10 Genius Healthy Food Substitutions

By Kaitlin Bitz Candelaria | July 25, 2016
Cooking healthy doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of relying on the same old ingredients, don’t be afraid to get creative in your kitchen with some healthy food substitutions.

Remember that most of these substitutions are healthier options, but most are not things you should be eating at every meal in order to have an optimal diet. Here at FitnessHQ, we believe the best and healthiest diet is one that consists of lots of whole, fresh foods with a heavy concentration on vegetables, fruit, lean meats, seafood, nuts, seeds and lots of water.

healthy food substitutions
Photo by Katie Smith

10 Genius Healthy Food Substitutions

1. Instead of Vegetable Oil, Use Applesauce

Vegetable oils are bad for you whether you’re using them to cook in or with. Although ghee, olive oil and animal fats make a great alternative for when you’re cooking something in oil, finding a solid replacement in baking can be a little tricky.

Next time you’re in the mood to bake and want to use a little bit healthier of an alternative, grab some all-natural, no sugar added applesauce and replace the amount of oil the recipe calls for with the same amount of applesauce.

2. Instead of Pasta, Use Zoodles

If you haven’t purchased a spiralizer yet, you’re missing out. Zoodles may just be the best invention ever created by mankind. Not only are they a 100 percent healthy pasta substitute, but they’re easy to make and taste delicious as well!

If you’re not quite ready to make the transition to green noodles, start first with spaghetti squash, another great pasta substitute. You can learn how to cook a spaghetti squash in your slow cooker here.

3. Instead of Butter, Use Avocado

healthy food substitutions
Photo by Nur Afni Setiyaningrum
A lot has been debunked about butter in recent years. Once demonized for being fattening and terrible for your heart health, it’s actually come out in recent years that butter in moderation isn’t bad for you.

However, when it goes from a dab here or a tablespoon there to large amounts, especially in baking, butter consumption can become more problematic.

No fear — you can use pureed avocado as a perfect substitute packed with healthy fats. Sub the same amount of butter the recipe calls for and watch the magic happen.

4. Instead of Rice, Use Caulirice

Not everyone feels the need to give up rice when they start eating healthier, especially depending on what your goals are. However, most can agree that if your goals involve losing weight, rice may not be the best addition to your diet.

However, caulirice on the other hand is low in calories and carbs and makes a seamless transition in many different dishes including soups and casseroles.

If you’re lucky enough to find pre-made caulirice, buy it in bulk. If not, grab a cheese grater and get to work!

5. Instead of Sour Cream, Use Plain Greek Yogurt

Different people follow different plans when it comes to healthy eating, some of which eliminate dairy and some of which still call for it, depending on what your goals are.

If you do still eat dairy, use greek yogurt as a healthier substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise in dishes.

6. Instead of Creamer, Use Almond Milk

Want to get healthier but just can’t bear to give up your early morning frappawhatever? Try swapping your sugar-laden coffee creamer for vanilla almond milk or unsweetened almond milk if you’re really serious about trying to be healthy.

7. Instead of Ground Beef, Use Ground Turkey

Too much red meat can have detrimental affects on your health. Try limiting the amount of red meat you eat to one to two nights per week and use things like ground turkey and ground chicken instead of ground beef.

8. Instead of Bread Crumbs, Use Almond Flour

Sometimes, a crispy outer shell on chicken or veggies is just necessary, even if you are trying to eat healthy. When those fried food cravings strike, put down the Panko and instead try almond flour as a healthier alternative.

Almond flour is composed of ground up almonds. Its cousin, coconut flour, is also a healthier alternative to regular flour.

9. Instead of Milk, Use Coconut Milk

Healthy Food Substitutions
Photo by Max Lakutin
If your diet does eliminate dairy, it can make cooking certain things like soups and stews difficult.

Coconut milk is a wonderful alternative in these cases. It’s much better for you and it’s super creamy and makes an excellent base for many different dishes.

10. Instead of Flour, Use Arrowroot

When you’re tempted to use flour as a thickening agent in soups, casseroles and gravies, throw in a dash of arrowroot instead. Arrowroot is a naturally-derived starch. It’s white and powdery just like cornstarch, but is instead derived from roots of certain plants instead of from corn.

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