9 Healthy Food Swaps for Common Recipes
When it comes to getting extra quality nutrition, most of us need all the help we can get. It’s so easy to consume ready-to-eat processed foods, with minimal nutrients, because they lie in wait for us at almost every corner. Lurking. Waiting until you have a moment of hunger where you will pounce on the first food item you see.
With processed foods all around us it might seem like healthy foods are not as readily available as we would like. This, of course, makes getting those healthy nutritious foods—feel somewhat out of reach. If only there was a way to sneak healthy foods into our daily lives, without us hardly realizing it, and without sacrificing flavor. After all, food is only as good as it tastes, right?
One of the most important nutrients that we as Americans do not consume enough of is the often-touted fiber, of both the soluble and insoluble variety. Luckily, almost every single one of these healthy food swaps for common recipes bumps up the fiber content of these foods.
Not only is fiber going up – which means your cholesterol may just be going down—but most of these healthy food swaps for common recipes increases the healthy fat content of these foods, making it a shot from the sweet spot that’s nothing but net for improving your lipid profile.
Now, if only there were a healthy food swaps for say…bacon, right? You’re in luck! We’ve got you covered. And it’s not what you might think. Find out how in these healthy food swaps to use in common recipes:
Greek yogurt in place of mayo in tuna or chicken salad – try subbing ½ of the Greek yogurt in to cut out ½ the mayo, and see how it tastes. You can gradually swap in as much yogurt as your taste buds like. You are dropping the fat content enormously when you use the fat free plain Greek yogurt.
Avocado puree in place of butter in baked goods like fudge brownies – this one may seem like a stretch, but it really works! The avocado adds a similar richness as butter, and makes your brownies nice and fudge-like. This healthy food swap helps you replace the saturated fat-filled butter with a higher-fiber, healthy fat from avocado instead.
Applesauce is a healthy food swap for sugar in baked goods. When you use applesauce in place of sugar, you can add some sweetness and fiber at the same time. You might have to cut back a little on other moist ingredients, and the subtle flavor of apple is absolutely delicious in most common recipes.
Zucchini ribbons in place of pasta in lasagna. Lasagna just wouldn’t be lasagna without the noodles! Instead of using traditional flour pasta noodles which contain a lot of simple carbohydrates and virtually no fiber, sub in zucchini instead! Just slice a whole zucchini into wide, flat ribbons, using a peeler or a mandolin. A huge plus? Zucchini soaks up all the delicious flavors above and below it in a layered lasagna. And you’re getting potassium, fiber, and beta carotene to boot.
Almond flour in place of regular flour for breading. When you are making your next batch of chicken parmesan, try subbing in almond flour instead of white flour for the breading. You’ll drop the carbs significantly, and add in a little healthy, filling fat while you’re at it. It even browns nicely too, making it a perfect healthy food swap.
Chia seeds can replace an egg in baked goods. You read that right. The right ratio winds up being 1 tablespoon of chia seeds plus 1 cup of water to replace an egg in baking. Just make sure you allow the chia seeds to soak in the water for about 15 min. You’ll be reducing cholesterol, and adding in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Go team chia!
Spaghetti squash in place of pasta noodles. Squash the flour pasta noodles in your next recipe and you’ll squash all the carbs and bump up the fiber. If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash before – you don’t want to miss this perfect healthy food swap. The quickest way to prepare spaghetti squash is to poke a few slits in a whole squash, and then place in the microwave for 8-10 minutes. Handle carefully as it will be very hot, and scoop out all the delicious spaghetti strands, skipping the seeds. Spaghetti squash has a good amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin B6, even after you cook it. All vegetables are pretty good sources of potassium—and that includes spaghetti squash.
Edamame hummus. Cut carbs and add protein with this delicious food swap. Instead of using only chickpeas in your next homemade hummus recipe – try subbing in edamame instead. You can replace half or all of the chickpeas, and you won’t miss a single carbohydrate. Plus you’ll be adding it plenty of fiber and hunger-slaying protein as well.
Shitake mushroom bacon – If you thought you could never replace bacon in a recipe, think again. With these bacon shitake mushrooms, the umami, meaty flavor is unlocked and you can munch to your heart’s content. To make it, just remove stems on a package of shitake mushrooms, and slice the caps into strips that are about ¼ inch wide. Marinate with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and ½ tsp soy sauce for about 5 minutes. Roast at 350 degrees on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 10 minutes, or until the edges are crispy. And there you have it! A healthy food swap for bacon.