The end of another year is upon us, and with a new year always comes New Years Resolutions and goals. And as always, health tops most of our lists! Lots of people will cry out, “I’m going to eat healthier this year!” But how? Healthy eating starts with healthy cooking.
Replacing a few key ingredients can boost your food’s health power without sacrificing flavor. Knowledge is power, so here are seven easy replacements you can think about the next time you are cooking up something tasty.
There are many flours to choose from when replacing average white flour that bring a wide variety of health benefits depending on your choice. The first and easiest to use would be whole wheat flour. For people with gluten sensitivity, you can go a step further and use a gluten-free flour such as brown rice, hemp, or corn flour.
There are many different sugars you can use instead of refined white sugar. Fruit sugar is healthier and will add fruit flavors into your baked goods. You can replace sugar with fruits like mashed bananas or apple sauce in many recipes. An extra bonus is that many of these have extra nutrients and aren’t just plain sugar, which translates to . Artificial sweeteners should be avoided (sorry Splenda lovers!) and you really should focus on the real deal..
You can replace butter with applesauce in many cake and cookie recipes. Something to remember if you are making vegan treats or just want to cut out some fat. You can also switch to margarine, coconut oil, or avocado oil for other types of cooking if you want to avoid butter.
Replacing your regular vegetable oil with a healthier one (coconut for instance) will give your recipes a health boost. For every type of cooking, there’s an oil that can be subbed: fry with avocado, sesame, or peanut oil; bake with coconut, palm, or sunflower oil. The applesauce trick will work if you want to bake without using any oil.
Another handy oil fact to use: oil makes a great base for a salad dressing; you can make your own with some healthy oil of your choice (olive is my go-to!), some balsamic, and your favorite dry spices. So cut out the creamy ranch and embrace the lemon and olive oil!
If your recipe calls for bread (like French onion soup, bread pudding, or a strata) try to choose a bread with complex carbs instead of a regular old loaf of bread. In lieu of a crusty French bread, choose a loaf of French or Italian made from whole wheat. Once you throw that bread into your recipe, nobody will be able to tell the difference.
6. Greek Yogurt
Yes, you love sour cream. However, you can boost your health power in a recipe by opting for Greek yogurt instead. Whether you use it to replace sour cream in a dip, or just want a dollop on your spicy lentils, Greek yogurt will be a perfect doppelganger for sour cream. You can also use it in place of mayonnaise for many different recipes without tasting the difference. Greek yogurt has fewer calories and more protein, and it’s a great base for catching all the flavors of your favorite spices.
7. Vegetable Pasta
Instead of hard-to digest carbohydrates, why not substitute and toss ribbons of your favorite vegetables into a delicious sauce. Zucchini, cucumber, carrots, oh my! Veggies are full of fiber and nutrients and they take more time to be broken down by your body. On the other hand, pastas (even whole wheat pastas) just get quickly absorbed. You’ll be eating a bowl of veggies while fulfilling your need for marinara, peanut sauce, or pesto! You can julienne your veggies and toss them in boiling water for a few minutes.