Your Favorite Foods: New, Improved, and Healthier
Simple Substitutions, Same Great Taste
We all have favorite foods. And, although some of our preferred treats are high in calories, there’s no need to forego your favorites completely. With some smart planning, you can learn substitutions and alternatives to make your most beloved foods healthier. Simple changes can make a big difference in your calorie intake without compromising taste—like using low-fat cheese in pizza and lasagna, or switching to ground turkey instead of ground beef in burgers and meatballs. And, for a tasty dessert, you can try grabbing a lower-calorie sorbet instead of ice cream for a sundae. With a little creativity, you can make all your favorite foods a bit healthier—but still enjoy delicious, flavorful meals.
At its worst, pizza can be a true waist-expander, packing an excess of calories and fat, along with its tempting flavors. According to Woman’s Day magazine, a traditional personal-size pizza can contain up to 830 calories, 46 grams of fat, and 2,110 milligrams of sodium. But with a few easy switches, you can make your pizza healthier. In addition to using low-fat or non-fat cheese, you could also make (or order) a pizza with only half the usual amount of cheese. Better yet, go virtually cheese-less by ordering a sauce-only pie and sprinkling just two tablespoons of dried Parmesan on top. You can also choose veggie toppings like mushrooms and green peppers instead of meats, and opt for thin crust instead of thick. Better yet, try a pizza made with whole wheat crust instead of the usual white flour dough.
Switch to Sorbet
If ice cream is your after-dinner favorite, you might want to consider switching to sorbet. Ice cream is high in fat—The Daily Mail reports that choosing mango sorbet over chocolate ice cream can save you nearly 50 calories per serving. And what’s more, sorbet usually contains no fat! Better yet, the Farmers’ Almanac notes that since sorbet is made from fresh fruit and frozen sugar water, you’ll also get some of the same vitamins you would from eating the whole fruit. Although plain fruit is a much healthier choice, sorbet is still a step up from ice cream. The taste of sorbet is tangy, refreshing, and delicious, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on dessert.
High in fat, salt, and calories, bacon lends itself well to substitution. Several healthier alternatives to traditional pork bacon offer great taste. Turkey bacon is the most popular because it contains less fat than regular bacon. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while a three-ounce serving of pork bacon contains 11 grams of saturated fat, a serving of turkey bacon has 7 grams of saturated fat. That’s a big improvement! But keep in mind that the American Heart Association recommends people limit themselves to 16 grams of saturated fat per day—so you should be careful to eat turkey bacon in moderation. Good Housekeeping magazine suggests several more creative variations of bacon, including shitake mushroom bacon as a vegan stand-in.
Smarter Salad Selections
Prevention magazine, suggests mixing and matching lettuce types for different flavors, textures, and nutritional benefits. For example, kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, and the minerals iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, while spinach provides vitamins A, B2, and E, along with the minerals copper, potassium, and zinc.
Many people love to end their dinner with a decedent dessert. Unfortunately, sweet, high-fat treats can be the downfall of a healthy diet. It might be hard to think about trading in your favorite cookies, cakes, and pies, but there are plenty of great-tasting dessert alternatives that have less fat and fewer calories. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) suggests that you can save calories by eating fat-free or reduced-fat cookies, such as fig bars, ginger snaps, or graham crackers instead of regular cookies. If you can’t go without cake, HHS recommends choosing angel food or white cake over chocolate or pound cake. Remember, even though these foods are lower in calories, they are desserts – it’s still not healthy to gorge. If you enjoy these sweets in moderation, you’ll feel better about the occasional indulgence.
Enjoy Health and Great Taste
Making healthy substitutions doesn’t mean going without your favorite foods. Instead, you can have the best of both worlds: Delicious meals, with healthier choices. There are many variations of traditional favorites that can save you unnecessary calories and fat, but provide the same tasty flavors you’ve always loved. Try adopting some healthier cooking and eating habits this year: Make it a point to use low-fat or no-fat ingredients, keep portion sizes smaller, and cut down on foods that contain saturated fats. You’ll reap the health benefits while still enjoying great taste and satisfaction.