Cooking and experimenting with different flavours and ingredients would allow you to discover some really fantastic and deliciously mouth-watering recipes. When cooking why not also make your cooking experience a healthier one by switching up some of the ingredients with these healthier choices?
Greek yogurt for mayo (in tuna/chicken salad)
Add some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice, and they’ll taste almost identical. Plus, this swap will save on calories and fat, and provide an extra dose of protein.
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit for flavored yogurt
Pre-flavored yogurts often come packed with extra sugar. To skip the sugar rush without sacrificing flavor, opt for plain yogurt (or plain Greek yogurt) and add fresh fruit and/or honey or agave for a hint of sweetness.
Nutritional yeast for cheese
The taste and texture are a little bit different, but the creamy goodness is pretty comparable. Instead of topping that taco with cheddar, try a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavoring with much less fat.
Lettuce leaves for tortilla wraps
It’s not a perfect swap, but forgoing the carbs for fresh lettuce is a fun and easy switch that can lighten up any wrap or taco dish.
Corn tortilla for flour tortilla
Half the calories and fat.
Avocado mash for mayo
Half a mashed avocado is a great substitute for mayo on any sandwich. Both give some moisture, but avocado packs a big dose of vitamin E and cholesterol-checking monounsaturated fat. And while a typical two-tablespoon serving of mayonnaise has about 206 calories and 24 grams of fat, half an avocado has only 114 calories and 10.5 grams of fat.
Sliced tomatoes for tomato sauce (on pizza)
Cut out the extra sodium, sugar, and preservatives by replacing jarred tomato sauce with fresh sliced tomatoes. The texture is a bit different, but the flavor is much more vibrant and fresh!
Brown rice for white rice
When white rice is processed, the “brown” bran layer gets stripped away, cutting out essential nutrients (like fiber). Opt for brown rice for a fuller nutritional profile.
Quinoa for couscous
While couscous is made from processed wheat flour, quinoa is a whole-grain superfood packed with protein and nutrients. Bonus points: They have almost the exact same texture.
Zucchini ribbons for pasta
Thin strips or ribbons of zucchini are a great stand in for carb-packed pastas. Plus, it’s one excuse to skip the boiling — simply saute for a few minutes until soft.
Olive oil for butter
When cooking eggs, this simple switch is a great way to cut down on saturated fats while getting a healthy dose of essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Turnip mash for mashed potatoes
While one cup of mashed potatoes made with whole milk racks up about 180 calories (and that’s before the inevitable salt and butter), a cup of mashed turnip (which doesn’t need milk or butter to get that creamy consistency) has only 51 calories. Add some fresh herbs in place of the salt and it’s a much healthier stand-in for classic mash.
Grated steamed cauliflower for rice
Cut both calories and carbs with this simple switch. The texture is virtually the same, as is the taste. Add a little grated cheese into warm grated cauliflower and you get yourself something like a baked rice!
Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
Just like the turnip mash, mashed cauliflower has only a fraction of the calories of potatoes and it’s nearly impossible to taste the difference. Alternatively, try mixing half potato, half cauliflower.
Rolled oats for breadcrumbs
While breadcrumbs can pack extra sodium, using rolled oats seasoned with herbs is a great way to sneak another whole grain into any meal.
Dry beans for canned beans
Canned beans are convenient but they also tend to have excess sodium and plenty of preservatives. Plus, even though the canned versions are dirt cheap, dried beans are even cheaper! It may take a little more work (just some simple soaking and boiling), but this switch is still well worth it.
Prosciutto or pancetta or bacon
Bacon is often the go-to for that smoky flavor in savory dishes (and even in some sweet ones). But opting for a few slices of prosciutto or pancetta can help cut both calories and fat. While bacon has about 70 calories and 6 grams of fat for two slices, prosciutto has just 30 calories and 4 grams in an equally weighted sample.
Two egg whites for one whole egg
One egg yolk holds more than half the recommended daily cholesterol for the average adult. Trading out the yolk for a second white will cut out the cholesterol while doubling the protein. If making a dish that requires more eggs, keep one to two yolks for their rich vitamins A, E, D, and K content, but consider swapping out the rest.
Whole wheat pasta or regular pasta
Just as with bread, whole wheat pasta beats regular with a higher fiber content and about 50 fewer calories per serving (depending on the brand).
Crushed flax or fiber cereal for bread crumbs
Crushing a fiber-rich cereal and mixing it with some herbs makes an easy lower-sodium substitution for traditional breadcrumbs.
White-meat, skinless poultry for dark-meat poultry
White meat is lower in calories and fat, higher in protein and iron.
Olive oil spray for olive oil from the bottle
Using a spray bottle is a great way to cut down on oil while still getting the non-stick benefits.
Egg Beaters or egg yolks
A solid substitution for many egg dishes (like omelets and frittatas) — and even for something more complicated, like Hollandaise sauce.
Bison for beef
Higher in B vitamins and lower in fat, bison is a great substitute for the ol’ beefy standard. (When available, of course.)
Ground Turkey for ground beef
Ground turkey (or chicken) is a great substitute for ground beef to cut down on saturated fat and calories. Reminder: Because of the lower fat content, ground poultry often ends up drier than beef, but a few tablespoons of chicken stock can solve the problem in a snap!
Quinoa and ground turkey for rice and ground beef (in stuffed peppers)
More protein and antioxidants in the quinoa and less fat in the ground turkey make this an all-around healthier option for this popular side dish.
Coconut milk for cream
Coconut milk is a great substitute for heavy cream in soups and stews.