Whether you’re hoping to shed a few pounds or you’re just trying to find ways to live a healthier lifestyle, it’s important to master the art of lightening up your meals. However, food should still be enjoyable, as it’s easier to stick to healthy habits when you look forward to mealtime instead of dreading it. Here are a few simple ways to make your recipes healthier without sacrificing flavor.
Use Alternatives to Full-Fat Dairy
Dairy is found in all kinds of food, from soups to desserts. If you can’t bear the thought of an entire workday without a latte in the morning, consider substituting the milk for soy or almond milk. Most coffee shops now offer some sort of alternative to milk, and Starbucks offers three alternatives: soy, almond, and coconut milk. For recipes that require milk or heavy cream, switch to low fat milk or use your favorite milk alternative. You’ll be surprised by how many calories you can save simply by switching to two percent milk or avoiding dairy entirely and replacing with low fat almond milk.
Skip the White Flour
Many people choose to cut out bread products entirely when they’re trying to lose weight. If you enjoy a sandwich for lunch every day, it doesn’t make sense to give up bread entirely. Luckily, bread doesn’t have to be off limits. When making desserts or pastries, white flour is the go to ingredient in most households. However, white flour is low in fiber and it can easily be substituted with oat bran. When you switch from traditional white flour to oat bran, you’ll give your bread a boost of protein and fiber to help you feel full throughout the day.
Use Hampton Creek Mayo
Mayonnaise is found in a variety of foods, from sandwiches to pasta salad. Mayo is known and loved for its rich, creamy flavor. However, it’s also well known that mayo is high in fat, calories, and cholesterol. If you don’t want to give up mayonnaise, HamptonCreek offers three delicious flavors of eggless mayo so you can still enjoy this condiment without the extra calories. If you’re not sure what recipes to add eggless mayo to, visit the Hampton Creek website or Facebook page to find interesting new recipes. In addition to cutting out the fat and calories from traditional mayo, you’ll also promote a cruelty-free lifestyle for yourself, as the egg industry has long been under scrutiny for mistreating hens.
Try Alternatives to White Pasta
You’ve probably heard that bleached white foods should be avoided. This is due to low nutritional content and a high glycemic index. White pasta is one of the worst offenders, as this simple carb causes a blood sugar spike and it’s packed with empty calories. Since pasta is usually paired with creamy, buttery sauces and cheese, most pasta meals pack quite the caloric punch. To lighten up pasta dishes, try using whole wheat pasta, or skip the pasta entirely. Spaghetti squash has the texture of pasta with just a fraction of the calories, and its light taste pairs well with marinara sauce so it seems like you’re getting the real deal. In addition to spaghetti squash, zucchini spirals have gained popularity and it’s a great way to replace white pasta.
Switch to Healthier Meats
If you find yourself putting red meat on the table multiple times per week, it’s time to switch to something lighter. If you have a weekly taco night, try using ground turkey instead of ground beef. Turkey is lower in calories and you can still use taco seasoning to make it taste just as good. Lean meats like poultry and fish are better options than red meat, especially when they’re prepared in healthy ways like grilled or baked.
Add in Vegetables
Most Americans aren’t getting enough servings of vegetables in their diet. If you struggle with eating veggies, it’s easy to add them in to recipes that you already love. For example, add a handful of greens to your sandwich, or stir in some broccoli when you make macaroni and cheese. If you make mashed potatoes as a side to dinner a few times a week, try using half cauliflower, half potatoes to make the side dish lighter and more nutritious. For breakfast, make a green smoothie with plenty of spinach or kale.