If you have ever switched your diet or have seen others do so, you know how hard it is to break ties with certain foods that are highly addictive and or just your favorite foods. A lot of the times the foods that are our favorites before switching our diets are not healthy, so today I am going to share healthy and delicious substitutes for YOUR favorite foods. You can still enjoy delicious healthy food and reap the benefits, healthy food doesn’t have to taste healthy. That is the trick!!
Now, it is actually very easy to substitute foods out for healthier ones. There are health stores everywhere, and even normal grocery stores have health food aisles. You can always find gluten free, reduced or no added sugar options and no saturated fat, organic etc. Options are never ending in the healthy food world, so don’t think eating healthy will limit you because it wont!!! Here are some examples of easy, delicious, healthy substitutes for everyday foods.
Let me start with sweeteners, whether you’re baking, cooking, or adding flourish to your coffee, there are healthy alternatives to pure sugar!
Number 1: Honey, this is a super good alternative to pure sugar, it is organic and nothing is added to it, no color etc. Here are some of the benefits of honey! it helps stabilize metabolism, it is a source of antioxidants, it is a natural source of energy, it aids in prevention of diabetes, and it helps counter pollen allergies!! how awesome is honey? it is really good stuff, and you can’t go wrong with it. You can use it for anything, baking, cooking, in your tea and coffee and I even like to use it as a natural cough soothing remedy when I am sick, it’s uses never end.
Number 2: Coconut sugar, this definitely beats cane sugar with the health side of things. It is 100% organic and again nothing is added, it doesn’t need any help being the star of the show. Yes, this is a bit more expensive but it is definitely worth it. And if you’re worried about adding liquid sweetener to your baked goods this is a great alternative to honey, it acts just like cane sugar but it is definitely better for you. Here are the health benefits!! My favorite part is that it is very low on the glycemic index, this means that unlike cane sugar it doesn’t affect the levels of sugar in your blood already there and it doesn’t have the tendency to raise your blood pressure! That is a huge deal, yes if you eat tons of coconut sugar the effects will be the same as eating cane sugar, but that is the point; less is more.
Number 3: Molasses, molasses is another great alternative to sweeteners. It tastes absolutely amazing on its own but when you add it to your baked goods, salad dressing and coffee it makes all those things taste even better! Plus if you are vegan, molasses is a good option for you because it is calorie dense(good calories) and made from plant matter! This of course is a benefit for everyone, vegan or not. Here are the health benefits of molasses!! It has the lowest sugar content of any sugar cane product, and it actually has nutritional value unlike other sugars! it contains important minerals and vitamins including; iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin B6, and selenium. All of those vitamins and minerals are so important to get into your system, so why not eat it in a delicious way and use molasses a substitute for sugar?!
Okay, now that I’ve talked about sugar for three paragraphs lets talk about main parts of dishes.
Pasta and healthier alternatives!!!
Number 1: Gluten free pasta, this is actually super easy to find in any grocery store! and it is pretty much the same price as normal pasta in my experience. Cutting out gluten is such a huge and wonderful step to take in your diet! I promise you will feel more energized and less full and bloated all the time. I have cut out gluten, most sugar and dairy from my diet(i’m lactose intolerant) and I am so happy i did that for my body.
Number 2: Vegan pasta, yes they actually have pre-made vegan pasta that you cook just like any other pasta. There are so many good brands out there, and what makes this good is it is plant based and it doesn’t have any nasty added ingredients that are bad for you!! I highly recommend them as a substitute for your normal pasta.
Number 3: Veggie noodles, this is a more complicated process but it is super healthy. It is where you take any sturdy vegetable such as squash, cucumber, carrots etc and put them in a spiral slicer that makes them into noodles!! I really love this alternative a lot, its a way to get your veggies in, its gluten free, natural and you don’t have to worry about bad ingredients. You can find a spiral slicer for cheap in any home store such as bed bath and beyond and even amazon. I highly recommend veggie noodles.
Breads and breakfast foods made healthy!!
There are so many ways to keep making delicious breads and breakfast foods without using any added sugar, dairy or gluten!! I have several recipes already on this very blog that you can go look at, and I have many more to come!!!
Number 1: no flour, yes you can bake goodies with absolutely no flour!! how is this done? by adding in natural ingredients that do the same job as flour, such as; bananas, oats, dates, and chia seeds. I have a recipe coming soon that is gluten free banana bread (absolutely no flour needed) and you’ll see exactly how it is done!!
Number 2: oats, rolled oats or just normal oats are a great substitute for flour! all you do is put them in a blender and create a solid mass of powdered oats, I used this method in my gluten and dairy free pancakes a few blog posts back!! It is super healthy and easy as oats are very accessible. Link to my gluten and dairy free pancakes:Dairy and Gluten Free Pancakes
Number 3: Gluten free flour and plant based flour. Gluten free flour does not act the same way as normal flour, it lacks the rising property but it is a good alternative for most of your baked goods. my personal favorite substitute is plant based flours, I use these all the time when bake; Almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour are all great substitutes!! plus they add an extra flavor in your goods. I would say I use almond flour the most when I am baking, I love the results. The one draw back is plant based flour is pretty expensive and aren’t sold in large quantities. I would say the cheapest way to cut gluten out of your baked goods is to just not put any flour in it. You’d be surprised of how many things you can use in place of flour.
Alternatives to dairy products!!
You can still get the benefit from “milk” without eating cow milk or other dairy products. here is how.
Number 1: Plant based milk, this is a way healthier alternative for so many reasons. I am lactose intolerant so for me I don’t have a say in the matter but I can tell you plant based milks are delicious and full of nutrients. these include; almond milk(my favorite), coconut milk, soy milk and so many more!! Here are some health benefits to plant based milk; there are less calories in these milks than normal dairy milk, and they have really good nutrients that are really good for your body!!!
Number 2: Coconut oil, I use this as a substitute for butter all of the time. I use it to cook dinner in a pan, I put it in baked goods etc. It works the exact same as butter but it is way healthier for you and it takes less of it to do the same job as butter. Here are some health benefits of coconut oil; it increases the amount of good cholesterol in your body known as HDL, and it helps convert the bad cholesterol LDL into good cholesterol, it also helps promote a healthy heart which will prevent risk of heart disease.
Rice and grain alternatives!!
I am sure a lot of people think white rice and grains are good for us, this is wrong. White rice, a lot like white bread does more harm to your internal system than good. The same with a lot of grains. So here are some healthy alternatives.
Number 1: Bulgar wheat, instead of white rice try Bulgar. It actually takes less time to cook, it is about the same cost BUT it is way healthier for our bodies. Another option is Quinoa, again cooks just like normal rice but is way better for you and lastly, brown rice. All three options are way better than jasmine rice(white rice), and there are many more options as well!! They are all full of amazing vitamins and nutrients that are super good for your body and won’t clog up your system like white rice.
For the grains:
Number 1: stick to whole grains that haven’t been processed and refined. This blocks out a lot of nasty things from getting into your body. These whole grains include; whole wheat, whole oats, brown rice, whole rye, freekeh, buckwheat, Bulgar, quinoa and couscous. You can not go wrong if you incorporate any of those grains into your diet instead of non-whole grains that have been processed.
There is just a taste of how you can substitute healthy food into your diet!! I hope you enjoyed. Follow me on instagram where I post workouts and even more pictures of food!! Here is the link to my page: https://www.instagram.com/lookingglassfitness/