Healthy Alternative Ingredients:

Use This, NOT That!

Prepare healthier, lighter versions of your favorite recipes. You do not have to forego the traditional meals we all love and look forward to this time of year. But, you can use healthy alternative ingredients! This is a simple way to increase the nutritional value of your favorite foods without sacrificing taste! Try replacing some of the ingredients with these alternatives:

Ingredients- Use organic ingredients whenever possible!

Milk- Try non-dairy alternatives like almond, soy, rice, hemp, or coconut milk. I love coconut milk because it is really creamy and works well in many recipes that call for milk or cream! Coconut milk tends to be higher in fat, so look for low-calorie, unsweetened options.

Butter- Earth Balance is my ABSOLUTE favorite butter alternative. It melts and tastes just like butter. But, it does not have Trans-fat and is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids! You can find this most grocery stores now.

Oil-I cannot say enough about coconut oil! It really is a miracle food. I use it for absolutely everything, from sautéing to baking. It can be substituted for oil, butter or shortening in most recipes! Oh, and if you have some leftover, you can even use it as a moisturizer! It’s amazing!

Cheese- When trying to cut back or eliminate consumption of cheese, using feta or goat cheese is a good way to begin. They are healthier options. If you would like alternatives to cheese, I recommend using Nutritional Yeast. No, it is not the yeast used to make beer or bread!. It has a nutty flavor and looks and smells similar to parmesan cheese. It is high in protein and contains all of the essential amino acids our body needs. I add it to everything, including soups, pasta, dressings, and pesto to name a few! It makes sauces "creamy" and "cheesy"!

Flour- One basic rule of thumb is to stay away from anything WHITE! There are many healthy flours. Look for those made from whole grain. There are many to choose from, including spelt, kamut, buckwheat, and brown rice. Garbanzo bean and coconut flours are great for those on a gluten-free diet! If you can’t find any of these, at least try to use whole wheat if you don’t have a sensitivity.

Sugar/Sweetener- Again, stay away from the WHITE stuff…please!!! Most people know how horrible sugar is for you, but artificial sweeteners aren’t any better. They are full of chemicals! Some healthy sugar substitutes include: stevia (the best because it does not raise blood sugar levels), agave nectar, honey, brown rice syrup, pure maple syrup, and coconut nectar. You could also use dried fruit, like dates in many recipes. I love adding date dip to apple crisp and oatmeal!

A Few Other Substitutes:

  • Arrowroot- use this in place of flour or corn starch to thicken sauces, soups, casseroles, and gravy, etc. It is gluten-free.
  • Broth- Look for organic vegetable broth that is low-sodium or salt-free.
  • Cashews or Silken Tofu- these are both great choices for dips or casseroles. You can puree cashews with water, which makes a great replacement for cream or sour cream in most recipes. They can also substitute mayonnaise in creamy salad dressings. Silken tofu is also very creamy and delicious in dips or dressings!
  • Eggs-In most baked goods, you can use a half of a banana to replace one egg. I like to mix 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal with 4 tablespoons of water. This adds many nutritional benefits, including Omega-3's! There are also several egg-replacers you can buy. This will reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol that come with eggs!

  • Think about all of the recipes that call for the ingredients listed above. Just by making a few substitutions, you can increase the nutritional value and make meals that are much healthier for you and your family! You can still make your favorite traditional meals. Just use a few simple, healthy alternative ingredients!

    Click Here for Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes!

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