The great thing about cooking at home is that you can use whatever ingredients you want. This includes swapping healthy ingredients for their unhealthy counterparts. You may be thinking, “Will I have to sacrifice flavor by changing out a couple ingredients?” The beautiful thing is that these ingredient swaps are perfectly satisfying and flavorful. The answer is, “No, you won’t have to sacrifice flavors,” in case you needed a concrete answer.
Decrease your caloric intake and boost the nutritional content of your recipes by using ingredient swaps. The great thing about substituting ingredients is that you learn how to make small changes that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Use the following ingredient swaps for healthier recipes.
Spaghetti Squash Instead of Pasta
While spaghettis squash doesn’t have the same texture or flavor as regular pasta, it is a great low-calorie alternative that is rich gluten-free, full of potassium, and packed with vitamin A. Two cups of cooked spaghetti squash contains 20 complex carbohydrates and 84 calories, whereas two cups of cooked pasta has 86 grams of unhealthy carbs and 442 calories. You can also use spiralized zucchini or butternut squash noodles in place of regular pasta.
Pure Maple Syrup Instead of Sugar
When it comes to swapping maple syrup for sugar, you have to make sure that you purchase 100% pure grade A maple syrup. This is the only type that has health benefits. White sugar is often refined and heavily processed, whereas maple syrup has a natural caramel-like sweetness and it is rich in potassium, calcium, riboflavin, zinc, and magnesium. It actually has a higher concentration of antioxidants than honey and contains complex compounds that work to keep us healthy.
Kale, Spinach, or Arugula Instead of Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce is typically the cheapest lettuce in the grocery store, and it’s the lettuce with the lowest nutrient content. Dark leafy greens like kale, romaine, spinach, or arugula are the greens you should be purchasing. One cup of kale contains 100mg of calcium and 2.4 grams of fiber. Compare that to the one gram of fiber and 13mg of calcium in a cup of iceberg lettuce and you can see why kale is the better option. Additionally, dark leafy greens contain tons of antioxidants, vitamin K, and magnesium, so ditch the iceberg and head for the darker greens.
Cacao Nibs Instead of Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chips and cacao nibs originate from the same plant, but chocolate chips undergo a lot of processing, which kills the nutritional content. The processing alters the molecular composition of the beans, which changes the chemical structure, and then sugars and preservatives are added to the chocolate chips. Cacao nibs, while they may have a slightly bitter taste, contain potent antioxidants, a lot of magnesium, and they work to boost mood and reduce the risk of coronary disease. Not to mention, raw cacao nibs are Full Body Cleanse approved!
Avocados Instead of Mayonnaise
A diet rich in monounsaturated fats (the ones in avocados) has been linked to improved heart health, lower cholesterol, and a decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. Mayonnaise is an artery-clogging food that contains about 20 grams of fat and 188 calories in just two tablespoons. Substitute mayonnaise for avocado to watch your waistline and increase your healthy fat intake. Aside from the color, the two are almost identical!