When I think of healthy food swaps, I’m honest: most of the time, I’m disinterested. I’m the type who would rather have a tiny serving of the real thing than a larger serving of a less satisfying diet substitute.
But I have to say, the landscape for healthy food exchange has changed over the years. There are some great ingredient swaps to include in dips and baked goods. Foods with healthier nutritional profiles that do not affect taste; and delicious recipes to make that are actually more filling than their traditional versions.
According to Denver-based nutritionist Kelli McGrane, taste and texture are crucial in an exchange. She said we are far from replacing butter or oil in biscuits with applesauce.
“People play with different types of flour and use avocado in brownies – and these foods have the same mouthfeel but are healthier.”
Healthy food swaps that you will love
Here are some delicious swaps that are not only lower in calories than their traditional cousins; They also provide a lot more nutrients to satisfy your taste buds and nourish you to keep you feeling energetic throughout the day.
They are divided into three categories: Food Swap, Ingredient Swap, and Recipe Swap. Note: The nutritional data for swaps was obtained from the digital health and fitness platform Lose It!
Instead of: normal wheat noodles
Choose: Chickpea noodles
“Chickpeas and other legume-based pasta provide around five times more fiber and twice more protein than traditional pasta,” says McGrane, who also works at Lose it!
Because chickpea noodles are more fiber and protein, “it will be a more filling meal, but you will still get the delicious chew you expect from your pasta dishes,” said McGrane.
Instead of: a bowl of cereal
Choose: a bowl of high fiber granola with ¼ cup of granola
Granola is delicious, but the calories and sugar can add up.
I enjoy a tasty compromise: I sprinkle muesli on top of a low-calorie, high-fiber muesli like all-bran or whole grain flakes. With half the added sugar in a bowl of granola, it gives it extra crispness.
Instead of: pasta
Choose: spiraled vegetables
Spiralized vegetables like spiralized sweet potatoes and zucchini are nutritious substitutes for pasta and can be used in Italian dishes like spaghetti and meatballs or Asian noodle dishes like pad thai.
You can also toast a spaghetti squash, scrape out the pulp and sprinkle some parmesan on top for a flavorful, high-fiber pasta substitute. It’s so delicious, we do it at home on a regular basis!
Instead of: white rice
Choose: Cauliflower rice
Rice cauliflower or broccoli can be used to make a more nutritious fried rice or stir-fry as it is made entirely from vegetables. And this swap is especially helpful for those who need to limit calories and carbohydrates. For example, a cup of white rice has 205 calories and 45 grams of carbohydrates, while a cup of cauliflower rice has only 25 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates.
Instead of: Vegetable sticks
Vegetable sticks or straws might be a healthy addition, but they’re not that different from potato chips.
“The main ingredients in these products are usually potato flour and cornstarch, with the vegetarian portion made from powdered vegetables,” said McGrane. Instead, opt for raw vegetables like carrots, peppers, cucumbers or celery for a real vitamin and fiber boost and pair them with hummus or a low-fat dip.
Instead of: dark chocolate truffles
Choose: Avocado truffles
Use avocado in place of butter and cream for decadent and healthy indulgence. “Avocado truffles are just as delicious and filling, but are slightly lower in fat and calories than dark chocolate truffles,” said McGrane.
Since avocados are a good source of several micronutrients, including potassium, vitamin K, and folic acid, they get an extra nutritional boost compared to using butter.
My recipe for avocado truffles includes a variety of toppings to roll, including matcha powder, beet powder, peanut flour, and desiccated coconut.
Instead of: a cinnamon roll
Choose: Cinnamon and raisin bread with whipped cream cheese
Toasted cinnamon and raisin spread with whipped cream cheese has all the flavors of a cinnamon bun, but fewer calories, sugar and saturated fat. “Those differences are even greater when you buy a bakery-style cinnamon bun,” said McGrane.
