Eating healthy doesn’t mean you can’t eat well! Just by swapping out ingredients, you can take your favorite recipes and turn them into healthy and diet-approved meals. The best part is you will rarely be able to detect a difference in taste, and you’ll be using pantry staples you probably already have on hand! Take a look at these healthy recipe substitutions:
Greek Yogurt. Full of protein and low on calories, use Greek yogurt as a substitute for creamy ingredients.
• In recipes calling for mayonnaise, use half the amount and add Greek yogurt for the rest (e.g. the recipes says to use ½ cup mayo, so you use ¼ cup Greek yogurt and ¼ cup mayo).
• Instead of sour cream, use Greek yogurt.
• Use ¼ Greek yogurt and ¾ butter in recipes calling for butter (e.g. recipes calls for 1 cup of butter, so use ¼ cup Greek yogurt and ¾ cup butter).
Applesauce. Naturally sweet and delicious, applesauce is a great replacement for butter or oil in forgiving baking recipes.
• Replace the full amount of butter with the same amount of applesauce. Works best in cookies and some cakes.
• Applesauce is also a great way to naturally sweetened your baked goods. Substitute 1:1 for sugar, but for every cup you use reduce the overall amount of liquid you use in the recipe by ¼ cup.
Prunes. Use as a substitute in the same way you use applesauce, only with chocolate-based recipes instead of vanilla.
• Buy pureed prunes (or puree your own in a food processor) and substitute equal parts prunes for butter.
Pumpkin. Pureed pumpkin is another great oil substitute in baking. It adds a more distinct flavor than applesauce, so use only in recipes you want the pumpkin flavor to come through!
• Substitute the same amount of pureed pumpkin for oil or butter in a recipe.
Flaxseed. Believe it or not, you can use this heart-healthy seed as a substitute for eggs!
• Combine 1 teaspoon of fiber and protein, you can get creative with these when baking!
• Substitute 1 cup of pureed black beans for 1 cup of flour.
Bananas. Potassium and natural sugar make bananas excellent candidates for substituting.
• Instead of oil, use 1 cup of mashed banana for 1 cup oil in a baking recipe.
Stevia. A natural, zero-calorie sweetener, stevia is a great way to make your recipes taste great while reducing the overall calories.
• Swap 1 cup regular sugar for 2 Tablespoons stevia powder (or 1 teaspoon liquid stevia)
Chia seeds. High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids and overall great for your health, you can use chia seeds in a number of creative ways. • Mix 1 Tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 cup of water and let them sit for 15 minutes. You’ll get a mixture perfect to use in place of 1 egg.
• To use in place of fat in a baking recipe, combine 1 tablespoon of seeds with 9 Tablespoons of water and use the gel to replace half the fat, oil, or butter in the recipe.
Quinoa. A complete plant-based source of protein, quinoa easily adds fiber and staying power to even unexpected recipes.
• Substitute cooked quinoa for breadcrumbs in meatball or meat patty recipes.
• Any time a recipe calls for couscous or rice, chances are you can swap it for quinoa.
Cauliflower. This unassuming vegetable is an excellent low-calorie and low-carb substitute for some of your favorite dishes.
• Pulse raw cauliflower in a food processor and use in place of rice (when served with hot ingredients, the steam perfectly cooks the “riced” cauliflower).
• Puree steamed cauliflower with a little chicken broth and salt, and you’ve got delicious mashed potatoes.
Spaghetti squash. This unique squash really does resemble pasta noodles when it’s been cooked and pulled apart. The taste is mild and pairs well with most pasta sauces!
• Roast 1 squash for approximately 3 servings. What are your favorite substitutes? How do you eat healthy without sacrificing flavor or missing out on enjoying your favorite meals?