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Healthy eating: 10 Best food substitutions

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Sometimes we don’t realize the extra fat and calories that are in the foods we eat until we start cooking. Buying our own ingredients and preparing our own dishes helps to put some better perspective into what we put into our bodies. We have a choice between a healthy lifestyle, and one that is much less healthy. But what if making healthy and equally delicious food was easy? Well, it is! There are tons of healthy, easy-to-find, and affordable options out there that make great replacements for some of the ingredients in cooking. Making a commitment to a healthier and more mindful lifestyle doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice eating tasty and flavorful food anymore. With all these great substitutions, there’s no excuse not to make the swap!!

Spaghetti squash for pasta
Spaghetti squash for pasta by Getty Images

Spaghetti squash for pasta

People love pasta, but what they don’t like is all the calories that come with it. A healthy alternative to pasta is spaghetti squash! What’s spaghetti squash? It’s variety of winter squash that can be made into ribbons or strands to look like pasta. It’s contains many nutrients and is low in calories, averaging 42 calories for a 1-cup serving. You’ll enjoy the healthy alternative and it won’t put you into a carb-comatose after.

Coconut milk for heavy cream
Coconut milk for heavy cream by Getty Images

Coconut milk for heavy cream

Coconut milk is one of the healthiest substitute for heavy cream. You can use it in coffee, desserts, soups, and so many different recipes that require cream. The flavor of coconut is rich and creamy, and can actually enhance the taste of your dish. You’ll be surprised with how much calories and fat you’ll be cutting with such a delicious replacement.

Cauliflowers for potatoes
Cauliflowers for potatoes by Getty Images

Cauliflowers for potatoes

What’s better than mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes made with cauliflower!! Substituting pureed cauliflower for potatoes is a great way to follow a low-carb diet. You get the same great flavor but without all the calories and guilt. You won’t even be able to tell the difference! Just be sure to drain as much liquid from the cauliflower so you get the same “starchy” texture.

Pureed fruit for maple syrup
Pureed fruit for maple syrup by Getty Images

Pureed fruit for maple syrup

Fruits are packed with natural sugars and has a more dynamic flavors and sweetness than you would find in maple syrup. Not only that, you can add that extra boost of antioxidants and vitamins that syrup does not contain. You can use apples, berries, mangoes, or citrus fruits to puree with a little bit of honey to make a great topping for pancakes, waffles, toast,  and yogurt. The possibilities are endless!

Black beans for flour
Black beans for flour by Getty Images

Black beans for flour

When it comes to baking brownies or muffins, most recipes require flour as the main ingredient. This may seem unusual, but black beans make a great substitution for flour! By simply replacing the same amount of flour with drained and pureed black beans, you can achieve the same taste without all the gluten. It’s a great guilt-free replacement with added protein, and it tastes great!

Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayo
Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayo by Getty Images

Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayo

Greek yogurt is filled with protein and nutritional value that you cannot find in sour cream or mayo. Not only that, it is lower in calories and fat, which easily makes it a better option for anyone’s diet. You can use a dollop of greek yogurt instead of sour cream for soups/stews/chili, and it is also a great topping for baked potatoes. Another way to use greek yogurt is as a substitution for mayonnaise. You can use it to make potato or pasta salad, to mix with tuna, and even as a spread in sandwiches. Add herbs and other spices to yogurt to give it a more dynamic flavor that fits your dish!

Coconut butter for oil/butter
Coconut butter for oil/butter by Getty Images

Coconut butter for oil/butter

Coconut butter is dense and creamy, but can easily be melted down into a liquid consistency. It has a rich coconut flavor that can enhance the flavor of any dish. You can add it to smoothies/soups for a creamier texture, use it as a topping to drizzle over fruit, as a spread for toast, as a substitution for oil in a stirfry, and even to replace butter in baking! It is filled with lauric acid which is great for your immune system--it’s a superfood that is worth substituting in your dishes!

Applesauce (sugar-free) for sugar
Applesauce (sugar-free) for sugar by Getty Images

Applesauce (sugar-free) for sugar

Apples is a deliciously sweet fruit that has natural sugars and are low in calories. I cup of sugar has more than 7 times the amount of calories as opposed to one cup of sugar-free applesauce. With those numbers, you’ll always opt to swap out sugar for applesauce. It’s a great substitution in salad dressings, baking, and other cooking. Because applesauce is full of moisture, be sure to reduce the liquid by a quarter for every 1 cup of applesauce used instead of sugar.

Quinoa for rice
Quinoa for rice by Getty Images

Quinoa for rice

Quinoa is a supergrain with TONS of nutritional and health value. Quinoa is at the top of the list of most protein-rich foods and has double the amount of fiber than most other grains. This super food contains iron, lysine, magnesium, B2, and manganese--all of which are great for your body. It’s a phenomenal substitution for rice at any meal. It’s filling, tasty, and super healthy.

Chia seeds for tapioca
Chia seeds for tapioca by Getty Images

Chia seeds for tapioca

When chia seeds absorb liquid, the seeds form a gel-like exterior around it making it have a similar texture to tapioca! But unlike tapioca, chia seeds are full of fiber, calcium, and omega 3’s. Another plus is that chia seeds are a lot easier to prepare than tapioca!! With all their health benefits, why wouldn’t you substitute chia seeds in any recipe that requires tapioca as an ingredient?

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