45 am

    Recently, I’ve learned that one of the best additions to my diet I can make is to eat as much produce as possible- wherever possible! I’ve been buying vegetables at their peak, so I have to eat them quickly or else they’ll go bad!

  • Annie@stronghealthyfit September 13, 2010, 10:48 am

    I’ve been eating raw oats- not even adding any sweetener- with yogurt too! Usually I make overnight oats with them. I also stopped buying flavored yogurt and have stuck to it! I feel so much better eating plain yogurt and not consuming all that added sugar 😉

  • Camille September 13, 2010, 10:51 am

    Great post!
    I think that learning about healthy swaps is one of the first things people should learn in order to adopt a healthier lifestyle!

  • Kristina @ spabettie September 13, 2010, 10:53 am

    I use yogurt in place of sour cream.

    we eat protein filled salads for meals.

    I make a chocolate smoothie (or pudding) from protein powder for dessert. 🙂

  • Hilary September 13, 2010, 10:54 am

    Those are great swaps. I really want some roasted vegetable fries now! My favorite swap is using broth (vegetable, chicken, etc.) in place of oil when I’m carmelizing onions or stir frying vegetables. While I do use some olive oil at the beginning for some healthy fats, I usually pour a tiny bit of broth every few minutes with the vegetables to help keep things cooking and not burning to the pan. It also helps give the veggies flavor!

  • Jillian@ ReshapeYourLife September 13, 2010, 10:55 am

    I love the homemade pizza tip. I LOVE pizza and it’s not something I should have to take out of my diet… Just swap and moderate. I made a homemade veggie pizza the other night, it was easy, fast and delicious!

  • ashleigh September 13, 2010, 10:58 am

    I really like this new feature. I need to add more positive affirmations! What a great way to start and end the day.

    I make pizza on wraps almost every week! It’s so healthy, delicious and easy!

    I’ve been using protein powder and almond milk in my coffee instead of coffee mate. Delicious!

  • Sarah for Real September 13, 2010, 11:05 am

    I guess this qualifies as a “swap.” Instead of bringing packaged granola bars, crackers, sugary yogurt, etc to work for snacks, I just bring whole fruits and veggies to chop up when I get hungry between meals. It’s just as easy to pack a cucumber or banana as a granola bar or yogurt and I add that extra serving or two of produce. Today I brought a cucumber and a tomato!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape September 13, 2010, 11:08 am

    Oooh, I love the idea of this post! Instead of restricting yourself find ways to enjoy what you already like with less guilt. Your “fries” one inspired me to cut up that sweet potato on my counter and bake up some fries with dinner 😀

  • Daniel September 13, 2010, 11:09 am

    I do enjoy raw oats, don’t get me wrong, but I’m trying hard to come up with something as crunchy as granola without the extra sugar. I do make my own homemade graonla, but I’m trying to find a simple way to just make, well… crunchy oats, haha. Applesauce makes them chewy so next time I’m just going to try apple juice instead.

    A tip for using Greek yogurt in potato/egg salad type dishes: if you really want that extra mayo taste, you can add in a ratio of close to 1:8 mayo:Greek Yogurt and the yogurt seriously carries the mayo flavor through the whole dish without using lots of it!

    I love the idea of “fries” too, any tips for how to slice them nicely? Or is it just time, practice and basic (thicker) juilienne slicing?

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston September 13, 2010, 11:11 am

    I love that you said make your own icing — my family always makes their own and not only do you know what ingredients went into the icing but it tastes soo much better!

  • Lily @ Lily's Health Pad September 13, 2010, 11:17 am

    I’ve recently stopped eating sweetened milks and yogurts. No more flavored greek yogurt or vanilla soymilk. Just plain. It took some getting used to, but now I don’t even notice a difference! In fact, I really prefer plain Greek yogurt to the sweetened versions anyway.

  • Kaite Daley September 13, 2010, 11:20 am

    Thanks for posting these swaps! I’ve started enjoying some raw oats in my yogurt and will never go back!

  • britta September 13, 2010, 11:27 am

    I always get Poweraide’s lemon flavored packets to mix in my water bottles…they are soooooo yummy and loaded with electrolytes!!

