Looking for easy ways to eat healthier in the new year? Get your family on the healthy track without drastically changing your way of cooking by swapping a few simple ingredients.
1. Swap out saturated fats for unsaturated fats:
- Keep the olive oil beside the stove so you reach for it first when cooking.
- Use these alternatives to butter or margarine on toast: Apple sauce, Greek yogurt, roasted garlic mixed with olive oil or try this Breakfast Guacamole Made With Greek Yogurt.
- When baking, substitute mashed bananas or apple sauce for butter or margarine, like in this Pistachio Apple Bread.
2. Reduce sugar and salt:
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt.
- Put lemon wedges on the table instead of a salt shaker. A squeeze of lemon brings a bright zing so the salt won’t be missed. This Lemon Roasted Salmon gets a flavor boost from both herbs and lemon juice.
- Substitute pureed fruit for sugar in cooking and baking. Keep frozen purees on hand so they’re as convenient as the sugar bowl. This Very Berry Peach Lemonade gets a lot of its sweetness from fruit.
3. When a recipe calls for flour or bread-based ingredients, swap them out:
- Use pecans instead of croutons. Try this salad with Mixed Greens, Pecans, Goats Cheese and Honey Mustard Vinaigrette.
- Use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs. Check out this recipe for Parmesan Oat Crusted Chicken.
- Swap out pasta for healthier grains. Try Barley and Meatballs instead of Spaghetti and Meatballs or this Greek Farro Salad instead of pasta salad.
4. Reduce bad protein, increase lean protein:
- Go meatless one night a week. Give these Cheesy Veggie Stuffed Shells a try.
- Have fish at least one night a week.
- Use mashed canned beans in for half the ground meat in recipes, like these Gluten-Free Italian Meatloaf Muffins.
- Swap out sour cream and mayonnaise for non-fat Greek yogurt. Try this recipe for One Skillet Vegetarian Quinoa Fajitas with Greek Yogurt or Light & Fresh Potato Salad.
- Use egg whites whenever a recipe calls for eggs.
5. Add fruits and veggies everywhere:
- Add veggies to carbohydrate side dishes. Try this recipe for Rice with Cucumber, Chive and Lime.
- Top desserts with fruit. Put less dessert in the bowl, top with fruit and feel just as satisfied, like in this recipe for Fruit and Cream Delights.
- Make fruit salsas or veggie-based sauces to accompany smaller meat/fish portions. Check out this Orange Salsa Tilapia.
- Use veggies instead of carbohydrates, like large lettuce leaves as wraps for tacos or spaghetti squash, zucchini ribbons or shredded carrots for pasta. Try this Roasted Sausage and Pearl Onions on Spaghetti Squash recipe.
Is there an ingredient you’d like to swap? Comment below for a healthy suggestion.