Healthy Alternatives for Your Meals

Planning meals can be tough, especially when you are trying to stay healthy and in shape. Luckily, there is more to eating healthy than salads and protein shakes. Here are some healthy alternatives for your meals to replace your unhealthy ingredients with healthy ones.

Main Dishes

Toast with hummus and avocado on a plate

Avocado for Mayonnaise – When it comes to calories, mayonnaise has about six times the amount that avocados do. Mayonnaise is made using oil, egg yolk, and usually vinegar. While these ingredients aren’t necessarily unhealthy, they are high in fat. Substituting mayonnaise with avocado will provide more health benefits. To learn more, read our article, “Surprising Health Benefits of Avocados”.

Cauliflower for rice – Cauliflower has been a popular vegetable lately. One of the most common dishes it substitutes is rice. You can either buy the cauliflower minced and ready to cook or you can make it yourself with a food processor. Fresh cauliflower will be the most cost-effective.

Hummus for mayonnaise – Like avocado, hummus can also be used to substitute mayonnaise. Hummus is made from pureed chickpeas. These are a legume full of protein and fiber. Hummus has also been linked to healthy weight loss.

Corn tortilla for flour tortilla – Both are popular and tasty options for tacos and other meals. However, corn tortillas are a healthier option.

Pasta for spaghetti squash – Pasta is a favorite among many around the world. It is used for so many dishes. Some include spaghetti, alfredo, mac n’ cheese, pasta salad, and more. One of the main reasons to substitute pasta with spaghetti squash is for fewer calories. Pasta has about five times the number of calories that spaghetti squash has.

Baking

a woman holding a head of cauliflower in her hand

Coconut Oil for butter – One of the best healthy alternatives for your meals is oil instead of butter. Butter is very tasty, but also unhealthy. It is high in fat and should only be eaten in moderation. When it comes to cooking, a healthy alternative is an oil. Coconut oil, specifically, has a sweeter taste like butter.

Almond flour for wheat flour – With the number of gluten intolerances rising, almond flour has become a popular substitute.

Cauliflower crust for pizza – Another popular dish to substitute with cauliflower is pizza. Pizza crusts are full of calories. To cut down on those calories, you can make a crust out of cauliflower.

Sides

dark chocolate chopped up in a bowl

Milk chocolate for dark chocolate – Not everyone likes dark chocolate, but it is a lot healthier than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in nutrients like iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and flavanols. However, dark chocolate is also high in saturated fat, so it is important to only eat 1-2 squares a day. Many places also process it, so stick to dark chocolate found in the baking aisles to avoid chocolate that has lost any nutrients.

Caffeine for vitamin B – About 85 percent of the population in the United States drinks caffeine every day. While it does have health benefits, it should be taken in moderation. Too much caffeine can cause feelings of anxiety, high blood pressure, and even sleeplessness. For a natural boost of energy, try substituting caffeine with a vitamin B supplement.

Sources

https://www.health.com/nutrition/is-hummus-healthy

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/dark-chocolate/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-buzz-about-caffeine-and-health