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Ingredient swaps for a healthier you

Ingredient swaps for a healthier you

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Getting healthy can seem like a huge undertaking. However, a few small, easy changes and ingredient swap-ins – like we've done here with fruit instead of refined sugar, proper muesli instead of processed cereal, and natural yoghurt instead of cream – can make really significant improvements from a nutrition perspective.

12 simply superb super foods

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How do you like your eggs in the morning? We like ours every which way because they’re a great source of protein, plus many other essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D. Our bodies need vitamin D to absorb calcium, which in turn keeps our bones healthy.

Fat swaps

Fat is an essential nutrient in our diet – really – but only when it’s the right kind. Saturated fat (the bad kind) is bad news for our heart and cholesterol levels when eaten in excess, and it should be kept to a minimum. Luckily, there are lots of ways to cut down on saturated fat intake.

Yoghurt is an all-round winner, and should be a staple in everyone’s fridge. It’s a great alternative to high-fat dips such as mayonnaise, and great for making a lighter version of houmous. Mayonnaise contains 79g of fat per 100g – quite a difference to fat-free yoghurt! Jamie’s recipe for a minty yoghurt dip is a nice way of seeing for yourself that reducing fat doesn’t mean compromising on flavour. Swapping cream and crème fraîche, both of which are high in saturated fat, for yoghurt is another great tip. A carbonara, for example, is typically laden with cheese and cream, but Jamie’s recipe for a lighter carbonara is made using fat-free yoghurt instead, and is so delicious you wouldn’t know – or care – about the difference.

Dairy-wise, going for skimmed or semi-skimmed milk is always a good idea. Not only do they contain less fat, but they still contain just as much calcium as whole (full-fat) milk.

To reduce the amount of fat in your diet, you can also use less meat, and leaner cuts when you do choose it. Meat doesn’t have to be the focus of a meal, and vegetables are a great way of filling out a plate. Leaner cuts of meat can be useful for quick midweek meals, think pork fillet and chicken breast. This Blackened chicken with quinoa salad recipe, for example, is bulked out with avocado, and uses only two chicken breasts between four people simply by cleverly slicing up the chicken to make it go further.

Salt swaps

It’s recommended that we have no more than 6g of salt per day. More than that is unhealthy, yet the average person consumes 8.1g.

Salt is found in a lot of ready-made, processed foods, but when you cook from scratch you can control exactly how much salt is going into what you eat. You can also use herbs, spices and acids (such as those from lemons, limes and oranges) and cheeses such as feta to create and enhance flavour and minimise the amount of salt needed.

For a great example, check out Jamie’s awesome vegetable chilli recipe, which keeps the salt to a minimum, celebrates the power of spice and, of course, stars his best friend in the kitchen – fresh chillies!

Sugar swaps

In much the same way as salt, sugar is often found in processed foods. It’s a cheap and easy way to add flavour, and lots of products are loaded with it. However, too much sugar in our diet can cause us to gain weight, and increases our risk of dental problems.

If you typically keep hydrated with fizzy drinks, a great way to cut down on your sugar intake is to swap to water that’s been flavoured with fresh fruit. Fruit contains natural sugar instead of the added, refined stuff, which means you’ll be reducing your sugar and calorie intake.

It’s best to think of indulgent desserts as treats and save them for special occasions, because they can be packed with fat and sugar. However, if you crave something sweet after a meal, this frozen yoghurt recipe is made with lovely naturally sweet strawberries, should satisfy your sweet tooth, and it’s only 63 calories per serving! It’s made with a little honey, but this goes a long way, making 6 servings.

Snacks can be great if you need some energy to tide you over until your next meal, but be careful to choose the right ones, avoiding high-fat, high-sugar snacks such as chocolate and biscuits. A handful (around 30g) of dried fruit such as mango or apricots can provide the same energy hit, but contains many more nutrients, such as fibre.

Carb swaps

Carbohydrates seem to have acquired a bad – and totally unfair – reputation, as they’re often associated with weight gain. However, they’re essential for a healthy, balanced diet as they are our main form of energy – you just have to make sure you’re eating the right ones.

A simple swap to get more fibre in your diet is to trade up to wholewheat or wholemeal carbs. Wholewheat pasta boasts around twice the fibre of white pasta, while the fibre content of wholemeal bread is more than double that of white bread. High-fibre foods are not only great for filling you up properly (and so reducing the chance of snacking on high-fat and sugary food and drinks), but they also keep your digestive system healthy, and can reduce your risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. The same goes for brown rice – it takes a little longer to cook, but it’s a great trade up, as it provides more fibre and also has a lovely nutty flavour. In fact, there are loads of great rice varieties, and it’s well worth experimenting.