For example, a mini cinnamon has 350 calories, 23 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of saturated fat, while a slice of cinnamon and raisin bread with a tablespoon of whipped cream cheese only has 115 calories, 6 1/2 grams of sugar and 1. has grams of saturated fat.
Ingredients and spices exchange
Instead of: normal jam
Choose: Chia seed jam
“I love chia seed jam because it’s made from just three whole ingredients – chia seeds, strawberries, and maple syrup – and has half the sugar of traditional store-bought jams,” says McGrane, who often makes this homemade jam .
Thanks to the gelling properties of the chia seeds “you don’t even need pectin for this fruity pleasure”. Pectin is a thickening agent that is used in food.
Instead of: Whipped cream
Choose: Silken tofu
Mashed silken tofu is a great substitute for cream in decadent desserts as it provides a smooth and creamy base and adds healthy plant-based protein to desserts like mousses or pies, according to McGrane.
Add 1 cup of pureed tofu instead of 1 cup of heavy cream and save over 600 calories and over 50 grams of saturated fat per cup.
Instead of: sour cream
Choose: Greek whole milk yogurt
These two ingredients are similar in texture, but Greek yogurt is about three times the amount of protein and has a lot less saturated fat. Choose Greek whole milk yogurt, which is creamier in texture than low-fat yogurt.
Instead of: oil
Choose: unsweetened applesauce or pureed pumpkin
Using unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in baking can be an easy way to make your baked goods healthier. “Not only does using applesauce help reduce calories and fat, but because it contains natural sugars, you may even be able to reduce the amount of added sugar in your recipe,” said McGrane.
It also keeps the baked goods moist. “To exchange, you can use 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce for every 1 cup of oil called for in the recipe. However, for the best texture, I like to only replace half of the oil with applesauce. I find this exchange works best for muffins, quick breads, and thicker cakes like carrot cakes. “
Pureed or canned pumpkin is another good oil substitute, especially for quick breads, muffins, and brownies. “Not only does it have a lot fewer calories and saturated fat, but it also adds a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins A and C, and iron,” said McGrane. For this exchange, use 3/4 cup of pureed pumpkin for every 1 cup of oil listed in the recipe.
Instead of: sugar
Whether you want to top your morning muesli or oatmeal, mix in applesauce or sprinkle over baked goods, try cinnamon over sugar. One teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories while 1 teaspoon of cinnamon has only 6 calories.
Instead of: mayonnaise
“Not only is mustard lower in calories and fat, it can also add great flavor to tuna or potato salads,” said McGrane.
Instead of: Full fat ice cream from the store
Choose: frozen banana “nice” cream
Store-bought ice cream may be tasty, but it’s usually high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. The next time you have ripened bananas, remove the peel and store in a freezer bag. “You are minutes away from making a creamy, frozen treat that is high in potassium and lower in fat, sugar and calories,” said McGrane.
For “nice cream” simply put frozen banana slices, unsweetened almond milk, cocoa powder, a little maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract in a blender. Blend until smooth, then dig in!
Instead of: Minced meat for tacos or burgers
Choose: half beef; half sautéed mushrooms
Saving meat doesn’t have to mean completely substituting meat in a recipe. “Even adding a little chopped mushrooms to a mince pie mix can help reduce meat consumption,” said Dr. Robert Graham, chef and co-founder of FRESH Med, an inclusive health and wellness center in New York City. Plus, you’ll increase fiber and save saturated fat in a taco or burger recipe.
Instead of: pre-popped popcorn
Choose: Homemade popcorn student mix
Making your own air-popped popcorn is a healthier alternative to many of the pre-popped popcorns available in supermarkets or traditional cinema popcorn.
To give air-popped popcorn a sweet and savory boost that also improves its nutritional profile, mix dried cranberries or chopped dried apricots along with almonds, pistachios, peanuts, or sunflower seeds. You can also add some chocolate chips if you want.
