With a little creativity, you can often make healthier versions of your favorite foods that are just as delicious — and a lot less fattening.
For many people, one of the most heartbreaking things about committing to healthy eating is having to cut back on their favorite foods. Foods like pizza and pastries don’t only trigger weight gain, but can also increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. But what if you could still enjoy these foods without having to worry about gaining weight or suffering adverse health consequences?
Check out these healthy alternatives to some of your favorite meals and ingredients.
Sweet potato fries vs. french fries
Sweet potatoes are far more nutrient-dense than Idaho or Russet potatoes, and fulfill up to 400 percent of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. Cut sweet potatoes into wedges, season with olive oil and your favorite healthy spices, and bake in the oven to make delicious fries that are packed with nutrients.
Zucchini and spaghetti squash vs. pasta
Enjoy your favorite pasta dishes without the refined carbohydrates! Zucchini makes a great substitute for lasagna noodles, and both zucchini and spaghetti squash can be used in place of spaghetti. To make zucchini spaghetti, use a spiralizer or a vegetable peeler to create thin strips of zucchini (sometimes referred to as “zoodles”), then saute over medium heat until softened. Top with your favorite sugar-free pasta sauce.
Greek yogurt vs. sour cream
If you love adding sour cream to burritos and omelettes, replace this high-fat ingredient with Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is an ideal substitute for sour cream due to its similar texture, rich flavor, and acidic properties. Plus, Greek yogurt has up to three times the amount of protein as sour cream.
Cauliflower crust pizza vs. traditional crust
Everyone knows pizza is generally unhealthy due to its copious amounts of cheese, but most people tend to overlook the fact that traditional pizza crusts are high in sugar and simple carbs. Cauliflower pizza crust is a healthier, low-carb alternative that offers far more nutrients than regular pizza crusts. Top off your pizza with veggies and greens such as green pepper and spinach for a truly nutrient-packed meal.
Himalayan salt vs. table salt
Himalayan salt, also known as pink rock salt, contains minerals and trace elements in their natural form, while traditional table salt is stripped of all its natural minerals during the refining process. Unrefined salt has been shown to boost electrolytes, improve thyroid function, and maintain good fluid balance in the body.
Almond milk vs. cow’s milk
Numerous studies conducted in recent years have shown that cow’s milk can disrupt natural hormonal balance and increase the risk for health conditions such as inflammation, acne, osteoporosis, and cancer. Swap out cow’s milk for almond milk, which is high in vitamins and minerals. Avoid soy milk, which has also been linked to tumor growth.
Applesauce vs. butter & oil
Replace vegetable oil or butter with applesauce in recipes for your favorite baked goods such as muffins, breads, and cakes. Applesauce is high in fiber and vitamin C, and enhances the flavor and moisture of your dishes while reducing unhealthy fats. Try replacing all oil in the recipe with applesauce, and only half the amount of butter with applesauce when making baked goods.
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Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on July 12, 2017