Healthy ingredient swaps and tips (everyday gluten-free edition)
Healthy is a subjective term. What makes a food healthy? Well, it all depends on your dietary needs and goals!
Some people might need a diet lower in sodium, sugar, or even fat.
Whatever it might be, I have some healthy ingredient swaps and tips for you!
Healthy ingredient swaps and tips
Low-Fat / Healthy Fat Options
Have you been told to cut back on how much fatty foods you’re eating? Trying to be mindful of how much you’re using? Try out these tips!
First of all, when in doubt, choose unsaturated fats (they tend to be the healthier fats).
Fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and other fats that are liquid at room temperature are unsaturated fats.
BUTTER ⇒ OIL
Substituting oil for butter will reduce the of saturated fats in your food and increase the amount of unsaturated fats.
1 cup butter ⇒ 1/2 cup oil + 1/2 applesauce.
This will reduce the amount of total fat and add healthy fats to your food.
BUTTER ⇒ AVOCADO
In situations where you’d use butter like a condiment (like buttering toast) try using mashed avocado.
ICECREAM ⇒ BANANA ICECREAM
Also known as nice cream, banana ice cream is a great low-fat and nourishing alternative to regular or even low-fat ice cream. Not only will it allow you to reduce or eliminate the amount of added sugar in your food, but it will reduce the amount of fat in it too!
CHEESE ⇒ NUTRITIONAL YEAST
For those times where you’d top of flavor things with cheese, try using nutritional yeast instead. It’s a plant-based cheesy and low-fat alternative to cheese.
Trying to watch how much sodium you’re eating?
Maybe it’s because a Dietitian/Doctor recommended it, or maybe you’re just trying to cut back to limit bloating.
Whatever it is, remember that reducing the amount of salt in your diet doesn’t have to equate to a bland diet.
PROCESSED MEAT ⇒ FRESH MEAT
Swap out your lunch meats, sausages, and hotdogs for fresh meat alternatives like chicken breasts, ground beef, etc.
Try making your own sausage patties and reduce the amount of salt you add and increase the spices you use.
CANNED GOODS ⇒ FRESH PRODUCE
You have a few options when it comes to canned fruits and vegetables. You can use the fresh/frozen versions, buy the no salted added canned goods, and worst case scenario, you can rinse the canned goods well with water to reduce the amount of salt present!
SALT ⇒ MORE SPICES
Instead of reaching for the salt to flavor your food, reach for your favorite spices to enhance the flavor and give yourself a health boost!
SALT ⇒ SALT ALTERNATIVES
Use lemon juice, orange juice, or vinegar instead of salt when seasoning things such as cold salads, dips, dressings, etc. Combine this tip with the more spices tip and you’ll be set for a tasty low-salt dish!
Reduced Added Sugar
Added sugar is under a lot of heat right now.
What is it?
Added sugar is any sugar that isn’t naturally found in a food.
For example, the sugars naturally found in apples are not considered to be added sugars, however, cane sugar added to applesauce would be considered added sugar.
Especially with the new labeling laws coming out that will required nutrition labels to quantify how much-added sugar is in foods.
The average recommendation for daily added sugar intake is 25g (if you’re a woman) to 37g (if you’re a man) a day. To put that in perspective, that’s about 100 calories (or 6 tsp) to 150 (or 9 tsp) a day. Which is pretty much only 2-3tbsp.
Basically, it’s not a lot. This means finding ways to reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet is important (especially since most of us aren’t even close to limiting our added sugars to these amounts).
In any recipe, get comfortable with reducing the sugar in the recipe by a fourth or even a half.
SUGAR ⇒ FRUIT
Substitute 1/2 cup sugar for 1/2 cup applesauce (you can also do this with overripe mashed bananas)
Sweeten things naturally with dates. Throw a handful into smoothies and other blended foods/drinks.
SUGAR ⇒ SWEET SPICES
Use sweet spices like cinnamon, cocoa, star anise, nutmeg, and mint in dishes to help add sweetness and limit the sugar needed.
For example, brew coffee with a little bit of cinnamon and see how much sugar is actually needed after.
SUGAR ⇒ SUGAR SUBSTITUTES
Sub stevia, splenda, etc. to limit added sugars.
CACAO NIBS ⇒ CHOCOLATE CHIPS
A healthier and no sugar added alternative to chocolate chips, cacao nibs are a great option. They are packed full of nutrients without all of the added sugar.