One potential minefield meal is breakfast – it’s super important, but lots of people skip it or, worse still, eat cereals full of added sugar. Carbohydrates are important at this time of the day because they provide an energy boost that helps the body to refuel after the overnight fast. A brilliant good-carb breakfast is Bircher muesli, which is packed with porridge oats – a natural source of fibre and beta glucan, which helps to lower cholesterol. You’ll have to make this the night before, but it’s well worth the effort!

What healthy swaps have you made that have improved your lifestyle?

For more help becoming the best you can be, join our Healthier Happier You community and order your copy of Jamie’s Everyday Super Food!


If you're not used to doing it, often seems like a chore, but it doesn't have to be difficult or joyless. Even just tweaking little things here and there -- like adopting Mondays, or picking less- -- can add up to big benefits, whether you're looking to , have more energy or just feel better about your food choices.One of the easiest methods is to start making small substitutions instead of totally overhauling your diet all at once.If you don't want to try the or go or -- let alone commit to restrictive or diets -- you don't have to! You don't even have to swap out burgers for kale salads, or skip dessert. Just start making minor changes like the ones we recommend below.We promise they're all doable, and even if you only do them some of the time, they'll have an impact. Incorporate a few into your weekly routine and before you know it, you'll notice that eating healthy is actually pretty easy -- and enjoyable, too.1. Replace refined white sugar and flour with healthier alternatives

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Baked goods don't have to be unhealthy -- even if you struggle with the whole "in moderation" part -- if you experiment with swapping out some of the usual ingredients, like refined white sugar and flour, for other things. Chowhound's lays out ways you can substitute common ingredients with things like applesauce and .But here's one of the suggestions that may sound harder to swallow: swapping black beans in for flour, at least in chocolate desserts. As the Minimalist Baker's vegan and gluten-free brownies (pictured above) prove, you'll hardly notice the difference. And as a bonus, these are loaded with fiber and healthy omega-3s. Get the .2. Use non-dairy milk in your smoothies (and sneak in some spinach too)
The easiest way to add some extra health into your life? Drink it up! Smoothies are a favorite (and less austere than ), but they're only as healthy as the things you put in them -- so consider choosing instead of moo juice, harnessing the probiotic power of (bonus: protein boost), using frozen fruit instead of ice to pack in extra fiber and nutrients and sprinkling in some . You can even sneak in spinach without it tasting like a salad: Try Chowhound's and see for yourself. You can also swap in or along with that non-dairy milk. 3. Lay off the Lays and make your own veggie chips
As a general healthy living tip, pretty much everything in the vending machine should be off limits. But if you're jonesing for some potato chip crunch, veggie chips can be a great option without the guilt (i.e. tons of oil, salt, additives and preservatives). And you can make them from pretty much any vegetable you like, from sweet potatoes and carrots to kale. See Chowhound's guide to making (no dehydrator required). But remember: These are still intended as a treat, not your daily serving of veggies try to work in simple steamed, roasted and raw vegetables as often as you can. 4. Snack smarter with plant-based junk food

