Eating healthy food can be hard. As a recovering junk food junkie, I totally get it. You need to know where to shop, what to shop for, how to understand nutritional information, what ingredients to avoid, and then after all of that work is done, you still have to know how to cook everything. At the end of the day, that’s whole lot of work that I don’t have time for, and frankly, don’t really want to do. And to be honest with you, I think eating well is way easier (and more enjoyable) when I don’t have to work for it.
That’s why we’re all about making eating healthy as easy as possible here at Eat Well. One of our favorite hacks is ingredient swapping – taking a commonly used ingredient that adds calories and chemicals but little else, and replacing it with a more nutritious, wholesome ingredient. It allows us to take traditionally indulgent meals, like pasta and baked goods, and turn them into nutritional powerhouses.
Learning how to make healthy ingredient swaps can help make eating healthy more sustainable, because you won’t feel deprived of the flavors you love. With a few smart swaps like the ones below, you can still eat your favorite food without feeling guilty about it.
Need a few examples? Our new fall menu is full of health-boosting ingredient swaps!
High-Protein Chickpea Pasta Instead of Refined White Pasta
Most pasta is refined white pasta, which is high in carbs and low in nutrients, making it very easy to overeat. Substituting white pasta with lentil or chickpea pasta is a great way to crush your pasta craving while getting nutrients your body needs. These types of pastas, like the pasta used in our new Gluten-Free Pumpkin Alfredo, pack significantly more protein and fiber than white pasta – a combination that keeps you full longer than carbs alone. And since they’re made with just legumes and water, they’re also gluten-free, making them an allergen-free choice the whole family can enjoy.
Honey Instead of Processed White Sugar
Many of the great fall desserts – muffins, brownies, cakes – are a bit too sugary for everyday eating. Obviously, this totally sucks – because who doesn’t want to eat muffins everyday? We could write a long list of reasons why regular sugar is bad for you, but here are the highlights: white sugar contributes to a suppressed immune system and increased blood glucose levels, and because of its extremely addictive nature, it also increases your risk for obesity and diabetes. Two of our favorite sugar swaps? Honey. Overall, honey is more flavor than white sugar, but it also has lower glycemic index than sugar – in fact, its balanced combination of fructose and glucose helps the body regulate blood sugar levels.
Our new Gluten-Free Pumpkin Muffins rely on the rich flavor of honey instead of processed white sugar, along with real pumpkin puree contributing to its filling fiber content (11g of the recommended daily 25!). The end result? A far healthier muffin that you can feel great about eating every day!
Almond Flour Instead of Bleached All-Purpose Flour
Many comfort foods rely on regular flour to batter or thicken the dish. This adds calories, carbs… and not much else. Plus, bleached flour is full of harmful chemicals, and most of the valuable nutrients naturally occurring in flour are lost during the bleaching process. One of our favorite all-purpose flour alternatives: nutty, sweet almond flour. Our Whole30-Approved Tomato Basil Meatloaf replaces traditional white flour with almond flour, boosting the protein content (29g!) while keeping this dish a super yummy, chemical-free classic that’s also gluten free.
Plant-Based Ingredients Instead of Dairy
I’ll admit it: I’m a total cheese addict. Unfortunately, cheese adds a ton of fat, sodium, and calories, and sometimes you can’t even taste it. Pesto is a perfect example of this – most pestos use a hefty portion of parmesan cheese to add a salty nuttiness to dishes, making it deceptively calorie-dense. We’ve found that there are plenty of ingredients in the plant family that mimic similar flavors of cheese! Our new Spinach Pistachio Pesto Chicken uses pistachios to achieve the same salty nuttiness – without all the dairy and salt. And instead of pasta, we paired our chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and steamed veggies to keep the nutrient content high. Even better, this dish boasts over 400% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, and 70% of your vitamin C. Take that, cheese!
Check out our new fall menu!
We released our new fall menu this week, and we’re super pumped about it. Check out our new seasonal options here and give a few of these healthy hacks a try.