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6 Easy ingredient swaps for healthy eaters

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

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If you are on a quest to eat healthy, we've got good news: It's not only easy to do, it's also delicious! Here are six easy ingredient swaps for healthy eaters.

Mom making pasta sauce

1Mayo for mustard

Mayonnaise, we're not hatin'… but you've to go. Don't be sad. A sandwich without mayo doesn't have to be dry and dull. Experiment with flavor-packed mustards to liven up your sandwich. Nearly all of them are fat-free and low in calories, but don't assume. Check your labels, especially when it comes to creamy honey mustards.

2Salad dressing for flavored vinegar

Dousing your lettuce in fat-laden Ranch dressing is not the way to get your skinny on. Try getting your flavor from the actual salad instead of relying on the dressing to, well, dress it up. There are so many types of flavored vinegars, and, as with the mustards, most are low in calories and fat free. Champagne, rice, apple cider, red wine and balsamic vinegars all have a unique taste that you can combine with other flavors to make a healthy meal. For example, toss peppery arugula, fresh mini mozzarella balls, torn basil leaves and cherry tomatoes with a splash of good balsamic vinegar for a tangy and delicious lunch.

3Traditional yogurt for Greek

Those Grecians know how to live. Greek yogurt is like a gift from the heavens… or maybe the Greek Gods. Either way, the Greek versions offer more protein, iron and healthy bacteria than traditional yogurts. And it's out of this world delicious. Eat it as a snack or use the plain versions for all sorts of recipes that call for mayo or sour cream.

4Eggs for ground flaxseeds

Research on the pros and cons of eggs is mixed, but if you are up for a switch, you can trade out your eggs for ground flaxseeds in most any recipe. Simply mix one teaspoon of ground flaxseeds with 1/4 cup water to replace a single egg in any baking or cooking recipe.

5White sugar for agave nectar

Ditch white sugar fast -- there are really not a whole lot of redeeming qualities in this sweet treat. But if you have to satisfy a sweet craving, try replacing white sugar with agave nectar. Though it's a natural sweetener, use it sparingly.

6Ground beef for ground turkey or ground bison

If you're cutting back on red meat but miss your burger fix, try a turkey burger instead. Ground turkey burgers offer up all the juicy yumminess of traditional beef burgers, so you'll never long for red meat again. But don't be fooled by the myth that turkey is leaner than beef. Some ground turkey is comparable to lean ground beef (90%), so once again, do your homework when shopping meat. And if you are up for a flavor challenge, give ground bison a go. It's leaner than ground beef and higher in iron. Try these trades in your favorite spaghetti sauce or in tacos, too.

In any case, try eating the whole, natural version of the food versus the processed or dried version. For example, instead of topping your pasta with marinara sauce from a jar, throw some cherry tomatoes in a skillet with a dash of olive oil and some minced garlic, and cook until the tomatoes start to burst, then pour over cooked pasta. Talk about a flavor overhaul.

More healthy meal ideas

7 Healthy summer desserts
Nutritious and delicious snack ideas
5 Healthy (but yummy!) family meals

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