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Conversely, when you don't have time for DIY treats -- or if you're caught out away from home and must give in to a snack attack -- just make relatively better choices. Look for vegan and gluten-free versions of your favorite chips and candy. They may not qualify as health food, per se, but they're often significantly healthier than their conventional alternatives, and taste just as great (truly, are amazing and you can't tell they're vegan or made of beans). See also: and other . Baby steps are still steps, after all. You can also try making healthier snacks at home, like , for instance.5. Try quinoa instead of rice, oats and other grains
If you're not doing keto or paleo, are great, and always nutritionally preferable to more processed forms, but almighty quinoa may be even better. It's a literal , it's gluten-free, it contains all nine essential amino acids the human body needs -- and it can stand in for lots of other ingredients, like rice, oats and even wheat.It's technically a seed, but it works like a grain (and it is still not paleo- or Keto Diet Guide, FYI) you can use it as the base for salads and soups, serve it with curries and even . While the majority of are savory, they can be sweet too, like Chowhound's .6. Substitute spinach for some of your meat or dairy
If you're not a big vegetable person, is a time-honored trick that works with kids and picky eaters alike (and even lets you force yourself to get more roughage in your diet). You don't have to stick to spinach, but it's especially easy to incorporate into all sorts of dishes, from lasagna to dips and even pesto (and smoothies, as mentioned above). Try Chowhound's to get a sense of just how many dishes you can work it into. 7. Cut back on booze by making mocktails
Whether you're doing "Dry January" as your health challenge du jour or just trying to cut back a bit (or, um, a lot), it's possible to make that are just as complex and delicious as actual craft cocktails. The key is building layers of flavor with ingredients like fruit juices (though beware, they can be high in sugar), infused simple syrups, flavored bitters and even herbs. We bellied up to 10 bartenders and got enough to see us through several weekends.If you're going to stick to your spirits, at least consider cutting out added sugar. Try a in place of simple syrups.8. Use cauliflower in place of rice, flour, meat and potatoes
Even if you don't think , it never hurts to work more veggies into your life, and cauliflower rice is an easy way to do it. It's versatile, healthy and can be served in place of nutritionally weak white rice in any dish, from burritos to stir-fries and beyond. Get the .And note that is also pretty great. Ditto (you seriously won't even miss the chicken). You can even blend cauliflower into a creamy sauce that uses less (or no) dairy. See Chowhound's piece on for more ideas. 9. Substitute Greek yogurt for other fats
is pretty great on its own, especially if you go with non- or low-fat versions. You can swap in plain Greek yogurt in place of many other fats like mayo, sour cream, butter and oil in a whole host of recipes. For instance, try it in , a garlicky , a delectable yet , homemade and as the creamy element in both and . 10. Cut back on cheese by swapping in nutritional yeast

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Vegans have known for a while now that is a great (and healthy) substitute for regular cheese -- it's nutty, slightly salty and, well, cheesy even while being free of dairy. Sprinkled on its own over pasta, popcorn or salad, it can stand in for parmesan, but it's also great when used to deepen the flavor of and . Just look at the Minimalist Baker's above and tell us you wouldn't think that was made with some sharp cheddar! (In fact, it's cashews and nutritional yeast instead.) 11. Try lettuce wraps in place of tortillas
If you've ever tried to eat healthier at fast food joints, you may have asked to hold the bun, or even substituted lettuce for the bread. It works, but what's infinitely more enjoyable is making the same swap for tortillas, which are similarly thin and foldy. (If you can't do it, at least opt for corn tortillas instead of flour, since they're healthier.) Use the lettuce, though, and you can justify adding a little bit more sour cream and cheese. Try this , or Chowhound's . 12. Embrace the zoodle (and other veggie noodles instead of pasta)

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Have a saucy dinner planned? Swap out noodles, even the , with zoodles. Those are noodles made out of spiralized zucchini. Once you get the hang of making them, they're a great healthy alternative to regular or wheat pasta -- and you can also shave them into thin sheets as an alternative to traditional lasagna (see Chowhound's ). But branch out even further and try zoodles in soups too (like ) and stir fries such as this . 13. Ditch milk chocolate for dark
Whether you're just grabbing a bite of something sweet or getting ready to bake a more virtuous batch of bean brownies, the mere act of choosing a darker chocolate (that is, one with a higher cacao percentage) can count as a healthy move. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, after all, and has much less added sugar -- and most of it is vegan too. See our picks for the to munch on. Then just try not to eat the entire bar at once. Baby steps.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

20 Healthy Snack Swaps That Taste Great Too

Avoid the mid-afternoon slump with these nutritious swaps.

Snacks can be a delicious and healthy option to keep you fueled and satisfied during the day, but they can also be quite sneaky sources of added sugar and artificial ingredients. These smart swaps help to amp up the fiber, protein and nutritional value of your favorite bites and minimize any unnecessary sweeteners or junk to help avoid that dreaded sugar crash. While you're at it, check out our favorite recipes for healthy sandwiches, our favorite healthy snacks for work and our guide to 50+ other amazing healthy snacks to enjoy.

For High-Fat Items at Restaurant

You can eat sensibly when you eat out by choosing lower-fat foods instead of &ldquothe usual."

  • Instead of cream-based soups, try broth-based soups with lots of vegetables
  • Instead of quiche and salad, try soup and salad.
  • Instead of buffalo chicken wings, try peel-and-eat shrimp.
  • Instead of bread, muffins, or croissants, try melba toast, pita bread, or whole-grain rolls.
  • Instead of a fried chicken sandwich, try a grilled chicken sandwich.
  • Instead of chicken fried steak, try a veggie burger.
  • Instead of french fries, try baked potato, brown rice, or steamed vegetables.
  • Instead of potatoes and gravy, try potatoes without gravy or a baked potato.
  • Instead of creamy coleslaw, try sautéed vegetables, steamed vegetables or a tossed salad.
  • Instead of a hot fudge sundae or ice cream, try nonfat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice.

