Crowding Out & 11 Healthy Swaps

Hey guys! How are you? It’s pouring rain in DC in today and I’m totally bummed the spring weather has abandoned us once again! Come on!!! I’m so ready for tank tops, flip flops, and driving with the windows down! Did you hear temperatures are supposed to get into the 20s tonight? Ugh!
I’m having some technical difficulties with Karlye’s weekly post, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share this concept of crowding out – have you heard of it? My friend Stephanie, a health coach, told me about it when I consulted with her about my husband’s lack of interest in eating paleo. I explained to her that in his mind, cutting out grains, dairy and legumes didn’t leave room for much else! Aaron’s not a big vegetable eater either, and that was another concern. Stephanie explained the trouble newbie-health goers have with restrictive diets and suggested the “crowding out” approach instead. Here is the definition from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition:

The theory of “crowding out,” is an effective way to overcome habitual consumption of unhealthy food. The principal of crowding out suggests that you add more to your diet, instead of taking away. By adding healthy, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains, you will crowd out the unhealthy foods. The body can only take so much food. If you fill the body with healthy, nutrient-dense food, it is only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen substantially.

I truly believe in this now, guys! And recently, I thought back on it when I realized there were certain foods I just didn’t want to give up – namely, my coffee creamer, margaritas, and ice cream. 🙂

The crowding out concept says I don’t have to give up those things- I just have to find healthy swaps! I remember when I used to think I had to have pasta and then I discovered spaghetti squash. I used to think I had to have store-bought salad dressing, until I discovered some healthy homemade versions! And ice cream? That’s what mocha shakes and banana ice cream is for!

The same has been true for milk, until I discovered almond milk; PAM until I discovered coconut oil; and white potatoes, until I found sweet potatoes! Over time, in exploring healthy food alternatives to my favorite treats, I’ve learned that sometimes – most of the time – I like the healthy food better, which means I don’t have to feel like I’m giving something up, but rather, just choosing the option that I enjoy just as much and that makes me feel better.

With this in mind I made a list of my favorite healthy swaps and challenge you to test out a few!


I’m also challenging myself to find healthy alternatives to some of those lingering unhealthy parts of my diet, and find alternatives. Here’s my list of must-haves:

  • CoffeeMate Creamer
  • Egg salad or tuna salad with mayo!
  • Margaritas – is there such thing as a healthy version?
  • Brownies
  • Donuts

I’ll be back with the swaps for these things, as I’m making it a mission to replace them with healthier alternatives… I’d love your ideas for a healthier donut! Lol! 🙂

This might seem like a ridiculous exercise but I truly think it will help me. By identifying the things in my diet I’m holding on to, I can begin to explore alternatives and starting crowding them out!

What are some foods you don’t want to give up?

What are your favorite healthy swaps? 

Have you heard of crowding out? 

Hey girl!

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  1. Naomi S wrote:

    I have not personally tried her recipe, but I have friends who have and love it.

    When I was in Raleigh, this cute little cafe and free samples of paleo brownies and they were amazing. I wish I could get the recipe.

    Posted 4.16.14 Reply
    • Sara wrote:

      I’ve heard of Skinny Girl Margaritas and may have even tried it before but totally forgot about it while writing this post! This is perfect for when I’m at home, going to or hosting a party… it’s the happy hours that get me! Speaking of which, FRIDAY! Woo hoo!

      Posted 4.16.14 Reply