My favorite blog series is back after a long hiatus! 🙂 HTP Swaps and Additions was originally started because I hated the way certain women’s magazines suggested that health was about eliminating or restricting.  As I said in the first HTP Swaps and Additions post, I hope my blog illustrates that healthy living is about changing something small or even ADDING something to your life more than it’s about taking anything away. 


And because we’re NOT all the same, I’d love to hear your suggestions for HTP Swaps and Additions, too! 


HTP SWAP:  I love, love, LOVE jam, but a really nice change of pace is whole, fresh berries on top of toast.  It tastes amazing (dare I say it’s even better than jam?) and, of course, you’re consuming less added sugar by eating the whole fruit instead of jam or jelly.  My blood sugar says thanks.


HTP ADD:  Haven’t really blogged about this in depth yet, but I’m getting really into meditation.  For 10 minutes a day (all I can sit through so far), I visually a cleansing, white smoke filling every inch of my body with each breath I take.  With every breath, the smoke goes deeper into my body, seeping from my lungs into my stomach, from my stomach into my legs, etc.  When I breathe out, the smoke escapes, taking out all my bad thoughts and stresses.  It’s a nice visualization and very calming.  Try it!  Meditation rules.


HTP SWAP:  While on road trips, we usually pack our own food and stash everything in a small cooler in the back seat.  First of all, this saves TONS of money.  Secondly, it’s usually hard to find healthy, non-fried food on the road, and it’s even harder to find vegetarian and vegan meals.  When we can’t pack our food, the Husband and I search out grocery stores.  You can pick up whole fruit, pre-cut veggies, yogurt, granola bars, deli sandwiches, and other healthy food at a grocery store – and it’s usually cheaper than getting food at a restaurant, drive-thru, or gas station.  Keep your eye out for a Whole Foods/Earth Fare, too – the hot bars are to die for.


HTP ADD:  I think dates are an excellent pre- or mid-workout snack because they are loaded with natural sugars and easily digestible.  Gu and Sports Beans are convenient, but nothing beats nature’s candy! 


Tip: Tightly pack them dates in a plastic bag and safety pin it between your sports bra and shirt if you don’t have a pocket.


HTP ADD:  Parsnip fries.  Read my Ode to Parsnip Fries if you don’t know why you MUST add this vegetable to your life.


HTP ADD:  If you are short on time during the work week, make a huge dish of quinoa with a variety of cooked veggies and a protein (tofu or beans or meat, if that’s your thing) mixed in.  The quinoa mix will last three days and you can use it to create a variety of meals.  For example, you can eat it plain as an entree, as a side dish, on a bed of spinach, or in a wrap.  You can even beat 1 cup cheese, 2 eggs, and about 1/4 milk into 4 cups of the quinoa mix, pour it into a casserole dish, bake at 350 for half an hour or so, and make it into a casserole!


HTP ADD:  Get sneaky with vegetables.  When I started this blog, I actually hated vegetables – seriously.  But I began to love them (learning to roast veggies properly was a HUGE turning point for me) and you can, too.  :)  Think of ways to sneak veggies into other dishes… like putting macaroni and cheese on top of a bed of spinach + mixing in broccoli.  Ta-da!


What healthy swaps and additions have you made recently? 


Check out the other posts in this series:




  • Amy October 22, 2010, 6:56 am

    I LOVE this series concept. Health isn’t restrictive or all about eliminating things from your life! Thanks for sharing these great ideas.

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 22, 2010, 6:57 am

    Great post!! I do all of the above (minus meditation). I don’t know if I’ve done healthy swaps for myself lately, but I have for the husband. He has been great about trying new things and not complaining!

  • Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) October 22, 2010, 7:06 am

    so great!!! i admit i love sugar-laden jam, but hey, nobody is perfect.

    trying to do tea instead of hot chocolate all the time (swap).

  • Jess @ NZ Girl Runs October 22, 2010, 7:09 am

    My current healthy swap is homemade drive thru food. If I want a burger and fries I make my own burger with heaps of salad and a homemade patty (just ground meat, an egg and breadcrumbs that I wizz up) and cut a potato into fries and bake them in the oven. Much better for me (and cheaper) then a drive thru and I know exactly what is in it. I will try parsnip fries next time I buy a parsnip!