Instead of: store-bought breakfast burritos
Choose: homemade vegetable burritoso
Store-bought burritos are convenient, but can be high in sodium. Instead, try making your own freezer-friendly versions. Simply fry the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stir a few eggs, then fill and roll the tortillas. Then heat in the oven for about five to 10 minutes.
“The great thing about making your own is that you can use up any leftover vegetables you have in the refrigerator,” added McGrane.
Instead of: store-bought frozen waffles
Choose: homemade waffles
Try making homemade waffles instead of store-bought frozen waffles.
made from whole grain or oat flour. Simply whisk together eggs, milk, butter, honey, cinnamon and baking powder; then add flour, baking powder and salt. Put the batter on a hot waffle iron and finish baking.
“This simple swap has more fiber and protein, is made from all-natural ingredients, and tastes better too!” Said McGrane. For convenience, you can cook a large amount over the weekend and then freeze any leftovers. To keep the waffles crispy, heat them in a toaster instead of the microwave. And for added flavor and antioxidants, add berries to your waffle batter.
Guiding the way to thrive
Jan Juc naturopath Rebecca Winkler has always found joy in the practice of cooking nourishing meals for others.
That pastime spilled over into developing recipes and it was during lockdown that her culinary passion led her to become a qualified plant-based chef and a raw dessert chef.
Now the mum-of-two has expertly thrown all of her skills into the mix to achieve a long-held goal of producing a book.
Released as an eBook, with a print version to hopefully follow, 14 Day Whole Food Feast is a comprehensive two-week meal plan designed to nourish the body and delight the tastebuds.
Within its pages are recipes for whole food snacks, lunch and dinner meals, lunchbox ideas, and time-saving tips.
14 Day Whole Food Feast by Rebecca Winkler is available now as an eBook.
“My motivation was both personal and professional,” Rebecca says.
“On a professional note, I found so many patients were having difficulty finding family-friendly, whole food recipes to help them navigate various dietary needs.
“The recipes are easy to follow, a shopping list is provided and time frames are taken into account so slower cooked meals or more time-consuming recipes are saved for weekends.”
Rebecca says the eBook can function purely as a recipe resource or be followed meticulously for a 14-day reset.
“Food prep guidance is given at the start of each week in order to get ahead and be organized as possible.
The eBook includes lunch, dinner and snack ideas, as well as shopping lists and naturopathic advice.
“Dinners are often incorporated into leftovers for lunch the next day and naturopathic guidance is provided around ways to maximize your time by incorporating regular exercise and practicing self-care.”
The idea for the book began to brew in 2019 during a solo trip Rebecca took with colleagues which gave her the space to establish a clear vision for the content she wanted to share.
“I began developing and refining recipe, enlisting a beautiful photographer and graphics team to allow my dream to be realised.
“The long-term plan is to release a number of other eBooks and, eventually, print a hard copy, real-life book to be loved and to splash your chocolate and bolognaise sauce on. The kind of recipe book that you find yourself grabbing time and time again.”
The eBook is filled with nutritious recipes and much more.
So, what are some of Rebecca’s personal favorites featured in her carefully curated eBook?
“Ooh, that’s like trying to choose a favorite child,” she laughs.
“I know it might seem boring, but the slow-cooked bolognaise with hand-made gluten-free fettucine is an absolute favourite.
“We make it weekly in my house and every time my kids exclaim ‘this is the best bolognaise ever’.”
The slow cooked beef pie, kafir lime chicken balls and whole food cranberry bliss balls are also hard to pass up, she says.
Rebecca avoids listing ideal ingredients for people to incorporate into their diet, instead saying the most beneficial ingredients are those that make you feel at your best.
“Not everyone tolerates grains, some don’t tolerate fruit, others have difficulty digesting meat and protein.
“My advice is to listen and take note of how your body feels when you eat.
“Are you bloated, do you have pain in your gut, loose stools, headaches or fatigue?
Rebecca is a qualified naturopath, as well as being a plant-based chef and raw dessert chef.
“I am more inclined to advise people to source good quality ingredients, grow what they can, and cook from scratch as much as time and money allows.
