When it comes to baking and cooking in general, there are a lot of swaps you can make in the kitchen that will instantly transform your meal to something #leancleangreen that you will LOVE. I began cooking “healthier” years ago, and over that time I’ve come to find my favorite swaps and I’m excited to share them with you today! Please note, though, that these ingredients do not make your recipes calorie free (if only, right?!), but they provide more nutritional value, and better for you ingredients that your body will love!
Click here to skip to the Chopped Salad recipe.
Healthier Food Swaps
Spaghetti Squash– This stuff is awesome! I love pasta, but I know eating carb heavy meals for dinner aren’t always the best choice to make. All you need to do is cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds, drizzle with some olive oil (and sprinkle on some salt and pepper, of course!), roast at 375 for 40 minutes or until fork tender. Let it cool, then scrape the sides with a fork, creating some delicious “pasta”. It’s perfect for spaghetti, soups and recipes like this DELISH Taco Casserole I made the other day!
Lettuce Wraps– This another easy swap to make if you’re hoping to cut down on carbs. I love replacing tortillas or wraps with leaves like romaine lettuce or collard greens. Try to go for big leaves that will be able to hold all your fillings without falling apart. Looking for some inspiration? Check out this tasty Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe you will love.
Greek Yogurt– If you love sour cream, you should give Greek yogurt a try instead! It subs perfectly but it has way less fat than sour cream, as well as protein and probiotics. Go with regular, unsweetened greek yogurt and use it as a 1:1 to sour cream or mayo in any of your recipes. I’ve made chicken salad, salad dressings and creamy pasta sauce that were a hit! Check out the delicious Avocado Greek Yogurt dressing recipe at the end of this post that I used on my chopped salad- it’s amazing.
Quinoa– This is a great swap to make when you’re trying to cut down on the grains you consume. Quinoa acts very similarly to a grain (in fact you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t one), but it’s actually a seed. It’s high in protein, fiber and iron, and will be your new best friend. I like to cook 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water or chicken broth until it boils, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let it simmer until all the liquid is absorbed and the seeds begin to “open”. Flavor as you want, and use it to make something like this delicious Quinoa Bowl!
Cauliflower– I don’t even know where to begin with cauliflower! It’s an awesome substitute for starchy veggies and some grains. Boil and mash it up as a replacement for mashed potatoes, or pulse in a food processor to make some cauliflower rice. If you’re looking for a tasty snack, you can season and roast the cauliflower instead of going for chips or cookies in the afternoon. Check out this Taco Soup recipe where I used some cauliflower rice that was ah-ma-zing.
Zoodles– Y’all I love these things. When I’m not in the mood for spaghetti squash, another go-to replacement for pasta is zoodles. If you haven’t heard of them before, they’re literally noodles made from a zucchini. All you need is a spiralizer (which you can use on squash, sweet potatoes and even carrots!) and you’re ready to start making some zoodles. I steam them for about 5-7 minutes, or until tender, then top with my favorite pasta sauce. Yum!
Frozen bananas– When I’m craving a sweet treat, frozen bananas are the way to go. Ever heard of “Nice Cream”? It’s frozen bananas blended with your favorite frozen fruit and a dash of almond milk to make some healthy and oh so delicious “ice cream”. I love adding in some cocoa powder to hit my chocolate cravings, or even some protein powder if I feel like Nice Cream for breakfast. Check out my Smoothie Bowl recipes for some more frozen banana love.
Applesauce– If you’re in a baking mood, try using applesauce to replace the oil in your recipe! It adds a yummy sweetness that you’ll love, and you won’t miss the oil at all. I normally do a 1:1 replacement, but sometimes just reduce the amount of oil and add in some applesauce to balance things out. It works best in foods like muffins and pancakes! Check out this Blueberry Zucchini Muffin recipe to see some applesauce in action.
Infused Water– I actually haven’t drunk very many sodas since high school, but sometimes I do find myself craving something flavored every once in a while. That’s when infused water comes into play! I’ve talked all about the awesome benefits of drinking infused water, so check it out here. It’s something you should definitely give a try! (You can also try out some kombucha, which is fancy fermented tea. I’m currently brewing my first batch and will be blogging about it soon!)
For this week’s recipe, I’m sticking to the month’s theme of Light & Fresh with a yummy chopped salad! It’s full of greens that you will L-O-V-E, like Brussels sprouts and lettuce, and topped with a homemade dressing that is out of this world. It’s the perfect side salad for your favorite dinner dish, or top it with some lean protein for a power-packed meal your body will thank you for.
- 3 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
- 2 cup Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced
- 3 carrots, grated
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 3 eggs, hard boiled
- 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- Finely chop the lettuce and sprouts and place in a large bowl. Peel then grate the carrots and add them to the bowl.
- Top the vegetables with the almonds. Chop the hard boiled eggs and add to the salad.
- Toss and set aside.
- In a small blender cup or food processor, blend together the ingredients until creamy. Store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Drizzle on top of the salad and enjoy!
Now it’s your turn to talk! Answer one of these questions below:
What is your favorite food swap?
Have you tried any of these swaps before?