When it comes to comfort food, there is really nothing quite like your mom’s spaghetti and meatballs or a batch of freshly baked sugar cookies. The only thing about these delicious guilty pleasures is that they aren’t exactly the healthiest choices. Don’t get me wrong—I fully endorse indulging in your favorite foods when you get an undeniable craving. But nowadays, with so many healthy recipes surfacing, there’s no reason not to have your cake and eat it too. Literally.
Today I’m going to share 10 healthy recipe swaps you can use to make your favorite foods much healthier. Whether your weakness is pasta or pancakes, here are my favorite Bikini Boot Camp-approved ingredient swaps…
- Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream when you’re whipping up a spinach dip or French onion dip as an appetizer. This swap will make any chip dip healthier, and plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is a much better source of protein. If you’re feeling really ambitious, swap the chips for fresh veggies too!
- Use olive oil instead of butter when you’re cooking anything on the stovetop, like sautéed veggies or scrambled eggs. Unlike butter, olive oil doesn’t have cholesterol. In fact, it is known to help lower bad cholesterol while increasing levels of good cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic. Just be sure to use extra virgin olive oil and keep it at a minimum since too much oil makes for a high-fat diet.
- Use a banana instead of an egg when you’re making a Sunday morning pancakes or a birthday cake. The banana will give provide sweetness and moisture, and it’s a great way to make your dish vegan-friendly. You can also use applesauce instead of a banana as another vegan-friendly replacement.
- Use 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and 3 tablespoons of water instead of an egg to add moisture to muffins or baked goods. Similar to using a banana or applesauce, chia seeds are a low-fat, high fiber alternative that will make your recipe vegan friendly.
- Use spaghetti squash instead of pasta when you’re craving carbs. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable, so one serving can provide your body with the recommended daily intake of potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C (Healthy Eating). Whole-wheat pasta is a great way to satisfy your comfort food craving if you need it, but if you’re wanting to ditch the carbs (and a few pounds) go for the squash. Click here for a delicious spaghetti squash recipe from one of our very own LaurenConrad.com members.
- Use date sugar instead of Splenda and other artificial sweeteners to make your recipes 100% more natural. Most artificial sweeteners get their sweet taste from the chemical aspartame, which has been linked to scary side effects like heart palpitations, seizures, birth defects and cancer, according to Livestrong. On the other hand, date sugar is simply ground up dates, and it is not processed or refined. Use it the next time you go to sweeten your coffee and you will get a good dose of vitamins and minerals as well.
- Use almond milk instead of cow’s milk for your cereal, oatmeal and coffee. According to Fit Day, almond milk is one of the most nutritious milk substitutes out there, and it’s free of saturated fats. It’s also a great vegan source of protein, and has less calories per serving than cow’s milk.
- Use mashed cauliflower instead of pizza crust the next time you plan a romantic pizza-making date at home. This is one of my favorite ways to make homemade pizza when you’re spending the night dining at home with your special somebody because it’s healthier than pizza dough and low carb too. You can recreate my favorite recipe for “doughless pizza” by clicking here.
- Use 1 cup of soy milk + 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar instead of 1 cup of buttermilk if you’re trying to make vegan versions of recipes that call for buttermilk such as pancakes and biscuits.
- Use avocado instead of mayonnaise for a sandwich spread. Besides the fact that avocados are a nutrient-rich food that come packed with omega-3s and good fatty acids, I actually think they taste better than mayonnaise!
While these swaps are healthier options in my own opinion, I know everyone has their own specific dietary needs. If you know what works for your body and what feels healthiest to your body, stick to what you’re doing. But otherwise, give these ingredient swaps a try and let me know what you think!
Do you have any ingredient swaps that have made your recipes better?
Share them below—I’d love to see them.