**********Good morning guys!! This is a scheduled post- I am in VEGAS for Steven's wheelchair rugby tournament :) Wish us luck! I'll be back for a live post on Monday*************
Today I want to talk a little bit about healthy substitutions in your recipes. When I first started changing my diet, I changed little things, and guess what? The little things are HUGE. Making these small swaps when you're baking, cooking, and prepping meals will make a big difference and will kick start you into a healthier lifestyle. These swaps are perfect for those of you just starting on your health journey, or even those of you who just want a few new tips (or to be reminded of ones you already know but forgot!)
1) Whole wheat flour or oat flour for white flour
I LOVE baking. It's one of my favorites to do but white flour and sugar rack up all kinds of sugar carbs and chemicals that your body won't love. Try using whole wheat flour or even better, oat flour, in your baking projects. I love Bobs Red Mill oat flour!
2) Pureed avocado for butter
Sounds weird, but avocado is a GREAT replacement for butter in your cooking. Avocado and butter are both fats, but very DIFFERENT fats! Avocado is a fat that is healthy for your body, and has the same consistency as butter when pureed. As a general rule I would use the same amount of avocado that is called for in butter; ie. if the recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, use 1/2 cup avocado. Kelly at Eat Yourself Skinny has a fantastic chocolate zuchinni cupcake recipe in which she uses avocado for the butter in the icing! So yummy.
**Kelly's cupcakes! Would you ever guess avocado was the secret ingredient in that icing?? Delicious!
3) Stevia for sugar
Stevia is a natural sweetener that replaces sugar in recipes. I use Stevia daily- always in my oatmeal in the mornings, and usually later in the day in my vanilla chai lattes and especially brownie pancakes! You can use 1/3 the amount of Stevia as sugar is called for; ie. 1 cup sugar would be 1/3 cup Stevia.
4) Chia seeds for eggs/egg whites
Chia seeds are a natural wonder, for sure. I did a post here where you can read about all the incredible benefits of this little seed and why you should be incorporating them into your diet. When cooking, I like to replace 1 egg white/egg with a mixture of 1 tbsp chia seeds that have sat in 3 tbsp of water for about 5 minutes. These little miracle seeds soak up water up to 10x their weight and form a thick, egg-like consistency. They are perfect for baking, especially when you're making protein bars for on the go!!
5) Quinoa for rice or couscous
Quinoa is a whole grain that is packed with all kinds of nutrients to do you good! It is a better alternative to rice or couscous and has the same texture and feel as rice/couscous.
6) Spaghetti squash for spaghetti (or other pasta)
As you all know, if you read this post, I am obsessed with spaghetti squash! It doesn't have the same texture as pasta, but it is a great alternative if you won't miss that, which I don't :) The thin strands are reminiscent of spaghetti and pair well with a great meat sauce and veggies, just like regular spaghetti.
7) Ground turkey (or chicken) for ground beef
Same texture, same taste, way less fat and calories. Win!
8) Unsweetened almond milk for regular milk
This one is HUGE. Seriously. When I cut out regular milk I immediately started feeling better. My stomach was less upset (I'm not lactose-intolerant) just because I wasn't consuming that dairy, and I un-bloated immediately. Since buying almond milk a year ago I haven't turned back! Almond milk has a lighter taste but is the same consistency as regular milk. However, it's soy-free, dairy-free, about 1/3 of the calories and fat and if you get unsweetened, 0 sugar. It's such a good alternative to regular milk. Just be careful; varieties that AREN'T unsweetened can pack up to 18 grams of sugar in just one cup. Make sure you read your labels!
9) Greek yogurt for sour cream (or as a baking substitute. Or a mayo substitute. Basically just use Greek yogurt for anything!)
Same taste, I swear! Plain Greek yogurt is packed with protein and all kinds of good nutrients for you. Some of my favorite ways to use Greek yogurt is as a sour cream replacement in this awesome Mexican sweet potato salad, or as a baking replacement in pancakes, cookies, protein bars, and virtually any baking item. I also use it as a mayo replacement in chicken salad and tuna salad. Greek yogurt needs to be your new best friend! If you need a little extra protein throughout the day, add a little Stevia and a handful of blueberries (or a tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder!) for a delicious snack.
10) Whole wheat bread (or Ezekiel bread) for white bread
This is another one that is going to have a huge impact on your weight, energy, and overall health. White bread is loaded with carbs, is super processed and just clogs you up. Ditch the white bread! Whole wheat is where it's at :)
To me, these are the top 10 starters for kicking off a healthy lifestyle. Making these swaps will make your recipes much healthier and taste fantastic, so it's basically a win-win.
What are some of your favorite healthy recipe swaps?