  • Lauren September 13, 2010, 11:33 am

    No wonder your blog is such a big hit, you come up with such amazing topics! I love your attitude towards restriction because living a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t be about limiting yourself, it should be about adding better things 🙂 Great post!

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks September 13, 2010, 11:36 am

    Another great batch of swaps! Thanks for sharing.

    I agree with you on the positive affirmations thing. What I am most amazed with from my journey to becoming a happier, healthier person is that when I think good things, I feel good. It sounds so simple, and in the past I would’ve thought it to be corny, but it’s true. When I let the good vibes out into the world, I get paid back tenfold.

  • Maren September 13, 2010, 11:37 am

    These tips are really helpful! Thanks!

  • Amanda September 13, 2010, 11:46 am

    Homemade icing is so worth it! I actually won’t eat store bought icing, I find the taste to be awful!

  • Amber K September 13, 2010, 11:53 am

    I haven’t had much success in using other veggies to make fries. They all come out way too sweet. I don’t use salt to stay low-sodium, but I do use various herbs to flavor, but nothing can seem to cut the sweetness.

    A lot of your other tips I really enjoy. I definitely get my water in!

  • Wei-Wei September 13, 2010, 12:13 pm

    I don’t want to be triggering, but noticing increasingly more disordered habits recently (dessert for lunch? Really? Laaaaame.) has inspired me to make more SWAPS and ADDITIONS to my diet. Like, I’m trying to eat a lot more protein because I’m trying to weight train and gain more muscle! Yay 😀 These are awesome awesome tips! 🙂

  • Mary (What's Cookin' with Mary) September 13, 2010, 12:15 pm

    My fav swap of all time is making my own ‘fries’ in the oven. I have never tried yucca, but it sounds interesting for sure. Also haven’t tried carrot fries. I must try these ASAP!

  • Cynthia September 13, 2010, 12:16 pm

    Just tried sweet potato fries for the first time a couple weeks ago. They are so good! And more and more, I am making homemade items (auch as granola bars) instead of buying them just to save myself the MSG and other preservatives. I am very MSG sensitive and get migraines very easily, so I have to watch out for that kind of stuff.

  • Lisa September 13, 2010, 12:43 pm

    Good tips. I think swapping out things like black coffee with a flavored creamer is both cheaper AND less calories than a mocha or latte!

  • Megan (Braise The Roof) September 13, 2010, 12:46 pm

    One swap I made a while back is only buying plain yogurt. It’s amazing how much added sugar/artificial flavoring you find in flavored yogurts. If I want flavor in my yogurt I’ll add fruit (either fresh or frozen and thawed) or some honey. It took a month or two to get used to but I wouldn’t switch back!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey September 13, 2010, 12:55 pm

    I really really liked this post! It is definitely a good thing to remember that a lot of readers may be new at the whole “healthy eating” thing and they may need some tips along the way! You are so kind to others!

  • MoniMeals September 13, 2010, 12:57 pm

    Great and Awesome ideas Caitlin! I have been focusing tyring to have meals with my honey/and dogs outside by our firepit. It is a great way to recharge, be together/absorb one another, love our meals even more and really take-a-time-out of the crazy day!

  • Stacy September 13, 2010, 1:05 pm

    I love this little segment 🙂 I have switched from cow’s milk in my coffee to soy milk. I have noticed a huge difference. Before with cow’s milk instead of feeling the energy kick, I felt sluggish. Now I experience the caffeine jolt 🙂 I have also noticed since reducing my dairy intake, I am not as bloated and I don’t crave it as much 🙂
    Before my morning work out I used to eat only carbs like fruit. Now I have a handful of nuts. Instead of feeling famished after my work out, I now have a slight hunger. I have my “second breakfast” and I am full for a solid 4 hours. Love the staying power of proteins and healthy fats 🙂

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman September 13, 2010, 1:08 pm

    I think the best change I (accidentally) made was to eat dinner a bit later. It doesn’t give me time to get snacky before bed or even hungry enough to want dessert.

  • emptynutjar September 13, 2010, 1:08 pm

    Nice post. I’m not afraid of oils 🙂

  • Tina September 13, 2010, 1:09 pm

    I seriously am in love with these series. I like your tips for flavoring water. And I always do those personal pizzas. They satisfy cravings and nutrition. 🙂

  • Erin September 13, 2010, 1:33 pm

    Great post, Caitlin!

