Once upon a time, someone discovered that cauliflower could become rice and the rest was history.
But really. healthy food swaps have become a THING and for good reason: they help make old school recipes packed with fat, carbs and calories into less dense versions of themselves.
The issue? Some of these healthy swaps that people swear by just taste plain...wrong. Why not make a healthy swap that not only is less calories, but also tastes good, has the same mouth feel and truly feels like the real thing!
Some of Our Favorite Swaps/Tricks:
Oh, pasta. Everyones first go-to of things to eliminate when they're trying to eat better. Regular wheat pasta can be pretty dense and the serving pretty small so, this isn't a bad thing to watch but, the simplicity, time, and deliciousness doesn't need to be missed.
Vegetable Alternatives: Zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash.
Both of these vegetable options give you a lot of volume for a small amount of calories but they don't replace the mouth feel of pasta, and aren't as filling either. They are a good option for a low calorie meal that includes more veggies.
Better Option: Banza (or another chickpea pasta), Red/White Lentil Pastas
Banza is the best. Banza is made out of chickpeas, has a high protein and fiber content and legitimately tastes like regular pasta. It is very filling with the amount of protein and fiber, and also has some carbs. Since the popularity of Banza, a lot of other companies have joined in on creating chickpea alternatives that are also very good! Red and white lentil pastas have also taken their place on the shelf. These are very similar to chickpea but can have a little more of a bite to them!
It seems like whenever someone is trying to lose weight, they swap all their carbs for brown rice. That's fine is that floats your boat, and your goals, but just like pasta, rice can be calorie dense and is often lacking in the portion department.
Other Options: Cauliflower rice, chickpea rice (Banza, again), riced broccoli, polenta
Cauliflower rice actually does mimic rice-who woulda thunk? If cooked properly (generally with spices..or not left just plain as a side), cauliflower rice is a pretty good low calorie substitute. Banza makes a new chickpea rice which is so.good and cooks just like regular rice. While this is a little more expensive, it's really good and worth it! Polenta? Why Polenta? If you're eating rice as a side dish, polenta can be a higher volume, lower calorie replacement. Polenta, similarly to oats and grits, expands a ton when cooked and you have the ability to make it as runny or as thick as you want. Since It's slightly chewy, but soft, it feels similar to rice.
The beloved pizza. The greasy, delicious, cheesy ball of dough that tastes good no matter the time of the day. Pizza= not generally conducive to most goals, unless you can truly eat one slice and move on.
Better for You: Make your own cauliflower pizza, chicken crust pizza
These things actually do taste good. Making cauliflower pizza can be a process but in the end, it's definitely worth it. The only issue is that it doesn't really ever have that crunchy, crispy crust that regular 'za has. Same thing goes with chicken/turkey crust pizza. Tastes good, has some extra protein, but doesn't really have that crispy crunchy crust that pizza has.
Almost Like the Real Thing: Frozen Cauliflower Pizza
Not necessarily healthier than making your own, but definitely a little better tasting!
Frozen pizzas crisp up a little better than the homemade version. Try Caulipower (most grocery stores) or Miltons (Costco!)
Fried foods are delicious--there is no denying that. But, we know they aren't good for us. Also no denying that. Luckily, there are lots of options for getting a fried food feel without the fat!
Better For You: Make Your Own Fries, Chips, etc. ,Oven Roast til Crisp (and maybe broil!)
Chop potatoes/sweet potatoes into fry shapes, toss with 1-2 tsp. oil and bake on a sheet pan, leaving some room in between the fries. Flip after about 15 minutes. You can also do this with things like tortillas to make chips (less cooking time), other veggies to make them crisp like chips.
Almost Like the Real Thing: Air Fry
The air fryer makes almost all of your fried food dreams possible. Fries, wings, chicken, even cook a burger! You can do a lot with an air frier and it definitely helps amp up the crisp factor in comparison to an oven. Just be careful not to overdo it on the breading and oil! These things can add up and take away some of the health factor of air frying.
What's your favorite healthy swap? Let us know in a comment!