  • Jen October 22, 2010, 7:24 am

    Love this, thank you!!! Just want to tell you how much I love your blog, I get so much inspiration and motivation from it 🙂


  • Laura@keepingslimandgettingstylish October 22, 2010, 7:28 am

    What a fab post! I love all these swaps and additions – I’ve also started meditating before bed and I find it leaves me much calmer. I’m trying to add more whole grains into my diet and reduce my meat consumption – I’m transisioning to becoming veggie!

  • faith @ gracefulfitness October 22, 2010, 7:32 am

    I used to cook everything with olive oil but I am starting to learn more about fats and their temperature regulations. Now, I use coconut oil or olive oil for low to medium cooking and butter for high heat. I feel good knowing that I am getting optimal nutrition out of my cooking fats by not overheating them.
    An excellent post, as always! Thanks!

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 22, 2010, 7:32 am

    I think this was my favorite edition yet. I love all the meal tips.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow October 22, 2010, 7:45 am

    AWesome post and definitely my fav edition of the swaps and add ins.

    A huge add in of mine that I’ve recently been focusing on is just home made meals. If I’m craving the mac n cheese, the chocolate chip cookies, the pumpkin scones…I make them! The process of cooking makes me appreciate the goodies that much more AND I end up throwing in some of the best ingredients!

  • maria @ Chasing the Now October 22, 2010, 7:46 am

    The veggie trick is what I use, too. I don’t love most veggies on their own, but roasting them makes them edible for me!

  • Cyndi @ Weightless Life October 22, 2010, 7:46 am

    Those are some great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 22, 2010, 8:21 am

    My husband and I always hit up grocery stores on vacation. We eat healthier AND cheaper.

    I swear our honeymoon was the grocery store tour of Europe.

  • Kristy October 22, 2010, 8:21 am

    I also have been getting more connected with meditation, yoga was the gateway drug and now I’m becoming addicted. But I’m not complaining! It REALLY adds value to my day!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 22, 2010, 8:24 am

    Great post once again! I love some of these swaps. I’m going to make an effort over the coming month to meditate, and like you, I’d far rather seek out grocery stores than fast food restaurants on road trips. So much more selection, and so much healthier!

  • Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg October 22, 2010, 8:29 am

    Love this series. I have heard so many people raving about meditation lately. I need to try it– but I’m worried that I won’t be GOOD at it, ha! I guess that’s a ridiculous reason not to try it…but there ya go 🙂

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black October 22, 2010, 8:29 am

    Been dying to try parsnip fries! Still yet to do so…

  • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life October 22, 2010, 8:32 am

    I love this post. I think my most recent swap is from organic skim milk to unsweetened almond milk! : )

  • Mariepouliche October 22, 2010, 8:34 am

    I love gratting an apple, then putting it into a casserole at low heat, mix cinnamon and ginger. While it’s eating, I toast my bread. Then put the apple mixture on the toast… no jam can beat that flavor! You can also spread a little bit of nut butter on the bread before putting the apple mixture: it’s just heaven on a bread.

  • Jamie @ Food in Real Life October 22, 2010, 8:42 am

    Roasting vegetables changed my life too! I need to start meditating again. I actually found a meditation video on demand that is just soothing images of nature and music, it helps me to focus. Do you say any mantras while you do it? Sometimes I need to do that to clear out the voices in my head.

  • Cindy October 22, 2010, 8:44 am

    I love the whole berries on toast idea, will try for sure! I’ve decided to swap out flavored coffee creamers, for milk or even half & half. Also I love putting parsnips in my soups (mainly chicken noodle). Can’t wait to try roasted parsnips.

  • Katie @ Health for the Whole Self October 22, 2010, 8:44 am

    Love that last meal idea! I actually just recently posted about it, except that I de-vegetarian-ized it.

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 22, 2010, 8:52 am

    I love that you are meditating Caitlin — I wouldn’t use that word to describe what I do, but before I go to bed I like to sit by myself with my eyes closed and just breathe — it is very relaxing and I feel much calmer after I am done.

    Swap: use a smear of avocado instead of mayo on sandwiches. It tastes so good!

