Top 20 Healthy food substitutions

  1. Instead of a side dish made with simple carbohydrates (i.e. potatoes, mac and cheese, rolls), try serving a fruit salad, an extra vegetable dish, or a bean salad.
  2. Instead of sautéing your vegetables in butter or oil, you can sauté them in a ¼ cup of vegetable broth for a fraction of the calories.
  3. Instead of ground beef, try using 93% lean ground turkey. I don’t recommend using the REALLY lean turkey (i.e. 99% lean), because it is really dry and doesn’t taste all that great. I use 93% lean turkey in ALL my dishes that call for ground beef, and I’ve found that many of these dishes taste BETTER with ground turkey.
  4. Instead of bacon, try using Canadian bacon. There are some types that are made without preservatives and are very tasty. Weigh 2 Go members recommend Applegate Farms Canadian bacon.
  5. Instead of breadcrumbs in your meatloaf, use oatmeal. Canned dry breadcrumbs usually have hydrogenated oil and aren’t particularly healthy. Oatmeal on the other hand is a superfood, and you won’t even notice it in your finished meatloaf.
  6. Instead of sour cream, use nonfat plain Greek yogurt. In my opinion, they taste identical! My family uses nonfat plain greek yogurt instead of sour cream on our tacos, tostadas, and in all my recipes.
  7. When baking, use evaporated skim milk instead of evaporated milk. You’ll avoid lots of fat and calories, and your recipe will taste the same.
  8. Use applesauce in place of oil in your baked goods. I have done this with good success, and it really saves a lot of calories. Here is a super healthy recipe for applesauce oatmeal muffins.
  9. Use reduced-fat cream cheese and cottage cheese. I have to be honest that the fat-free versions really don’t do it for me, but the reduced fat products taste just fine.
  10. Instead of your fruit flavored yogurts, try using plain yogurt with fresh sliced fruit. A lot of the fruit flavored yogurts are FULL of sugar (although some aren’t too bad). If plain yogurt and fresh fruit isn’t sweet enough for you, try adding a little agave nectar, which is a low glycemic sweetener.
  11. Instead of white rice, use brown rice. Now, I have to admit that the brown rice I’ve tried from my grocery store has not been very tasty (gritty, dry). A friend turned me on to the SHORT grain brown rice sold in bulk at Whole Foods. It is really delicious and actually very affordable (unlike many other things at WF).
  12. Instead of seasoning salt (i.e. garlic salt or onion salt), use the herb-only seasoning such as garlic powder or onion powder.
  13. When baking, try reducing the amount of sugar you use in your recipe and increase the amount of vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.
  14. Instead of using white flour in your recipes, try using whole wheat flour for ½ of it, and regular white flour for the rest. I’ve also heard that “White Whole Wheat flour” is also a great substitute.
  15. When buying canned fruit, be sure to look for fruit in “it’s own juices” instead of heavy syrup. Or better yet, just buy fresh or frozen fruit.
  16. Instead of enriched (white) pasta, use whole wheat pasta. For me, whole wheat spaghetti and ziti pasta are just not my thing… too gritty. However, I DO like whole wheat angel hair pasta. So, my advice is to steer towards the thinner noodles vs. thicker ones when buying whole wheat pasta.
  17. Although my kids love iceberg lettuce, I’ve managed to switch the family over to healthier romaine lettuce. I buy the huge pack of romaine hearts at Costco (for a little over 3 bucks). They still have that crunch that my kids like, but provide more nutrition than iceberg lettuce.
  18. Instead of ranch dressing, try oil and/or vinegar based dressings. This is a hard switch for a lot of people, but you’ll avoid TONS of calories and fat in the process. I personally like Newman’s Light Raspberry and Walnut dressing.
  19. Instead of syrups made with high fructose corn syrup, use maple syrup or agave nectar. Better yet, use pureed fruit.
  20. Whenever you buy soups or sauces, be sure to look for “reduced sodium” or “healthy request” varieties.

Do you have any other healthy substitutions that you like to use? If so, please share with us!

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