“Eat three meals a day and snack only if you are hungry, growing, pregnant or exercising.
“Try to consume 30-35ml of water per kg of body weight. Add plenty of vegetables, fresh herbs, variety and colour.
“Our gut flora thrives on variety, so mix up your veggies, fruits, grain, legumes and proteins. Eat the rainbow.”
To get the most out of the eBook, the author suggests reading it from cover-to-cover and choosing a 14-day period where you are at home and have minimal social engagements.
Rebecca is passionate about naturopathy which she describes as a holistic, comprehensive view of the body in its entirety and “a wonderful adjunct to Western Medicine for patients as it ensures medical due diligence is exercised, adequate diagnostic testing where appropriate and an individualized approach to restoring health”.
Rebecca’s advice is to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to healthy food choices.
She says many of her clients are seeking ways to regain optimal health following extended periods of lockdown during the pandemic.
“There is no doubt that most of us found ourselves allowing more in alcohol and comfort foods over lockdown, which is nothing to feel ashamed about.
“In such a difficult, confining and overwhelming time, we sought comfort where ever it may lie for us.
“This is not a failure, it was merely a way for so many to cope. I never judge anyone’s choices, I merely try to support, understand and listen.
“Often we already know what we need to do to rebuild or move forward, simply sharing and being heard without shame or judgment is therapeutic.
“I cannot describe to you the genuine joy that seeing people thrive provides.”
14 Day Whole Food Feast retails for $19.95 and on the Rebecca Winkler website. Discover more and contact Rebecca via her Facebook page, Instagram @rebeccawinklernaturopath or email [email protected]
Get to know farro and other superfood whole grains
By Casey Barber, CNN
Quinoa has reached a level of superfood status not seen since the great kale takeover of the aughts. Equally embraced and mocked in pop culture, it’s become the symbol of the grain bowl generation. It’s not the only whole grain that’s worth bringing to the table, however.
The world of whole grains is wide, and if quinoa and brown rice have been the only grains on your plate, it’s time to expand your palate. Here’s an introduction to whole grains, along with tips for cooking and enjoying them.
What’s a whole grain?
The term “whole grains” encompasses all grains and seeds that are, well, whole. They retain all their edible parts: the fiber-rich outer bran layer; the carbohydrate-rich endosperm center, which makes up the bulk of the grain itself; and the inner core, or germ, which is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats.
On the other hand, refined grains such as white rice and all-purpose flour have been milled to remove the bran and germ, stripping away much of the fiber, protein and vitamins, and leaving only the starchy endosperm.
“A lot of people don’t realize that whole grains contain several grams of protein in addition to vitamins and antioxidants,” said Nikita Kapur, a registered dietitian nutritionist in New York City. With every serving of whole grains, “you get a ton of minerals, B vitamins and fiber, which is especially important for good health.”
So-called “ancient grains” fall under the umbrella of whole grains, though the phrase is more of a marketing term than a marker of a more nutritious option. Ancient grains refer to whole grains like millet, amaranth, kamut and, yes, quinoa that have been the staple foods of cultures for several hundred years. They are not hybridized or selectively bred varieties of grains, like most modern wheat, rice and corn.
And though quinoa has gotten all the press as a whole grain superfood, there’s good reason to try others. Trying a variety of whole grains isn’t just a way to mix up your same-old side dish routine. It’s also a chance to get a wider portfolio of minerals and more into your diet.
“Suffice to say, we need to have a more diverse plant-based diet” to get the full complement of recommended nutrients in our meals, Kapur said, “and we can’t get it from the same 10 or 20 foods.
“One grain might have more manganese, another more zinc or magnesium, and another more protein,” she added. “Try one as a pasta, one as a porridge — you do you, as long as there’s a variety.”
Familiar foods like oats, corn, brown and other colors of rice, as well as wild rice (which is an aquatic grass), are all considered whole grains, but there are many others you’ll want to add to your regular repertoire.