  • skinnyrunner October 22, 2010, 8:52 am

    love this post! my swap would be eating fruit instead of dessert. not quite as exciting as a 7 tiered chocolate cake, but my hips (and heart) thank me.

  • Rachel @ EatMoreMeatLess October 22, 2010, 8:53 am

    Great post! I have started to try and make a big meal for the week so I can enjoy it over a few days, it saves $ this way!

  • Brittany (A Healthy Slice of Life) October 22, 2010, 8:56 am

    how do I keep forgetting to make parsnip fries…

    oh yeah, I have to remember to buy a parsnip 🙂
    They look so good!

  • Beth @ DiningAndDishing October 22, 2010, 9:13 am

    Good tips! As a money saving swap, I’ve started to have a coffee from the office instead of buying one on my way in. $10 a week in savings, which can add up!

  • Maddie October 22, 2010, 9:17 am

    I love this series! Baking the quinoa ahead of time for weekly meals is a great idea and going to grocery stores instead of restaurants on road trips. Lately I have been adding flax seed to my oatmeal and yogurt.

  • Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries October 22, 2010, 9:17 am

    I swapped regular Heinz for Simply Heinz! Huge step for me. Simply Heinz doesn’t have HFCS and is made with ingredients that lead me to believe I could make my own ketchup (which I REALLY have to try sometime). Simply Heinz tastes exactly like the Organic Heinz (and is made with the same ingredients, which just aren’t certified organic). I would buy organic if it were sold in bigger containers, but the way I could through it, it’d put me in the poor house!

  • Amanda October 22, 2010, 9:22 am

    Love using fruit in place of jam! The strawberry/nut butter combo is pretty fabulous!

  • Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story October 22, 2010, 9:29 am

    I have recently started meditating as well! I picture all the negative (dark energy) leaving my body and being filled with positive (white light type deal) entering on each inhale and exhale. It’s soooo peaceful and healing almost.

    I am running my first 1/2 marathon on Sunday and I am planning on take dates as my mid run fuel! 🙂

  • Carly October 22, 2010, 9:30 am

    I love the Swaps and Adds. I think it should make an appearance more often. 🙂 And your mac&cheese suggestion. Love it. I do it all the time. Add a little bit of noodles to a lot of broccoli and you’ll be full after one bowl…instead of the whole box

  • Sarah October 22, 2010, 9:33 am

    Lately at night, I’ve been trying to put my computer down during some of my favorite television shows and spend the half hour or hour stretching. It’s been great for my body AND mind.

  • Lizz (leadingthegoodlife) October 22, 2010, 9:54 am

    I started using dried apricots for running fuel (plus Gatorade for electrolytes.) They hold up well, taste good, and provide energy. Plus, on my long-long runs, I start feeling hungry (stomach growling) so it’s nice to have some real food!

  • Emily October 22, 2010, 10:07 am

    I tried your baked beans over sweet potato last night. It was delicious!! My husband and I loved it…and so easy! I sauteed an onion into the beans, it was awesome! We had a side of baked zuchini with it. Such and easy and tasty meal!!


  • Amanda (Eating Up) October 22, 2010, 10:10 am

    I’ve switched from hating vegetables to not being able to get enough too!

  • Camille October 22, 2010, 10:25 am

    I have been wanting to try meditation but I am too scared 🙁 I’m not a sit still kind of person!

  • mrschelles October 22, 2010, 10:36 am

    Well my addition/swap is unsweetened frozen fruit. I know fresh is the way to go, but with my wacky schedule fresh fruit doesn’t always hold up. Unsweetened frozen fruit can easily be added to anything, and it helps me save money and not waste fruit by letting it go bad.

    • Caitlin October 22, 2010, 10:45 am

      I’ve heard there is very little difference nutritionally between frozen and fresh veggies – bet the same is true for fruit. 🙂

      • JenRD October 22, 2010, 10:52 am

        Believe it or not, frozen fruit and veggies (especially organic) can often be more nutritious than fresh. This is especially true if the fresh produce is not locally grown–the fruit/veg is then picked before it is ripe, and ripened on the truck, therefore not having a chance to absorb all of its nutrients from the sun and soil.

  • Amy* October 22, 2010, 10:38 am

    Since I’m marathon training, I’ve been trying to drink more water. I had a hard time at first, but a coworker suggested that I have 4 separate water bottles on my desk. It’s a great visual and easy to check if I need to drink more, or if I’m right on track.

