The HealingRadius gurus are always exploring healthy options to maintain our well-being, especially when it comes to food. We know it’s not easy to eliminate long-time favorites, which is why we’re replacing the not-so-healthy items with the more beneficial ones. The following substitutes are my top picks, guaranteed to make your next meal a nutritious, delicious and wholesome hit.
Sweet potato vs. white potato
Why should you ditch the white potatoes for the sweeter kind? They happen to have more fiber and vitamin C, and fewer calories and carbs. After trying this tasty and healthy recipe, you’ll wonder why you’ve never stuck with sweet potatoes before.
Rosemary sweet potato wedges
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
3 medium sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Melt the unsalted butter with the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the rosemary. Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into 1 1/2-inch-thick wedges and place in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the butter mixture. Toss gently.
Arrange the wedges on a large baking sheet in one flat layer so they don’t touch. Bake in the upper part of the oven, turning once, until softened and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Season again with salt and pepper, then carefully remove from the sheet. Serve hot.
Spaghetti squash vs. pasta
Even though pasta of any kind is the greatest thing since sliced bread, we know the traditional Italian food is not the healthiest of ingredients. Instead of ditching noodles altogether, spaghetti squash was invented to replace regular spaghetti with more fiber and fewer calories, or so I’d like to believe.
Spinach, tomato and goat cheese spaghetti squash
1 spaghetti squash
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1 tomato, diced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds for roasting. Place squash halves on a roasting dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper on the inside of each half. Next, layer 1-2 handfuls of spinach, top with diced tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion, and drizzle with olive oil. Add a few leaves of chopped basil per half of squash. Top with a generous amount of goat cheese, and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper.
Place squash in the oven for about 20-30 minutes. On a small pan, spread out your squash seeds, sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper. Place seeds in the oven, removing once lightly browned (after about 10-15 minutes). Once the squash has finished roasting, remove from oven, sprinkle with chopped squash seeds and serve.
Brown rice vs. white rice
The more nutritious option is brown rice, which is rich in selenium, manganese and fiber, and can promote weight loss. When you add edamame to the mix, you’re able to consume a good amount of zinc, iron and B vitamins. Another perk: Edamame offers nearly the same amount of protein as eggs, milk and meat.
Brown rice and edamame
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3/4 cup long-grain brown rice
1 1/4 cups frozen shelled edamame
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
3 scallions, thinly sliced
In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Add rice, reduce to a simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes. Stir in edamame, cover and cook until rice is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. In a small bowl, stir together lime juice, vinegar, oil and sugar until sugar is dissolved. With a fork, stir lime juice mixture and scallions into rice, then season with salt and pepper.
Dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate
A lot of us get cravings for rich and decadent chocolate. To stay on the healthy track, choose dark chocolate as it has fewer carbs and sugar, more fiber and potassium, and immune-supporting zinc to fight off colds.
Dark chocolate bites
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup dark cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Gently melt coconut oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir cocoa powder, honey and vanilla extract into melted oil until blended. Pour mixture into a candy mold or pliable tray. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
Grilled chicken vs. fried chicken
Grilled, fried, roasted—chicken is delicious. Unfortunately, when you fry chicken, the oil and batter increases the calories and fat. Don’t worry, though! Grilled chicken is just as good and proves a healthier menu choice at home, even at restaurants.
Grilled chicken breast with garlic, lemon and herbs
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1-1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest from one lemon
Place chicken breasts between 2 pieces of wax paper and, using a meat mallet, pound to an even 1/2-inch thickness. Mix all ingredients (except chicken) together in a 1-gallon Ziplock bag. Add chicken breasts and massage marinade into the meat until evenly coated. Seal the bag and place in a bowl in the refrigerator (the bowl protects against leakage). Let the chicken marinate at least four hours or up to 12 hours.
Clean grill and preheat to high. Lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, carefully rub over grates several times until glossy and coated. Place chicken breasts on the grill. (Make sure they are well-coated with the marinade; the more garlic, lemon zest and herbs on the chicken, the better!) Grill (covered) for 2-3 minutes per side.
Why deprive yourself of your favorite foods when you can have your cake and eat it, too? Try these replacement recipes and enjoy the taste and benefits of the healthier options!
Did you love learning about replacement recipes? Let us know how you feel in the comments below or email us your own blog to share!
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Allyson Miller is a bookworm, history nerd and outdoor enthusiast who loves writing creative and informational content for SBT in Rock Hill, SC. Depending on the day, you can find her with her nose in historical documents, shopping for trendy exercise outfits or trying new cooking recipes. Allyson dreams that one day, engineers will figure out a way to build roller coasters sans the incline, ridding her of coasterphobia.