Some whole grains to get to know
amaranth is a tiny gluten-free grain that can be simmered until soft for a creamy polenta-like dish, but it also makes a deliciously crunchy addition to homemade energy bars or yogurt bowls when it’s been toasted. To toast amaranth seeds, cook over medium heat in a dry pan, shaking frequently until they begin to pop like minuscule popcorn kernels.
Buckwheat is gluten-free and botanically related to rhubarb, but these polygonal seeds (also called groats) don’t taste anything like fruit. You might already be familiar with buckwheat flour, used in pancakes and soba noodles, or Eastern European kasha, which is simply toasted buckwheat.
Faro is the overarching Italian name for three forms of ancient wheat: farro piccolo, or einkorn; farro medio, or emmer; and farro grande, or spelled. The farro you typically find at the store is the emmer variety, and it’s a rustic, pumped-up wheat berry that’s ideal as a grain bowl base. Or make an Italian-inspired creamy Parmesan farro risotto.
Freekeh is a wheat variety that’s harvested when unripe, then roasted for a surprisingly smoky, nutty flavor and chewy texture. Freekeh’s taste is distinctive enough that it steals the spotlight in your meals, so use it in ways that highlight its flavor. It’s fantastic in a vegetarian burrito bowl paired with spicy salsa, or in a warming chicken stew.
kamut is actually the trademarked brand name for an ancient type of wheat called Khorasan, which features large grains, a mild taste and tender texture. It’s a good, neutral substitute for brown rice in a pilaf or as a side dish. Or try this high-protein grain in a salad with bold flavors like arugula, blood orange and walnut.
millet is a gluten-free seed with a cooked texture similar to couscous. Teff is a small variety of millet that’s most frequently used as the flour base for Ethiopian injera flatbread. Try raw millet mixed into batters and doughs for a bit of crunch, like in this millet skillet cornbread recipe, or use either teff or millet cooked in a breakfast porridge.
How to cook any whole grain
While cooking times vary for each grain, there’s one way to cook any whole grain, whether it’s a tiny seed or a large, chewy kernel: Boil the grains like pasta.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a handful of kosher salt. Add the grains and cook, tasting as you go, until tender. Small grains like amaranth and quinoa can cook fully in five to 15 minutes, while larger grains like farro and wild rice can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour — so keep an eye on your pot and check it frequently.
Drain well in a mesh strainer (to catch all those small grains) and either use immediately or allow to cool slightly, then refrigerate for later meals. Cooked whole grains can also be portioned, frozen and stored in airtight bags for up to six months.
If you want to cook your whole grains in an Instant Pot or other multicooker, this chart offers grain-to-water ratios for many of the grains mentioned here.
The CNN Wire
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Casey Barber is a food writer, illustrator and photographer; the author of “Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food” and “Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats”; and editor of the website Good. foods Stories.
Travel: A quaint county seat with Mayberry charm | Lifestyles – Travel
I finally ventured out for my first road trip of 2022 earlier this month. It’s been way too long since I took a little trip and it was long overdue. My last little getaway was in Chicago the week of Christmas. The day I returned I wasn’t feeling very well and an at-home test confirmed that I had COVID — again.
The first time was in November 2020 and it was a severe case that landed me in the hospital with pneumonia and difficulty breathing and then many months of recovery. Luckily this time around it just lasted a couple of weeks. At the same time I was pushing through COVID we were in the process of moving. And my Dad, who had tested positive for COVID not long before me, passed away. So, it’s been a heck of a start to 2022. A getaway was much needed.
It was a brief 24 hours in the Indianapolis area, but as always I packed a bit in and had a lot of good food. On our way down we stopped off in Rensselaer for lunch at Fenwick Farms Brewing Co. and took a little walk to check out the murals that are part of the Ren Art Walk. That evening I attended a media opening of the newly reopened Dinosphere exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
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It’s a place I adore and still enjoy visiting even though my kids are teenagers and young adults now. I love being greeted by the huge Bumblebee character on the way in from what is probably my favorite action move, “The Transformers.” The largest children’s museum in the world has so much to see and I’ve loved having the chance to explore it both with and without my kids.