7 Easy Food Swaps For A Healthier You

Just about every comfort food you can think of involves carbs — there’s just something about carbs that we tend to love. And I most certainly do love carbs!!

With the rise of the low-carb trend, people have become very creative with recreating their favorite carb dishes in a “healthier” way.

One magical ingredient is usually at the root of these recreations — cauliflower. It’s so versatile and can be used in so many ways.

Every time I think of cauliflower, I think of my son. As a young boy, he called cauliflower “trees” – and boy did he hate it. I remember being at my parents’ home one time when they had cooked it, and they told him he couldn’t leave the table until he had eaten it. Oh, he ate it alright – and then promptly went and threw up everywhere!! Over the years, as his tastes have changed, he eats it now and enjoys it. Funny, the memories we have of different foods!

Well, back to the real topic!!

You probably know that cauliflower can replace white rice, but what else can cauliflower do in your kitchen to beat your carb cravings? As it turns out, a lot. Here’s where you can swap this cruciferous veggie in place of carb-filled options.

1. Mashed potatoes

Some people go full cauliflower while others go half-and-half with potatoes. Either way, you’ll turn out that favorite comfort food through cauliflower and won’t feel as bloated afterward. I love adding loads of fresh garlic and herbs to it to fill it full of flavor.

2. Alfredo sauce

Dreaming of a plate of fettuccine alfredo? There’s a way to liven up a regular alfredo sauce with cauliflower to lighten the load of the heavy dish. Use cauliflower to lighten it up without sacrificing any flavor, with only a few ingredients. Cauliflower alfredo sauce consists of cauliflower, garlic, your favorite non-dairy milk, and that’s about it! Look up some recipes on Pinterest and give it a try.

3. Pizza

Look on YouTube, and you’ll find a ton of cauliflower crust recipes just waiting to be tried. All you need is a whole head of cauliflower, cheese, and egg whites. Don’t want to make it yourself? They sell cauliflower pizza crusts ready to go in the frozen section of the supermarket, and you can even substitute cauliflower crust in many pizza parlors.

4. Tater tots

If you’re struggling to get the kids to eat veggies, try replacing the tater tots with cauliflower tots. You can make these yourself with minimal ingredients or buy them in the frozen section of your local grocery store.

5. Fried rice

Sure, you can make fried rice healthier with brown rice. But if you really want to maximize your veggie intake and cut carbs further, try making it with cauliflower rice. Add shrimp and egg for a satisfying switch-up on this Chinese takeout classic. Drizzling toasted sesame oil while cooking will add a pop of flavor you’ll love.

6. Sushi

Yes, you read that right! You can substitute cauliflower rice for sushi rice. It only takes just a touch of coconut milk to render it to the same texture that sushi rice has. What a game-changer. Fill it with your favorite raw or cooked fish, or keep it strictly vegetarian.

7. Cheese sauce

You can make cheese sauce that’s lighter and still cheesy, all with the help of cauliflower. Steam cauliflower in chicken stock, then puree it with a little cheese. Use vegan cheese if you’re dairy-free. You’ll find plenty of uses for this one like topped on veggies or even with elbow macaroni for a healthier version of everyone’s favorite, mac n’ cheese.

See? Eating healthy doesn’t have to be all about salads. Let cauliflower help you fix your cravings for tonight’s dinner!

Do you switch out some foods for cauliflower? I would love to know. And if so, what are your favorites way to make this healthy swap? Comment below. I would love to know.

Don’t forget, if you want more recipes, tips for healthy living (weight loss, real energy, ditching the bloat and sugar cravings, and more), join me in my private Facebook group for women.

Cut down on saturated and trans fats by choosing nontropical vegetable oils instead of foods rich in saturated fat or trans fat for cooking. These oils contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Check the Nutrition Facts label and avoid foods with hydrogenated oils.

Buy lower-sodium versions of common canned recipe ingredients like tuna, beans, tomatoes and other vegetables. If you can&rsquot find low-sodium or &ldquono salt added,&rdquo rinse the contents in a colander under water to wash away some of the salt.

Choose canned fruits packed in juice rather than syrup.

Use nonstick cooking spray instead of greasing bakeware with butter or shortening. And use it in skillets instead of butter for cooking.

