Making your meals healthier is easier than you think. The best thing about home cooking is that you can control exactly what goes into your food. Substituting just a few regular ingredients with healthier ones can make a big difference to your diet. Eating healthier can be the difference between losing a few extra kilos and reducing your risk of diet-related conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Don’t worry about sacrificing flavour or satisfaction – these seven ingredient swaps will actually make your food taste better!
Spaghetti squash in place of pasta
Tired of carb-heavy pasta in your meals? Shredded vegetables are a wonderful way to cut down your carb intake by around 25 per cent. Spaghetti squash can be made from just about any vegetable, from zucchini to bean sprouts. Pair spaghetti squash with any of your favourite pasta sauces.
Citrus instead of salt
Is it time you cut down on your sodium intake? Too much sodium can cause your blood pressure to sky-rocket and is a contributing factor for other major diseases. Next time you’re cooking, try using lemon or orange to flavour chicken, fish and veggie dishes instead.
Mashed bananas for oil or butter
Ripe and overripe bananas are a perfect butter and oil substitute in most baked goods. While one cup of butter can contain more than 1600 calories, a cup of mashed banana has just 200 calories.
Avocados instead of mayonnaise
Lovers of calorie-heavy mayo will find the creamy texture from the natural fats in avocados make them a much healthier substitute. While two tablespoons of mayo contain a whopping 188 calories, half a medium avocado has just 50 calories. Avocado pairs oh-so-perfectly with chicken, in salads and in sandwiches.
Dark, leafy greens in place of iceberg lettuce
The darker in colour a vegetable is the more nutrients it contains. Iceberg lettuce is low in calories but it’s also low in nutritional value. Next time you make a salad, try using kale, baby spinach or rocket instead. Dark, leafy greens will give you a good dose of bone-strengthening calcium, as well as immunity-building antioxidants.
Evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream
Surely there’s nothing as comforting as a dollop of heavy cream in your pumpkin soup! Well, there’s nothing as fattening either. Cream is every healthy eater’s worst nightmare. Luckily, there’s evaporated skim milk to the rescue. Thick and creamy, evaporated milk has up to 50 per cent of the water removed, so it’s a rich and satisfying cream substitute, with half the fat.
Vanilla essence in place of sugar
With so much sugar sneaking into our diets every day through processed foods, we all need to do more to reduce our daily sugar intake. When baking, try cutting the amount of sugar required in half by substituting it with vanilla essence. It makes a great flavour-booster to your baked goods as well!
Do you have any secret healthy food swaps to share?