Delicious Recipe Substitutes You MUST Try!
So, you’ve decided it’s time to get in shape and start living a healthier lifestyle. Great! Now where to begin? Exercising, drinking SlimTea, and quitting soda are all fabulous starts, but what will you eat on a daily basis?
Sure, there are a bunch of diets you can try, but you want something you can stick with and will taste good too. After all, healthier food doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.
Recently, I went on a quest to find some really delicious and healthy recipes to add into my daily life. However, lot of the recipes I stumbled upon contained ingredients I didn’t have on hand or the recipe didn’t seem like something I would enjoy.
I decided then to give my old recipes a new facelift with some healthier substitutions. Today, I have for you some simple, yet delicious ways to add in a variety of healthy substitutes to your favorite family recipes!
Chicken salad is always a summer time favorite. It is easy to make, can be prepared in advance, and is used in a variety of ways (pita, wrap, stuffed in tomatoes, etc.). However, the problem with a traditional chicken salad recipe is it’s loaded with mayonnaise. 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise is 100 calories and some recipes call for at least ½ cup or more. This can be an issue for those of us who are trying to eat healthy.
I have found a VERY delicious solution. Plain Greek yogurt and a ripe avocado mashed together and mixed with shredded chicken. When I made this for my husband, we not only didn’t have any leftovers, but we never missed the mayonnaise it was THAT delicious!
Chicken Salad Recipe
- 1 ripe avocado, removed from skin
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 cups finely chopped or shredded cooked chicken (I shredded a roasted chicken from the deli but didn’t use the skin)
- ½ red onion, chopped (I used a little less than this and it was just right)
- ¼ cup chopped celery (optional for added crunch)
- 1 small lime
In a medium bowl, mash together avocado and Greek yogurt until smooth. Stir in garlic, onion powder, salt and pepper. Add chicken, red onion and celery to avocado mixture and stir until all ingredients are combined. Squeeze in half the juice from the lime. Give it a taste, squeeze in the rest of the lime if needed. Serve in a wrap, in a pita, or any way you want! Refrigerate any leftovers, but I don’t think there will be anything left. ☺
Feeling like having a burger and fries? No problem. Ground turkey and sweet potatoes are the perfect substitute! Just make a patty with the turkey, season with your favorite spices and grill until done. Top with your favorite veggies and wrap in butter lettuce for a delicious turkey burger wrap! For your French fry craving, simply cut a sweet potato into strips, lightly coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder and bake until crispy (20-30 min @ 450 degrees). Added bonus? The high levels of vitamin A and beta-carotene in sweet potatoes indicate they are excellent for skin healing since beta-carotene fights the free radicals which effect skin aging. Awesome!
Do you love Italian food? Is your lasagna recipe a family favorite? I know it’s a favorite in our house since my husband is Italian. ☺ Next time your family requests this delicious, yet very high calorie dinner, try substituting your lasagna noodles with zucchini ribbons. Thin strips or ribbons of zucchini are a great stand in for carb-packed pastas. Simply sauté the ribbons for a few minutes until soft and then layer in your baking dish. Super simple!
It’s a Friday night and the old you would pick up your phone and call in a pizza for dinner. Easy peasy and delicious: not to mention high in calories. Want to know a healthier alternative? Cauliflower pizza crust. It may sound strange, but it’s delicious and easy to make! Knowing what’s in your food and preparing it yourself is key to staying healthy.
Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe
- 1 small to medium sized head of cauliflower – should yield 2-3 cups once processed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup mozzarella cheese
- 1 egg
- (Optional) 1 tablespoon almond meal if you do not have enough cauliflower
- Place a pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking oil.
- Wash and thoroughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Cut off the florets (you don’t need much stem). Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds or until you get a powdery rice-like consistency. You should end up with about 2-3 cups of cauliflower “rice”. Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean towel and allow to cool.
- Once cauliflower is cool, wrap in a dishtowel and wring out. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible.
- Dump cauliflower into a bowl and add Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, dried basil, dried oregano, garlic powder, and a dash of red pepper if you want. Now add the egg and mix – hands tend to work best.
- Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly; you want it nice and tightly formed together.
- Using a cutting board, slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for 8-11 minutes, until the crust starts to turn golden brown. Remove from oven.
- Add your sauce, cheese, and veggies of your choice. Slide parchment paper with topped pizza back in the hot oven and bake for another 5-7 minutes until the cheese is melted and slightly golden.
- Allow to cool. Use a pizza cutter and spatula to serve up your delicious grain-free cauliflower crust pizza.
It’s easy to think of healthier versions for your main meals, but what about that candy craving you just can’t kick? Frozen fruit in cucumber water is the perfect substitute! Just get an ice cube tray, cube some watermelon, let freeze, then dip in cucumber water or use them as ice cubes and enjoy. Once these treats are ready, you will be devouring them like a bag of skittles. It’s fun to try different variations to find just what you like. Plus, on a hot day these snacks are SO refreshing!
Desserts are hard to stay away from when you’re trying to eat healthier. While it won’t hurt to have a treat once in a while, substituting in healthier ingredients in your recipes can help keep you on track. Like what, you ask? When you are craving brownies as your once-in-a-while treat, swap out the flour for a can of black beans (drained and rinsed, of course). This is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein. When baking, swap out 1-cup flour for 1-cup black bean puree (about a 15 oz can).
If you’re craving cookies, substituting applesauce in place of sugar can give the necessary sweetness without the extra calories and, well, sugar. While one cup of unsweetened applesauce contains only about 100 calories, a cup of sugar can pack in more than 770 calories! YIKES! Pro tip: you can sub sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.
By using these simple substitutions you can still enjoy your favorite family recipes with less guilt. What are some substitutions you’ve used to stay healthy and on track? Let me know in the comments below!