When most people think of eating healthy they start thinking about all of the things that they CAN’T have.
No sweets?! No pasta?! No chips?!
But there are healthy food swaps for many of these things that will keep you from feeling deprived AND help to get you into those skinny jeans.
Check these out….
Pasta: Spaghetti squash makes a fantastic substitute for traditional noodles. Just cut in half lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and microwave cut side down for 15 minutes. It can then be shredded onto plates and topped with your favorite (low sugar) pasta sauce.
Zucchini, or ’zoodles’ are a great substitute as well and they are super easy to make with one of these Spiralizers. You honestly do not miss the pasta. It’s so delicious, and doesn’t leave you with that gross too-full feeling. Plus they’re full of nutrients. Bonus!
The above is a picture of the ‘Spaghetti Zoodle Skillet’ from my cookbook. My 5-year-old scarfs it down no problem!
Chocolate: Great news here! Dark chocolate is good for you! It’s full of antioxidants and can be happily enjoyed in moderation. Just be sure to buy the kind that is at least 70% cacao to receive the health benefits. Run-of-the-mill milk chocolate and candy bars obviously do not offer the same benefits.
Cookies: As I’ve mentioned before, you CAN enjoy treats like this on occasion, provided they are made with more natural ingredients. Both coconut and almond flours are a far better alternative to white or wheat flours, and maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, and molasses offer sweetness naturally. You can find a selection of healthier treats below. Just remember that even though they are healthier than the alternative, they should still be enjoyed in moderation.
Chips: My favorite chip alternative by far are plantain chips. I get them at Trader Joe’s, which you can also order online. They are SO yummy! And they’re not sweet at all so they’re perfect when you want a salty treat.
Aside from those I like Blue Diamond Nut Thin crackers (great with tuna) and I often make roasted chickpeas, which my kids love. They are so easy to do!
Just drain a can of chickpeas, rinse them, and dry them well. Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you’d like. (A little parmesan is good as well!) Then bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes and enjoy!
Soda: My favorite soda alternative is pink grapefruit juice mixed half and half with seltzer water. YUM. Give it a try. It’s so good.
Another great soda alternative are fruit flavored waters. Just float berries, oranges, cucumber, or any other other fruit of your choice in a pitcher of water to infuse it with flavor. Frozen fruit works well too! Here are some of my favorite combos:
Bread: Romaine leaves are also awesome for sandwiches. I love them stuffed with bacon and tomato (you already have the ‘t’!), or turkey, guac, and cucumber. A lettuce wrapped burger tastes incredible too, and doesn’t sit on your stomach like a ton of bricks afterwards.
Mashed potatoes: Have you tried ‘mashers’ yet?! If not, WHY NOT?! Cauliflower makes an excellent mashed potato substitute. Just steam a head of cauliflower til soft, then blend in a food processor or blender with some grass-fed butter, garlic powder, pink salt, and cracked pepper. So so good!!
Mayo: Mashed avocado is a delicious creamy substitute for mayo that offers health benefits mayo never could! Give it a try on your next lettuce-wrapped sandwich or burger.
Tortillas: We use romaine or bibb lettuce leaves for tacos, and my family actually likes it better! First off, they don’t fall apart. And secondly, they don’t leave you with a heavy feeling like tortillas can. Give it a try. I swear you won’t go back!
Pictured above is my ‘Salsa Chicken’ stuffed into romaine leaves. SO GOOD! You can find the recipe on my blog!
White Rice: The best substitutes for white rice are brown rice (it has more fiber), quinoa, and cauliflower. Cauliflower can be quickly ‘riced’ in a food processor and made into a variety of yummy rice dishes, with the added benefits of vitamins and minerals. You can also find cauliflower ‘pre-riced’ in the produce section or frozen food aisle of most grocery stores.
Croutons: These can definitely trip you up when enjoying a healthy salad. My favorite crouton stand-ins are raw pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. You still get that crunch, but without the processed white flour.
Sugar: Oh, sugar. You temptress. Fortunately there are several natural sweeteners available that offer the sweet taste without the harmful effects of white sugar. Choose coconut sugar, real maple syrup, molasses, stevia, or honey instead. These all have the added benefit of vitamins and minerals too! Bonus!
So as you can see, there are lots of ways to swap out your unhealthy favorites with some much healthier alternatives. Your reward will be increased energy and wellness, and who doesn’t want more of that stuff?!
Trying to get on a healthier track??
Hey! I’m Julie.
I’m the mother of three, ages 28, 21, and 6, and Gima (grandmom) to a five-year-old grandson.
Over my 28 years of #momming I have been ALL the moms (single, married, stay-at-home, working, young, ‘mature’, struggling, stable, etc) and have faced every healthy eating challenge there is.
Now the founder of Well Fed Families, and author of the ‘Easy, Healthy Meals for the Tired-Ass Mom’ cookbook, I bring my real-life, family-raising experience to the table to help other overwhelmed mamas get on a healthier track.
So take a load off and stay a while. I’m super glad you’re here. <3