Survey: Some Clean Food Swaps Have Become More Popular Than What They Replaced

by | Jul 20, 2023


Want to have your cake and eat it, too? Many Americans are doing just that — well, not the cake part… but they’re loving what they replaced cake and other unhealthy options with, according to a new survey.

Every bite counts when it comes to fueling your body to be its best. Substituting usual food picks with more nutritious alternatives is known as a clean food swap, and you can find a lot of promising swaps on the market, giving you endless ways to crush your cravings and keep you feeling more energized and confident in your own skin.

The folks at LaserAway realize we’re all trying to eat better — in their world, there’s a deeper understanding that the food you eat can make a significant impact on your overall health, well-being, self-confidence and, maybe surprisingly, skin health.

So they surveyed 1,006 Americans about some 20 popular food alternatives to find out which ones they loved and which ones they would rather leave out.


  • Instead of eating their regular selection, 69% opt for a more nutritious substitute.
  • Chicken, whole-grain bread, and turkey are the most popular clean food swaps.
  • Price prevents 71% from buying a healthier alternative.
  • Weight management influences 53% who choose healthy food substitutes.


When it comes to deciding what delicious food to put into their bodies, Americans’ choices are influenced by a number of factors: mood, dietary restrictions, wellness goals, environmental impact, preferences, societal influence, and what’s readily available.

Survey respondents say they are treating their bodies better by replacing refined grains with whole grains, eating lean meats instead of fatty or processed meats, using natural sweeteners instead of artificial ones, and using vegetables in creative ways to substitute all sorts of things like fries and tortillas.

It’s important to note that small indulgences here and there help keep your life in balance and promote a positive relationship with food. So, finding healthier alternatives for your next meal isn’t always necessary.

But for the times you do want something with a higher nutritional value, healthy food swaps can keep you feeling great while sharing the same experiences. And with 69% of people eating healthy substitutes, the switch can’t be too bad! Although the reasons why someone decides to eat healthier are endless, our survey found that weight management is a big one, with 53% saying that watching the scale influences them to choose healthy alternatives.

With a wide variety of creative, healthy swaps people make, which ones do Americans love most. The answer? Whole grain toast, plant-based milk, and chicken.

Healthy substitutions seem to have no limit. Who knew that we’d one day be referring to kale as chips and cauliflower as rice?

Enjoying juicy steak and crispy bacon are just some of the satisfying meat options that people often try to avoid. Whether it’s because of concerns about cholesterol, saturated fats, or the environmental impact of meat consumption, many people are making the switch to chicken, turkey, and black beans, as their primary protein intake.

In an effort to feel their best, people are also looking for alternatives that satisfy their cravings for rich and fulfilling dairy and condiments, like salad dressing. For those seeking healthier options, plant-based milk, Greek yogurt, and avocado and coconut oils are the most common substitutes in these categories. And instead of dishing out indulgent starchy foods, Americans love whole grain bread, alternative plant-based chips, and cauliflower rice.


Food should be both filling and fulfilling, but not everyone wants to trade in a traditional burger for a black bean patty or use lettuce in place of a bun. Half of our respondents say they don’t eat healthy substitutes because they don’t taste good, and 31% say they’re afraid they won’t like it.

Still, over the past year, many Americans have experimented with healthy food items and filled their plates with added nutrients. The top three trendy substitutions this past year were also high on our previous list.

Whether it’s because chicken is a leaner option or the added bonus that it’s generally more affordable than other meats like beef or pork, Americans have started to add more of it into their diet.

Speaking of cost, the switch to a healthier option isn’t always affordable. 71% of our respondents say price prevents them from buying a healthy food substitute. Finding healthy substitutes is another challenge, with 57% saying a lack of availability forces them to go without a healthier alternative.

Posting showing reasons people avoid healthy food.

While on their healthy food discovery journey, Americans learned something surprising—food can be good and taste good! Talk about a win-win! The most shockingly good-tasting foods our respondents have found are plant-based milk, chicken, and Greek yogurt. Healthier foods can also make you feel great, as 56% say they noticed health benefits after incorporating healthy food substitutes into their diet.

On the other end of that spectrum, Americans have tried a few healthy food substitutions multiple times but can’t seem to like them despite their best intentions. A prime example is tofu. Although it can be added to a variety of dishes to substitute meat, some Americans struggle with its texture and mild flavor.


Veganism and healthy food alternatives almost go hand in hand since a good portion of the healthy substitutions we’ve explored fall in line with a vegan lifestyle. The rise in popularity of plant-based eating has paved the way for Americans to explore delicious and nutrient-rich alternatives that cater to vegans and non-vegans alike.

Americans revealed which popular vegan substitutions they prefer. On the top of the list is plant-based milk. Having a non-dairy alternative that still lets you enjoy your favorite treat is truly what dreams are made of! Not to mention, for those who are lactose-intolerant, indulging in dairy just isn’t worth the bloat.

Posting showing list of most popular vegan substitutes.


LaserAway surveyed 1,006 Americans about the healthy food alternatives they eat. Respondents ranged in age from 18 to 76 years old, and were 48% female, 49% male, and 3% nonbinary. LaserAway is a skin care company with a full line of non-invasive aesthetic treatments. Visit them online to book a free consultation.