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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.

  1. Use low-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
  2. Replace white rice with wild rice, brown rice, bulgur, or pearl barley.
  3. Instead of having enriched pasta (white) or white bread, choose whole grain breads and pastas.
  4. 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.
  5. Substitute applesauce or pureed fruit for syrup on pancakes or waffles.
  6. 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.
  7. On your favorite leafy greens, substitute flavored vinegars for regular salad dressings.
  8. When making casseroles, pizza, stews, or soups, cut back on the meat called for and add extra vegetables instead.
  9. Replace or supplement iceberg lettuce with more nutritious leafy greens such as kale, spinach, arugula, collard greens, mustard greens, watercress, or chicory.
  10. Leave the fruit canned in heavy syrup at the store and instead purchase fruit canned in its own juice, frozen, or buy it fresh.
  11. If a recipe calls for all-purpose white flour, use whole wheat flour for up to a half of the flour amount called for.
  12. Use crushed bran cereal or rolled oats instead of dry bread crumbs.
  13. Instead of eating regular bacon, try turkey bacon, Canadian bacon, lean prosciutto (Italian ham), or smoked turkey.
  14. 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.
  15. 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
Photo Credit:peddhapati / flickr creative commons