Eating Healthy Is a Cinch with These Substitutes
Posted byAndrea King Collier
Who says preparing and serving healthy dinners can’t be fun? With some planning and substitutions, you can transform family favorites into healthier versions. Here are some great tips to help make cooking and eating healthy meals an easy part of your quest to improve your overall wellness.
According to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, meat provides proteins and nutrients, but Americans consume 1.5 times more than they need. There may be a link between high consumption of meat and heart disease and stroke, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.1 Go completely meatless and give tofu a whirl. Tofu is packed with complete proteins, magnesium, iron, potassium and B vitamins. This funny little plant-based food is also low in saturated fat and contains zero cholesterol, says Women’s Health.2
Tofu has a bad rap for being a tad bland, but its spongy nature is great at soaking up whatever flavors you throw its way.
If your cookie recipe asks for butter, replace the bad fat with good fat. The answer: pureed avocados. One cup of avocado equals one cup of butter, says The Kitchn.3 If you aren’t ready to go cold turkey and give up the butter all together, go half and half. The American Heart Association notes avocados, as part of a healthy eating diet, may lower bad cholesterol levels in overweight or obese people.4
Cauliflower, Turnips and Sweet Potatoes
Of course, you could chop and sauté or steam your vegetables as a side dish, but you can also substitute them as the main ingredient in your favorite dishes like mashed potatoes. White potatoes are a favorite at mealtime but take the mash to a whole new level of eating healthy by substituting cauliflower, turnips or sweet potatoes. Chop fresh herbs and sprinkle seasonings to give lots of pizzazz without the added salt.
Are you crazy for carbs? A healthy eating plan may not include white flour pasta. Spaghetti squash, as its name implies, is a great substitute for your favorite noodles. The vegetable is low in calories and high in fiber and contains vitamins A, B, C, E and K, according to SF Gate.5
Wine enthusiasts rejoice! Red wine may offer heart healthy protection and cholesterol-lowering properties. Resveratrol might be a key ingredient in red wine that helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) and prevents blood clots, says the Mayo Clinic.6 However, the Mayo Clinic notes that some studies provided inconclusive results about the benefits of red wine. (Remember, always drink in moderation.)
According to the New York Times, there are many healthy ways to cook your meals that retain the health benefits of the ingredients.7 There is no one preparation that is best for all foods. Steam your vegetables and fish as an alternative to frying. Add raw vegetables to salads. Because one cooking method may preserve some nutrients while breaking down others, think about using a variety of cooking methods when you plan your meals. Boiling is a great tool, but so is doing a quick stir fry. Have fun experimenting!
1“Health & Environment Implications of U.S. Meat Consumption and Production.” Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. http://www.jhsph.edu/research/centers-and-institutes/johns-hopkins-center-for-a-livable-future/projects/meatless_monday/resources/meat_consumption.html.
2De Bellefonds, Colleen. “7 Genius Ways to Make Tofu Actually Taste Good.” Women’s Health Magazine. July 28, 2016. http://www.womenshealthmag.com/food/way-to-make-tofu-taste-good.
3Smith, Sarah Rae. “Baking Tip: Did You Know That You Can Substitute Avocado For Butter?” The Kitchn. July 20, 2012. http://www.thekitchn.com/substitute-this-avocado-for-butter-when-baking-174382.
4“An avocado a day may help keep bad cholesterol at bay.” American Heart Association. January 7, 2015. http://news.heart.org/avocado-day-may-help-keep-bad-cholesterol-bay/.
5Tremblay, Sylvie. “Spaghetti Squash Calories Nutrients.” SF Gate. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/spaghetti-squash-calories-nutrients-1883.html.
6“Red wine and resveratrol: Good for your heart?” Mayo Clinic. November 12, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/in-depth/red-wine/art-20048281.
7Parker-Pope, Tara. “Ask Well: Does Boiling or Baking Vegetables Destroy Their Vitamins?” The New York Times. October 18, 2013. https://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/18/ask-well-does-boiling-or-baking-vegetables-destroy-their-vitamins/?_r=0.
- Posted by Andrea King Collier
- On April 10, 2017