It’s not always easy to eat healthy when all of the “bad” food tastes so good. Things get even more difficult when the holidays come along and you want to enjoy your family’s favorite dishes without ruining your hopes of leading a healthier life.
So what do you do? Skip out on the family dinners altogether and FaceTime yourself to the dinner table? Or bring a bowl of veggies while everyone else eats the mac and cheese in your face? Or, do you look for ways to make grandma’s peach cobbler taste the same with a lot less sugar and fat?
If the last option sounds good to you, then read on for more than a dozen ways to make your classic dishes healthier and still delicious.
1. Maple Syrup Instead of Sugar
You can use maple syrup to replace the sugar in your drinks, oatmeal, and smoothies, or even to glaze a ham for your holiday dinner. One tablespoon of maple sugar contains about 12 calories while one tablespoon of white sugar has 48. Because maple is a bit sweeter than white sugar, a little can go a long way.
2. Almond or Peanut Flour Instead of White Flour
White flour is ultra-processed and can cause problems for people with a sensitivity to gluten. If you want to prepare pan- or oven-fried fish, chicken or pork, you can turn to nut-based flour. Try peanut or almond flour. Peanut flour will even crisp up a bit more and give your meal an extra boost of protein.
3. Egg Whites Instead of Whole Eggs to Reduce Cholesterol
Egg whites can be used to replace whole eggs for breakfast and even in your favorite baked sweets. Follow the instructions on your egg white carton to get the measurements just right. You’ll knock out cholesterol and saturated fat from your dish in the process.
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4. Fat-Free Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream
For recipes that call for sour cream, you can save yourself 360 calories per cup by using fat-free plain yogurt instead. Typically, sour cream is used for texture, so the yogurt can do the same thing without the fat.
5. Panko Instead of Bread Crumb Topping
Bread crumbs are a staple for adding crunch to casseroles and baked savory dishes. But that crunch comes at the price of high carbs and calories. You can reduce those and get more crunch with Japanese panko. These crumbs even pack in more fiber than your average regular bread crumbs.
6. Zucchini Noodles Instead of Flour-Based Pasta
Zucchini noodles or “zoodles” are an amazing replacement for pasta in most of your favorite pasta dishes. First of all, zucchini is a green vegetable full of antioxidants, electrolytes, and fiber. All of this comes at only 30 calories a cup, compared to 210 calories per cup of typical pasta. Just remember to cook them on a low heat to maintain the right density in your new pasta.
7. Unsweetened Applesauce for Butter in Baked Goods
Butter makes everything taste amazing and keeps your favorite recipes from drying out. However, overindulging in