About two months ago I made the decision to be more aware of the things that I am putting into my body. Adding more healthy fats, whole grains, and fresh produce has not only helped me look healthier, but feel healthier. And so I have learned a couple of tricks that help lower fat content without sacrificing taste.
Here are five of my favorites:
1. Substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream. This is probably one of my new favorite things to do. With plain Greek yogurt you can add whatever herbs and seasonings you prefer to create a healthy low in fat topping to your favorite meal. One of my favorite uses is to add a little salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dill to two tablespoons of plain nonfat Greek yogurt to use as a topping for a homemade grilled chicken gyro. This idea is becoming increasingly popular with the launch of Oikos dips. They have French onion, dill, and a few others which are sold at a variety of different supermarkets.
2. Vegetables as pasta. When you grow up in an Italian family pasta is a staple in your diet. When you are on a diet however, pasta can become your worst enemy. Luckily, I have found two alternatives for pasta to enjoy with your pot of gravy and meatballs: zucchini and spaghetti squash. For zucchini: take a vegetable peeler and slice thin long strands along the side of the zucchini. Place the strands in a pot of boiling water and cook until tender. Place in a bowl and top with your favorite sauce. For Spaghetti Squash: slice the squash in half and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the skin is soft. Remove the seeds, and then take your fork to loosen the strands. Add the squash to a pan and sauté with your choice of seasonings for about two minutes. Add your sauce and enjoy.
3. Apple sauce for butter or oil when baking. Last summer I worked as a culinary instructor at a camp. The kids in my group ranged from 3rd to 7th grade. We spent a lot of time focusing on healthy snacks, so when the kids said that they wanted to bake cupcakes we knew we had to improvise. The kids were amazed that we could make delicious cupcakes by using applesauce instead of butter or sugar. The cupcakes were a little denser, but in no way lacked flavor.
4. Oats instead of breadcrumbs. Oats are high in fiber and are a healthy carbohydrate. Instead of breading your chicken breasts in store bought breadcrumbs high in salt content, add your own seasonings to your rolled oats for a crispy exterior. A simple way to make your meal even healthier? Bake the chicken instead of pan frying it. It really is that simple.
5. Utilize Cauliflower. When I read about using cauliflower instead of rice today it blew my mind. All you need to do is finely chip the cauliflower in the food processor or by hand and cook for a few minutes. This produces an easy and healthy side dish for your next meal without adding the extra carbohydrates. Another use for cauliflower I am excited to try? The cauliflower pizza crust I have been seeing all over Pinterest. I will be trying this recipe very soon and I will update you with the results!
So there you have it, five easy and healthy substitutions for some of your favorite meals. Remember, healthy eating does not mean you have to give up on flavor!
What are some of your favorite healthy substitutions you have tried? I would love to hear them!