5 easy, healthy food swaps that actually taste good
By: Heide Palermo
Eating healthy shouldn’t feel like a chore. I’ve found that the most effective way to make healthier choices without skipping a beat is to swap the bad for the better. Make the swaps below the next time you go grocery shopping and keep these staples in your fridge, freezer and pantry at all times. It’s an easy way to incorporate healthier choices without feeling limited.
- Fat-free Greek Yogurt instead of store-bought dressing – While oil and vinegar are the best spritzes for your salad – sometimes you just have a hankering for something creamier. Instead of loading up on fat and calories found in most store-bought dressings, keep a tub of fat-free Greek yogurt in the fridge and whip up your own dressing using it as the base. One of my faves is Greek yogurt Caesar dressing which has only 35 calories per serving compared to about 200 calories in the real deal.
- Frozen grapes instead of popsicles or candy – Frozen grapes (I prefer green – they taste slightly sweeter) are great for your sweet fix and kids love them. Perfect swap for sugar-loaded popsicles or candy. And for those nights when you lose the no-candy-before-bed battle with your kids, pop a few frozen grapes into your wine glass to keep it chilled.
- Lettuce instead of tortillas– Two words for you: lettuce wraps. This dish has become a weekly staple in my house for a few reasons: 1) it’s super easy to make, 2) you can do different toppings, meats and sauces each time to make it a brand new dish, and 3) it’s an easy way to cut carbs. We try to buy Boston or Bibb lettuce which holds the goods pretty well but romaine will work too. My go-to recipe is Thai chicken lettuce wraps.
- Greek yogurt “melts” instead of ice cream –OK, I know I’m cheating with Greek-yo on here twice, but we covered the savory swap… now on to the sweet. I first made yogurt and banana frozen melts for my son Mack when he was teething and he absolutely loved them. I would nibble on them here and there (you know, for poison control) and I became obsessed. They are super easy to make too – just blend (lightly) 2 ripe bananas with 1 cup of the yogurt. Then mix in (with a spoon) 1 more cup of yogurt and then spoon into a Ziploc bag. Now comes the fun part… cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag and pipe out into dots onto parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet. Pop into the freezer and voila. Perfect little snack for those ice cream cravings.
- Oatmeal instead of flour –so my mom was searching high and low for a healthier pancake recipe and found this one by Tia Mowry (yes, from the show Sister, Sister!) who has a cooking show now. Now, I make these pancakes but forgo the honey, butter and even syrup because they are so moist and tasty, you really don’t need it. To make the batter, you basically have to grind up whole rolled oats which serve as your “flour”. This is a great substitute for other recipes too, including muffins.
What are some of your favorite food swaps?