After the event it was a quick overnight at Staybridge Suites in Plainfield, and in the morning we headed to Danville. Danville is the county seat of Hendricks County. I adore county seats with downtown squares and this is one of my favorites. On an earlier visit there we were in town for the Mayberry in the Midwest festival, which had lots of activities related to the classic TV show “The Andy Griffith Show” that was set in the fictional town of Mayberry.
Danville definitely has that charming, inviting, friendly small town vibe that feels like it could be a sitcom setting. We ate at the Mayberry Cafe where old episodes play on television screens and the menu is full of down-home, made-with-love comfort foods, with a specialty being “Aunt Bee’s Famous Fried Chicken.” I tried it and it was very tasty. The whole place made me smile like Opie after a fishing outing with his dad.
This time our dining destination was The Bread Basket. I had tried their desserts at a few events, but it was my first time dining in. It’s located in a house that was built for the president of Central Normal College in 1914 and is cute and cozy. It’s a breakfast and lunch spot, so plan to go early and be prepared for a wait during peak times (but it’s well worth it).
My Dilly Turkey Sandwich on fresh wheat nut bread with an Orchard Salad was delicious. I loved that they had a combo option where you could pick a half sandwich and half salad or cup of soup. But the desserts are the real star here. I stared at that dessert case for several minutes — and I wasn’t the only one.
I was seated next to it, and watched intently each time they removed a pie or cake from the case to cut a slice. I tried the Hummingbird Cake, which was a perfect treat without being too rich, and then noticed another that was so unique I had to get a slice to take home — the Blackberry Wine Chocolate Cake. If you go there and are overwhelmed with choices, go with this. You won’t regret it.
After lunch, we made our way over to the Hendricks County Historical Museum & Old County Jail, which is just off the square. For someone like me who loves history, this was a wonderful stop to incorporate into our day. It was built in 1866 and used as a jail all the way up until 1974. You can go into the old jail cells (two on the female side and four on the male side) and tour the sheriff’s home.
An exhibit has information and artifacts from when Central Normal College existed (later Canterbury College). There’s also a temporary chronological exhibit about music and musicians, featuring many Hoosier hitmakers.
After the visit, I took a breezy little walk around the square, where I was reminded that there is a nostalgic old movie theater. The historic Danville Royal Theater dates back to the early 1900s and shows current movies for just $5 a ticket.
It was then getting close to dinner time, so we decided to eat before we headed back home. A place in the nearby town of North Salem had been recommend to me and I am so glad we took time to visit. I chatted for a few minutes with Damiano Perillo, owner of Perillo’s Pizzeria. He’s a native of Palermo, the capital of Sicily. The food is authentic and almost all of it is made fresh daily, including their garlic rolls, marinara and alfredo sauces. The New York-style pizzas are perfection.
They even have a nearby garden where they grow many of the fresh vegetables and herbs used in their dishes. They have gluten free pastas, too, and the lady at the next table had some and was raving about it. We also tried the homemade Sicilian cannoli and the limoncello flute, and trust me when I say to definitely not skip dessert.
There was one last food stop. Although we had just eaten, I realized we’d be driving right by Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse in Lizton and just couldn’t pass it up. I made my husband pull in and pick up some food to go. We got the brisket and their house made pimento cheese, chorizo and kielbasa and took it home. I was introduced to it last fall and there is a reason they have been voted Best BBQ in the Indy area four years in a row. I loved hearing about how this eatery located next to a railroad literally stops trains in their tracks to get food from this award-winning BBQ joint.
All three of these places — The Bread Basket, Perillo’s Pizzeria and Rusted Silo are ones that you should absolutely include in your itinerary if you happen to be in the Indianapolis area.
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Guiding the way to thrive
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