  • Teacherwoman September 13, 2010, 1:39 pm

    Great post!

  • Trish September 13, 2010, 1:47 pm

    Love this! Way to move out a negative place and into the positive. How you think about stuff makes such a huge difference!

  • Jennifer September 13, 2010, 1:54 pm

    Great swap tips, thank you!

    I also wanted to comment that I made your sweet potato & black bean balls with ground flax and they were AWESOME!!! I made a double batch, and brough some in for lunch today. Just a quick warming in the microwave and they were as perfect as the first time.

    This will be in heavy rotation. Thank you!!

  • Erin September 13, 2010, 2:12 pm

    I love the idea of swapping out or adding instead of taking things away. It’s one of the big things i’m working on in my effort to eat better so thank you for these posts 🙂

  • Sarah H September 13, 2010, 2:47 pm

    Ok, maybe it’s just me but baked beans on salad?? Sounds like a pregnant craving…. 🙂 hmmmm

  • Tricia September 13, 2010, 2:47 pm

    I am hoping you can help me. I just got a Garmin 305 and noticed that you always post your stats per mile. I have been using it in the basic mode which gives your the miles and average pace as well as fastest pace but not per mile? Are you actually programming a workout to get these stats?

    Thanks for any help you or anyone else can give me?

    • Caitlin September 13, 2010, 3:17 pm

      you want to turn on the autolap feature 🙂 it’s under training or settings. set it to one mile increments and you’ll be able to look through the history and see the mile per mile splits.

      • Tricia September 13, 2010, 3:53 pm

        Thank you so much! I feel like a techno idiot but I could not figure it out. Just got it done!

  • Jacqueline September 13, 2010, 2:48 pm

    I love the affirmations suggestion!

  • Chelsea September 13, 2010, 2:57 pm

    We have already made the swap from regular fries to sweet potatoes…LOVE THEM!! May have to take up your suggestion on the yucca fries too 🙂 Last night I made the banana soft serve for the first time…AAA-mazing!! I think i’ll add berries to the mix next batch!

    P.S. I’ve already read your afternoon post, I hope Tuesday turns out better for you :/

  • Erica September 13, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I really love this series on your blog! What a great and manageable way for people to view a healthy lifestyle change!

  • Bee Goes Bananas September 13, 2010, 4:56 pm

    Wow, homemade icing! That’s something I never considered. I just assumed that icing is unhealthy no matter how you slice it, but I guess it doesn’t have to be AS unhealthy as the store-bought stuff. I’ll have to try that next time!

  • Halley (Blunder Construction) September 13, 2010, 5:10 pm

    How about baked zucchini fries? I also heard that fried okra is a big hit. Now I’m adding yucca plant to my to-fry list, sounds great.

  • Jaime Runs September 13, 2010, 6:11 pm

    Really loving this series. I can’t wait to see what kind of bbq baked bean pizza you come up with. Sounds delish.

    I don’t really like sweet potatoes unless they’re in fry form! 🙂

    As of late, I’ve been trying to increase my fruit and vegetable servings throughout the day and make small healthy choices for desserts that will satisfy my sweet tooth while being a better-for-me decision.

    I don’t eat very healthful on the weekends so I’ve been trying to substitute at least one part of each meal with something healthy. I’ve chosen water instead of soda, fig newtons instead of chocolate chip cookies, a ww wrap instead of a big sub roll, etc. Hey — it’s a start, right? 🙂

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin September 13, 2010, 7:31 pm

    I love making pita pizzas! Or sometimes even pitas stuffed with pizza sauce and toppings, if I want to switch it up. It’s like a healthy calzone. 😀

  • Cait September 13, 2010, 8:00 pm

    I really love these suggestions! Thank you so much for sharing them, because I feel like I do much better when I gradually make smaller changes instead of big, sweeping changes. 🙂

  • Jen September 13, 2010, 9:06 pm

    I substitute fat-free Greek yogurt for butter in baked goods, especially cookies. They end up with a fluffy, muffin-like texture (which I really like), you get lots of calcium and protein, and they’re much lower in calories.

  • Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) September 14, 2010, 12:05 am

    I always make my own icing, because the store bought stuff just doesn’t taste that great. My favourite to make is a cream cheese icing for a lemon or carrot cake.

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