Healthy Eating Habits: Simple Substitution Solutions
We can easily eat healthier by making simple food or ingredient substitutions when baking or preparing meals.
Sugar, salt, and fat intake can be reduced by keeping a few alternative ingredients on hand, and making wise choices at the grocery store.
Fifteen Simple Substitutions
One way to make new habits stick is to make following them convenient. Create a list of substitute foods and ingredients that appeal to you and purchase them the next time you shop. Substitutions are simple and quick when you have the items on hand.
- Use low-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
- Replace white rice with wild rice, brown rice, bulgur, or pearl barley.
- Instead of having enriched pasta (white) or white bread, choose whole grain breads and pastas.
- You can cut the sugar added to baked goods by one-quarter to one-half, and the end product will still taste sweet. You can also increase the sweetness of baked goods by adding nutmeg, vanilla, or cinnamon.
- Substitute applesauce or pureed fruit for syrup on pancakes or waffles.
- Fruit flavored yogurt tends to be loaded with sugar. Instead, buy plain low-fat yogurt and add fresh fruit chunks or slices, or pureed fruit.
- On your favorite leafy greens, substitute flavored vinegars for regular salad dressings.
- When making casseroles, pizza, stews, or soups, cut back on the meat called for and add extra vegetables instead.
- Replace or supplement iceberg lettuce with more nutritious leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, or chicory.
- Leave the fruit canned in heavy syrup at the store and instead purchase fruit canned in its own juice, frozen, or buy it fresh.
- If a recipe calls for all-purpose white flour, use whole wheat flour for up to a half of the flour amount called for.
- Use crushed bran cereal or rolled oats instead of dry bread crumbs.
- Instead of eating regular bacon, try turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, lean prosciutto (Italian ham), or smoked turkey.
- To reduce salt intake cook with herbs, herb blends, spices, citrus juices (e.g., lime, orange, lemon), rice vinegar, or low-sodium seasoning mixes. Also, replace garlic, celery, and onion salts with chopped garlic, celery, and onions, garlic powder, or onion flakes.
- Replace cream and whole milk dairy products with reduced fat dairy items.
Keep in mind that nonfat products frequently contain a lot of added sugar or other sweeteners, so you do not necessarily save calories by purchasing nonfat products.
Source: Mayo Clinic
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