  • Marie-JourneytoBodyZen October 22, 2010, 10:42 am

    I have a swap! I have swapped out dark chocolate for other sweets. In fact, I eat dark chocolate all the time and I love it! It’s much more nutritious than an average sugar-laden candy bar or ice cream. I love that I can get a sweet fix and give my body some much needed anti-oxidants at the same time 🙂

  • JenRD October 22, 2010, 10:50 am

    I teach diabetes education, so watching carbs is a big part of it (not to much but not too little). For those who LOVE their pasta, and can not fathom eating fewer than 3 cups at a time, I suggest trying 1 cup of whole wheat pasta (or a wheat/white blend to ease into it), then mix in 2 cups of steamed, blanched, or roasted veggies to bulk it up, plus some protein. Just like what you did to the quinoa. Makes it much more filling and balanced that way!

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman October 22, 2010, 10:52 am

    I love your tip about packing a cooler for long road trips. That will come in handy when I make the drive from VA to my parents’ home in MA. It beats scouring the shelves at Exxon at 1 in the morning.

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In October 22, 2010, 11:03 am

    LOVE this post!

    I add a few minutes of stretching in the morning to relax and open me up for the day.

    I also add flax seed to oatmeal and smoothies for an added health boost!

  • yummieecupcake October 22, 2010, 11:09 am

    HTP swaps and additions is one of my fave posts!!

  • Julia October 22, 2010, 11:12 am

    Great post! I agree with swaps as opposed to eliminating/restricting. A favorite snack of mine is dates that I pit and stuff with 1-2 almonds. It tastes amazing and definitely meets my sugar requirements. Also, I take a few minutes to read (my Bible) in the morning. It clears my mind for the day.

  • stacey October 22, 2010, 11:22 am

    It’s not really a healthy “swap” but I’ve been incorporating yoga into my life more! I think it’s important to stretch and relax my body after doing so many different exercises every week. So twice a week, I leave time aside in my schedule to do an hour long yoga session and it really has helped!

  • molly l October 22, 2010, 11:34 am

    i try to add flax seed to almost anything (smoothies, casseroles, oatmeal, cookies, etc) for an added boost of protein and omega-3’s. also, my new favorite pasta bakes have been amped up w/ half whole-wheat pasta and half veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, etc). it’s hard to “become healthy” overnight but adding one swap and one addition a week is simple and fun!

  • Jen October 22, 2010, 11:56 am

    I swap nonfat Greek yogurt for butter in baked goods; gives you an extra boost of protein and calcium, and eliminates all of the bad fats from butter!

    I add hummus to my rice and vegetables. It makes side dishes much more delicious.

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) October 22, 2010, 12:00 pm

    I love teh packing food for trips.

    I have found that pureed potato makes a great sub for cream in some soups.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair October 22, 2010, 12:06 pm

    I love this series! Thanks for the tip about dates, I’ll have to try that. I like the idea of having something more natural than GU when I’m running.

  • Amykinz @ Foodie 4 Healing October 22, 2010, 12:51 pm

    I love the swap & add series, too! Though I’ve always failed at “diets”, I’m 100% positive it’s due to the “deprivation” and removing of things.

    When I was pregnant w/my DD, I explored something called HYNOBIRTHING, which essentially is mediation/visualization. Here’s the website… interesting stuff!

    I hated veggies before I started my blog, too! Now, i love them!!!

  • Amber K October 22, 2010, 12:52 pm

    I love your swaps and adds! It is such a healthy way of looking at life. 🙂

  • Lisa October 22, 2010, 12:56 pm

    I love jam too but some of it is just so damn sweet! Too much sugar!

  • Bree @ beeskneeslife October 22, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I love dates! I buy the 3lb.container from Costco these days. I won’t tell you how long they last. Let’s just say…not very.

    I made a huge batch of southwestern quinoa salad on Saturday and am still eating from it. It still tastes great – hot or cold.

  • Natalie October 22, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I have been trying to do a little bit of meditation each day and find it puts me in such a good mood! It’s amazing what it can do for your body and mind.

