Eating healthy is a commitment that requires discipline, but it also comes with a near-endless list of positive benefits for your fitness and wellness.
You can make it easier on yourself by not only replacing unhealthy meals with healthy ones, but by also replacing unhealthy ingredients. Here are eight healthy cooking hacks to help you stay on track.
8 Healthy & Tasty Food Swaps To Try
1. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Extra-virgin olive oil is considered a "go-to" fat when it comes to heart health. Use it as a substitute for butter, while olive oil mixed with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, and a squeeze of lemon is the perfect substitute for creamy salad dressings.
2. Refried Beans
Look no further than refried beans if you're cooking Mexican food and looking for a great replacement for cheese. Cut the fat from your favorite dish by replacing half the cheese with refried or black beans. You can also put beans in enchiladas to get that same gooey texture.
3. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is great on its own but it's also a versatile food that can be use as a substitute for many ingredients. Instead of sour cream, squeeze fresh lemon into yogurt instead. It's important that you choose plain, all-natural Greek yogurt, however, to avoid extra sugar.
Yes, avocado has a high fat content, but it's the kind of fat that's heart-healthy. Use avocado instead of cheese or mayonnaise on your sandwich. It's not only good for your heart, but it will provide the same creaminess you often crave.
5. Healthier Hamburgers
There's nothing quite like a good hamburger, but we all know what eating too much red meat can do to a healthy diet. But you can still make a great, tasty burger by substituting beans, oats and veggies while including just one ounce of beef. One recipe idea is to use a mixture of red beans, mushrooms, onions, oatmeal, and tomato paste (and the one ounce of meat).
6. Unsweetened Apple Sauce
Unsweetened applesauce is another great substitute for butter. Used with canola oil, it's a great butter substitute in many baking recipes. If you want to cut even more fat from the recipe, substitute flax seeds in place of the canola oil.
If you love your carbs and pasta, you can use squash instead of wheat pasta. Spaghetti squash is an excellent pasta substitute (as its name suggests), or you can use ribbons of zucchini. After it's cooked, prepare the squash just as you would regular pasta.
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