Make your own salad dressings by mixing healthier kitchen oils (such as olive oil) with vinegar and herbs. You can also make healthier version of your favorite creamy dressings by blending low-fat sour cream or cottage cheese and low-fat buttermilk and adding fresh herbs like dill, tarragon or chives.

Look for whole grains and lower sodium when you buy things like bread, crackers, and snacks.

Choose poultry and fish and limit red meat. Always look for leaner pieces and trim away skin and visible fat before cooking.

Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.

Delicious Dishes for Dinner

Creamy Chicken Broccoli Casserole: This dish is so warm and comforting, it tastes just like it came from your mother’s kitchen.

Skinny Taco Casserole (Pictured above): This healthy casserole is simple to prepare and guaranteed to curb your appetite.

Easy Spinach & Italian Sausage Orzo: This comforting dinner from Canuck Cuisine is savory, filling and packed with your favorite veggies.

10 Easy Healthy Recipes That Will Fool Your Friends and Family

Baked Parsnip Fries (pictured above, left): This kid-friendly recipe tastes and smells exactly like regular French fries. But surprise! They’re not potatoes — they’re parsnips!

South of the Border Hash Brown Bake: Packed with protein, South of the Border Hash Brown Bake is easy to throw together if you’re looking for a healthy potato dish.

Spinach Artichoke & Roasted Red Pepper Cheesy Squares (pictured above, right): What better way to get in your daily veggie intake than to pair it with one ingredient that everybody loves — cheese! This dish is so good it’s hard to believe it’s nutritious!

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries (pictured above, left): Given that the asparagus is already in perfect “fry” shape, it seemed only natural to turn them in fries. Not only is this dish healthy for you, it also has a refreshing, juicy taste that regular french fries just don’t have.

Eggplant Lasagna (pictured above, right): Unlike regular lasagna, the eggplant in this kid-friendly recipe is roasted instead of fried, which not only cuts out unwanted calories, but also takes less time to prepare. Add in some rich marinara sauce, shredded cheese and comforting lasagna noodles and your family will go crazy over this dish.

Zucchini Chips: This homemade snack from Table for Two is a much healthier alternative to an ordinary, store-bought bag of potato chips. These healthy chips (made with fresh zucchini) are thin, crispy and absolutely irresistible.

Skinny BBQ Spaghetti Squash Casserole: This easy healthy recipe replaces spaghetti with spaghetti squash, making this traditionally heavy meal much lighter, without getting rid of that comforting flavor.

Avocado Cream Cheese Snack Roll-Ups (pictured above, left): This tasty snack from Eclectic Recipes tastes like a Southwestern BLT in wrap form. Made with fresh avocados, green onions and tomatoes, this is definitely an easy way to get your daily veggie intake.

Chicken Burrito Bowl: This healthy kid-friendly recipe is much more nutritious than a burrito bowl from Chipotle, but it’s packed with just as much flavor. This dish combines chicken with a wide variety of vegetables, including beans, tomatoes, green peppers and corn. Yum!

Baked Sweet Potato & Zucchini Fritters (pictured above, right): Looking for a flavorful, crispy after-school snack that doesn’t involve any frying? Look no further — this recipe is perfect.

7 ingredient swap-outs for healthy brownies

Brownies with healthy ingredient swap-outs | SA Live | KSAT 12

SAN ANTONIO – Natural health expert Bryce Wylde shares his go-to healthy dessert recipe. With simple swap-outs, you can add nutrients to this brownie batter and your kids may not even notice that they’re eating avocado and black beans, instead of chocolate chips and sugar.

Watch the video above to see the reveal for the hidden ingredients. The healthy recipe is below.

For more information on Bryce Wylde, click here. You can follow him on his Instagram account for more tips and tricks to stay on the healthy track.

Healthy brownies

• 1 1/2 cups black beans, drained, rinsed (1 can, 15 ounces)

• 2 tablespoons cacao powder

• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2. Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until completely smooth. Really blend well. (For texture, a food processor works best. A blender is fine, if necessary.)

3. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan. Optional: Sprinkle 70% chocolate chips over the top.

4. Cook for 15 - 18 minutes. Let cool at least 10 minutes before trying to cut (yields about 9 - 12 squares). If they look a bit undercooked, you can place them in the fridge overnight and they will firm up.

About the Author

We are all about food! The Providence Nutrition Team loves to talk about and share our expertise on how to help you find the right diet, food types and maintenance tactics to help you live life to the fullest. while also enjoying the best foods that mother nature has to offer.

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