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5 Healthy Food 'Substitutions' Worth a Try
For some, eating healthier isn’t always easy. Substituting healthier items in meals that are regularly unhealthy has gotten pretty popular but there are those that still feel the idea of a ‘Tofu Burger” isn’t very appealing. It’s always a risk to our palate, but when you find something that you truly enjoy that’s healthier, it really is worth it. Here are 5 substitutions that you may not have tried that really deserve a shot:
1. Quinoa as Your Carb. If you haven’t tried Quinoa yet, the stuff is awesome! If you have any dish that uses rice or couscous, like chicken and rice for example, try the recipe with quinoa instead. Chicken and quinoa is a great dish, tastes nearly identical and is much healthier for you.
Try cooking quinoa flakes then preparing them with milk, honey, cinnamon or raisins like you would oatmeal. Delicious!
2. Turkey for Red Meat. Turkey is growing in popularity as a red meat substitute, for hamburgers or the meat in tacos, for instance. Turkey contains much less fat and therefore quite a bit less natural flavor so you definitely want to spice it up. I know that bacon is a favorite for many meat eaters and although it has a different taste, turkey bacon is worth a try as a healthier substitute and may become a favorite of yours as well!
3. Unsweetened Applesauce for Oil/Butter. This is a baking tool and while it sounds a bit weird, it’s definitely worth a try. Applesauce gives the right consistency without the fat found in oil or butter. It works great in any sweet bread like banana nut or zucchini. It’s also a great substitution in muffins, and works even with the pre-boxed mixes.
Applesauce also adds natural sweetness to cookies so you can actually cut the sugar you put in your recipe in half. Try this with your oatmeal raisin cookies and I guarantee you will not be disappointed. Unless you dislike oatmeal raisin cookies, then I take back my guarantee!
4. Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream/Mayonnaise. Greek Yogurt has a very similar taste and texture to sour cream so almost anytime you would use sour cream, you can use this instead. I know it sounds crazy, but I put it on my tacos and baked potatoes and honestly can't tell the difference.
If you’re making a tuna/chicken salad try substituting the mayonnaise for Greek yogurt with some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice. You will not be disappointed and you’re definitely lowering your calories and getting an extra dose of protein.
5. DIY for Store-Bought Salad Dressings. Not so much a substitution but a suggestion. When it comes to salad dressings it is best to use vinaigrette dressing instead of Ranch or Thousand Island. But here’s the thing, salad dressings are actually fairly simple to make yourself and when you do, a whole lot healthier. Just mix Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Balsamic Vinegar, garlic power and pepper in a container; shake and pour over your salad. It's healthier and tastes better than anything you buy off the shelves.
So there you have it, 5 substitutions that aren’t going to extremely alter the flavor of your food, but add some definite nutritional value. For more valuable tips on eating healthy come to my Nutrition 101 class this Saturday, July 21st at noon. It's free and open to the public so bring a friend!
Hope to see you there!