Today I have some healthy eating substitutes for you...
It's amazing what you can actually cut out of your regular recipes & not really notice the difference!
So here we go, I'm going to aim to try a couple of these over the next few days. Let me know how you get on!
- Applesauce for Oil, Butter or Sugar
Applesauce is a healthy baker’s best friend. Not only does it add sweetness to recipes, but it does so with significantly fewer calories than sugar. And without butter, you’re cutting the saturated-fat content of baked goods like muffins, breads and brownies. Not to mention the added dietary benefits of apples’ fiber. You can sub sugar for apple sauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup. A recipe using 1 cup of oil would use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce. If you can't tell the difference with that swap, try swapping a bit more of the fat next time around.
- Greek Yogurt for Mayo or Sour Cream
Greek yogurt has far fewer calories and fat than mayonnaise or sour cream, but its consistency is quite similar.
Next time a recipe calls for either of those fattening ingredients, try using the yogurt instead. You may want to play around with spices and seasonings, but by making the swap, you can cut the fat while adding an extra punch of protein.
- Mashed Avocado for Butter or Oil in Baking
Like olive oil and nuts, avocados are high in monounsaturated “good” fats, which help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and stave off heart problems. In contrast, solid fats like butter are high in saturated fats, which raise your cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Mashed Bananas for Sugar, Butter and Fats
Sliced bananas are a tasty addition to cereals and oatmeal, but you can give them an even bigger role in the kitchen as a sugar, butter and fat substitute in baking. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, and they also help keep your digestive system in check. Just remember, if you’re using mashed bananas as a sugar substitute, cut down on the moisture in your recipe by using less milk or water. That way, your baked goods will come out with the right texture and firmness.
- Nuts for Croutons in Salads
Unsalted nuts pack flavor and crunch and give dishes a nice boost of protein. Instead of high-fat, salty croutons in salads, substitute a handful of nuts. Walnuts and almonds are our heart-healthy favorites. Just don’t go overboard — a small handful is high in calories.
- Rolled Oats for Bread Crumbs
Instead of using salt-laden bread crumbs, opt for rolled oats with a little seasoning. Oats are high in fiber and healthy carbohydrates, and like all whole grains, they’re packed with nutrients like B vitamins, iron and fiber.
- Soda Water for Tonic Water
Here’s a healthy swap for when you’re out on the town. If you’re drinking cocktails, ask the bartender for soda water instead of tonic. Tonic water is high in sugar, while soda water contains none. Also consider adding less juice and more soda water to your fruity drinks to cut your sugar content. This is a swap you’ll probably notice, though, since tonic is so much sweeter than soda water.
- Whole wheat flour for white flour
In virtually any baked good, replacing white flour with whole wheat can add a whole new dimension of nutrients, flavor, and texture. Because whole wheat includes the outer shell of the grain, it also provides an extra punch of fiber, which aids in digestion and can even lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease. For every cup of white flour, substitute 7/8 cup of whole-wheat.
- Zucchini Ribbons for Pasta
Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to make long, thin noodle-like slices of zucchini. Skip the boiling and simply bake or sauté the “noodles” for a few minutes. You can use the veggies in side dishes or to replace high-carb pasta in dishes like lasagna. It’s an easy way to cut the calories in your favorite pasta meals and sneak more vegetables into your dinner.
- Pureed Potato for Cream to Thicken Soup
Instead of bulking up your soups with cream, for example, add pureed sweet potato instead. Not only are you getting less fat, but the potassium in sweet potatoes will help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke. Talk about a win-win.
- Cacao nibs for chocolate chips
News flash: Those chocolate chips actually start out as cacao nibs — the roasted bits of cocoa beans that then get ground down and turned in to chocolate. Opting for these unprocessed (or at least less processed) morsels cuts out the additives and added sugar in chocolate, while also delving out a healthy dose of antioxidants.
- Chia seeds for butter
These funny lookin' little seeds are good for more than just growing countertop pets. Combine 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 9 tablespoons water, let sit for 15 minutes, and you get a gel that's the perfect consistency to stand in for fat in baking recipes. One word of caution: don't try to cut out all the fat with this substitute — it works best when subbing an equal amount of this mixture for half of the fat in a recipe.
- Chia seeds for eggs
Surprise! Combining 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 cup of water left to sit for 15 minutes yields a perfect 1-to-1 egg substitute for baking. (But we probably wouldn't suggest subbing chia for butter and eggs in the same recipe!)
- Brown rice for white rice
When white rice is processed, the "brown" bran layer gets stripped away, cutting out essential nutrients (like fiber). Opt for brown rice for a fuller nutritional profile.
- Quinoa for couscous
While couscous is made from processed wheat flour, quinoa is a whole-grain superfood packed with protein and nutrients. Bonus points: They have almost the exact same texture.
- Dry beans for canned beans
Canned beans are convenient, sure, but they also tend to have excess sodium and plenty of preservatives. Plus, even though the canned versions are dirt cheap, dried beans are even cheaper! It may take a little more work (just some simple soaking and boiling), but this switch is still well worth it.
- Two egg whites for one whole egg
One egg yolk holds more than half the recommended daily cholesterol for the average adult. Trading out the yolk for a second white will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.
- Whole wheat pasta for regular pasta
Just as with bread, whole wheat pasta beats regular with a higher fiber content.
- Coconut milk for cream
Coconut milk is a great substitute for heavy cream in soups and stews. And don’t be turned off by the word “coconut” — it doesn’t taste like the sweetened shredded kind!
- Arugula, romaine, spinach, and/or kale for iceberg lettuce
All greens are not created equal. Darker greens usually mean more nutrients like iron, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Sorry, iceberg’s just not cutting it anymore — go out and get some "grown-up greens".
- Pita for bread
One 4-inch whole-wheat pita runs around 80 calories and only 1 gram of fat (though there is some variation from brand to brand). Two slices of whole-wheat bread typically comes in at around 138 calories!
- Lettuce leaves for tortilla wraps
It's not a perfect swap, but forgoing the carbs for fresh lettuce is a fun (and easy) switch that can lighten up any wrap or taco dish.
- Whole wheat bread for white bread
You've heard it all before, but it's just that important! Whole-grain wheat beats out processed white with a complete nutrition profile and better flavor and texture.
- Kale chips for potato chips
Who would’ve guessed that a leafy green could make such delicious chips? When lightly tossed in olive oil and some seasoning (salt and pepper, paprika, or chili powder work well) and baked, these curly greens turn into a delightfully delicate crunchy snack with less fat than the classic fried potato chip.
- Popcorn for potato chips
Lower in calories and fat, natural popcorn without pre-flavored seasonings is a great snack alternative to replace those oily, super-salty potato chips. Try made-at-home flavors by adding cinnamon, chili powder, or Parmesan.
- Low-fat cottage cheese for sour cream
They both add a creamy texture to many dishes, but sour cream is packed with fat while low-fat cottage cheese is packed with protein.
- Black beans for flour
Swapping out flour for a can of black beans (drained and rinsed, of course) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein, Plus, they taste great. When baking, swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean puree (about a 15oz can).
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