  • Laura October 22, 2010, 1:21 pm

    These are such great ideas! I made an awesome quinoa salad a couple of days ago and was looking for ideas to use it all up. It will definitely be served in casserole-form this weekend. 🙂

  • Jessie October 22, 2010, 2:29 pm

    I LOVE the idea of the quinoa casserole! I love fun ways to turn leftovers from something you eat because you don’t want it to go bad into something that you’re excited to eat.

    Personally, cooking is my favorite part of the day, so I usually don’t like having leftovers for dinner. By making it into something else I still get to cook and I don’t waste food. I use the same strategy to use leftover beans and grains in soups for a quick weeknight meal.

    Thanks for the idea!

  • Michelle October 22, 2010, 2:37 pm

    I loved your idea for the raw oatmeal in greek yogurt. I have this breakfast about 4 times a week lately. This is such a GREAT idea. Small changes add up to something huge. I’m going on a last-minute trip to LA this weekend and already volunteered to pack the snacks!

  • Ali @ Food, Fitness, Fashion October 22, 2010, 2:40 pm

    I love this series! These little swaps and adds are super helpful. Do you find that dates work as well as Gu during longer runs? I feel like they wouldn’t, but I could just be biased because I use Gu all the time.

    • caitlin October 22, 2010, 5:48 pm

      Well they take added caffeine and electrolytes, but its a nice change every now and then, ya know?

  • Krista @ Can't Survive on Yarn Alone October 22, 2010, 3:38 pm

    My ADD isn’t technicaly recent but I’ve found oatmeals tastes “weird” to me w/o the shake of ground flaxseed that I began adding about a year ago.

    A good SWAP for mac & cheese w tuna and peas is replaced the peas with shelled edamame. I find it more filling them.

  • Heather October 22, 2010, 4:19 pm

    I LOVE Ranch dressing, but instead of always eating the full fat version I take a tub of fat free sour cream and add a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix, still yummy for not a lot of fat and calories!

  • whitney October 22, 2010, 4:39 pm

    I’m odd but I have always really like veggies. Your mac and cheese with veggies is one of my go to meals. I also really love dried plums!

    Instead of using raisins I cut up dried plums to add to muffins, oatmeal, and other things

  • Jenne October 22, 2010, 4:48 pm

    My Healthy additionis finally starting to eat breakfast…I have a smoothie every morning, Almond milk, a banana and choc protein pwdr…Finally this vegetarian is getting more than 50g of protein a day. My healthy swap is changing out honey for stevia in my evening cup of herbal tea. I didn’t realize that the honey was why I was going to bed STARVING every night. Since switching to stevia, I don’t feel deprived or hungry even though I stop eating 4 hrs before bed!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 22, 2010, 7:08 pm

    I love getting meals at grocery stores instead of at fast food places! The pre-made salads and freshly baked buns make an awesome, healthy meal.

    One of my swaps is to use homemade stir fry sauces and dressings instead of the chemical-filled store bought ones. They taste better too! 😀

  • Lisa (I'm an Okie) October 23, 2010, 1:52 am

    thanks for adding what you do with your meditation! I will try the method you use soon!

  • Laine @ Beets, Butter & Mountaintops October 23, 2010, 9:27 am

    I just came back from a 7 day mediation and writing retreat. It was wonderful, and a nice way to get started with meditation. Although I don’t think I’ll be sitting 3 times a day for 30 minutes at a time. Not yet, at least.

  • Maria@LaPiattini October 23, 2010, 10:57 am

    I tried quinoa at the Whole Foods hot bar for the firs time and LOVED it. Do you usually buy a mix at the grocery store or make your own? I’m not sure what approach to take- any good recipe ideas?

    • caitlin October 23, 2010, 11:19 am

      Oh, make your own! Way cheaper and easy.

      Simple recipe:

      4 cups cooked quinoa
      1 cup cherry tomatoes
      2 zuchinnis, sliced and grilled
      1/2 cup Italian dressing.

      Mix and save!

  • ashley @ ashley's adventures in alaska October 24, 2010, 2:56 pm

    Great post and ideas! I have made lots of changes for the better in the past year or so- honestly going from a processed and fried lifestyle to one that’s MUCH better for me. I’ve found that I prefer the way I feel after a good for me meal than one that’s full of white flour and fat.

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