5 Healthy Substitutes that are Easy and Delicious (Yahoo!)

There are so many ways to add healthy things into snacks and meals that you love, instead of making “healthy eating” mean just eating salad all the time (topic for another post – there are SO many options for making bangin’ salads you’ll love. UPDATE: I’ve made that post! Check it out here).

Here are 5 ideas that might pique your health-conscious interest:

Dark Chocolate Almond butter in place of Frosting

Dark chocolate and almonds put together are heaven on earth. If you find a healthy store-bought dark chocolate almond butter that you like, or are willing to try to make it at home, it makes an excellent topping for chocolate cakes, cupcakes, or brownies (definitely best on brownies).

When shopping at the store, look for butters that have the fewest ingredients, and avoid ingredients like palm oil, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, or high amounts of added sugars (most dark chocolate butters will have some form of added sweetener; just be cautious what kind and how much).

If you’re willing to try to make it at home, you can actually just add cocoa powder, honey, and coconut oil together and mix it into an already made almond butter (or use melted chocolate). I will be experimenting with this myself and you’ll likely see a future recipe post from me on it…

Yogurt-based dressings instead of Sour Cream

The world of dressings can be pretty scary. It feels like there’s always 8+ ingredients and you need a good way to combine them all, and then you need a great jar or Tupperware that doesn’t leak… and yet a good dressing can be the difference between a kinda boring meal and one that feels gourmet.

Sour cream, whether plain or infused with herbs and spices, is common to pair with Mexican-style seasonings and food (like chili, cumin, lime-cilantro, green onion… you know what I mean). Sour cream isn’t the devil, but it is high in fat and something like greek yogurt can give you a boost with added protein and probiotics. Infusing unsweetened yogurt with some of those same herbs and spices you’d add to sour cream can make for a restaurant-perfect topping that you can feel good about.

Avocado Egg Salad

Take your favourite egg salad recipe (already a fairly simple dish) and swap the mayo for avocado. It’s a deliciously creamy substitute that you can feel good about. Avocados are full of healthy fats, fibre and vitamins, and they taste delish. I highly recommend mixing in your favourite garnishes – paprika, dill, chives (my fav), salt and pepper, whatever, and enjoying it on a whole grain bread.

(check it out above!)

Use naturally sweet things in place of sugar

If you normally buy flavoured yogurt or flavoured nut milks (like almond milk), or add sugar to a morning latte or cappuccino, try replacing those added sugars with a dash of vanilla or some sweet spices like cinnamon and nutmeg next time. Avoiding a sugar spike in the morning (and subsequent crash) will help keep your energy levels more even, and let’s be honest, what feels fancier – your strawberry yogurt or a parfait sprinkled with cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and vanilla? Maybe throw some walnuts on top?

If you really need to add some sweet, high quality honey and maple syrup, while still sugars, are good substitutes for refined white sugar that are high in antioxidants, while applesauce can be used as a replacement for sugar in baking, pancakes, and waffles (although you’ll need to modify your recipe to use slightly less of the wet ingredients).

There are a whole whack of other kinds of sweet alternatives – get creative with the things you already enjoy!

Put Chia on and in Everything

Okay this is not a substitute, but I needed to include it. Chia seeds are fantastic for you and super easy to put on things. They have a pretty light nutty flavor, which pairs easily with many things (and I find you won’t really start to taste them until you use A LOT of them).

They come loaded with omega 3s (great for brain health), contain absurd amounts of fibre (hardly anyone these days gets enough fibre – yet it’s very important for digestive health!), and are high in protein and minerals (yes, it’s a wunderkind). Call me crazy, but I can feel the difference in my morning when I have them on my toast.

Peanut butter or almond butter toast is your morning go to? Put chia on top. You like breakfast muffins? Put chia in them. Yogurt parfait as your mid-afternoon snack? Dump chia in there. Eating a salad? Top it with chia. Having a dessert? Bake chia into it, or sprinkle it on the frosting. You can even put chia in your water with lemon or lime and ice, and it turns into a fun and refreshing drink.

Did I say chia is easy and great and I like it? Oh, no? Well I do.

What do you think you might try?

(Necessary/Unnecessary caviat: I am not recommending you constantly intake chia like it will make you eternally young and live to 100. Obviously in some situations even chia should be eaten in moderation – too much fibre can cause digestive issues, and if you have an inflammatory bowel disease your fibre intake should be monitored when symptoms arise. Significant increases in fibre can also interact with some medications.)

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