disclaimer: while we love the cauliflower-everything craze and the veggie-noodles-over-pasta fad, for us, those are just ways to use nutritious foods in new and innovative ways rather than substituting for and cheating yourself of the real things. aka if you want good ‘ol cheese pizza then eat the damn pizza because most likely it’ll taste better and satisfy your craving more than the “fake” or “healthy alternative” version will.
nonetheless, there are so many fun and actually tasty healthy alternatives for the classic foods we know and love, that’d we’d be lying if we said we don’t love using them to create versions of our favorites foods while upping the nutritional value to get the best of both worlds! so we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite healthy alternatives that you can mess around with to up the nutrition and soul-satisfaction of your meals.
grain free tortillas / paleo english muffins
we love some of the innovative grain free products out there like siete foods almond, coconut, and chia flour tortillas and mikey’s paleo english muffins that provide gluten free and even paleo swaps for your classic bagel or bread. with these you can take your breakfast sandwich to a new level, without sacrificing nutritional value.
spiralized veggies / spaghetti squash
spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles (also known as ~zoodles~) for example are both great ways to use your veggies in a different way in “pasta” dishes like these. if they don’t fully do it for ya though, we always turn to banza, the chickpea pasta that never fails (seriously tastes like pasta…)
avocado-oil based mayo, like the one from primal kitchen, offers much more nutrition than your classic mayo. the fat in avocados, monounsaturated fat, actually lowers cholesterol and keeps your heart healthy in the right amounts. this swap is unreal in a homemade tuna salad, salad dressing, or even a df aoli if you’re feelin’ bougie.
baked sweet potato or veggies fries
sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and immune-boosting benefits with a deliciously sweet flavor. in as little at 30 minutes, will just some oil, s & p, you can make your own fries (can also be done with any veggies like zucchini, carrots, or other root vegetables). try this simple recipe using sweet potatoes the next time you make some baked homemade fries.
dairy free cheese
while not dairy free ourselves, we love a good cashew cream, almond milk ricotta (trader joe’s comin’ in clutch), or cashew-based mozzarella like miyoko’s new product. throw that on your healthy pizza, pasta, or breakfast dish and you’ll thank us after.
nut-based ice cream
we love a good nicecream (pureed frozen bananas), but if you want something just as rich as regular ice cream, we opt for a full-fat coconut milk or other nut-based ice cream alternative like nadamoo. with flavors like caramel cold brew and cookies and cookie dough fudge, what more could you ask for?
cauliflower gnocchi puts a healthy twist on traditional gnocchi by substituting some of the flour and potato starch with cauliflower that tastes just as good prepared. trader joe’s sells a killer gluten-free cauliflower gnocchi, or you can try making it yourself with this recipe.
cauliflower is a great alternative for many foods- it’s low in saturated fats and cholesterol and high in protein, fiber, vitamin c, and potassium. use it to substitute pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and even mac and cheese. check out this website for a cauliflower pizza crust recipe.
instead of using refined sugar, try using the natural sweetness of raw honey in your cooking! honey is sweeter than sugar so you won’t need to use as much to get your desired sweetness. manuka honey gets bonus points for its antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
avocado and coconut oil
most of us know that vegetable and canola oils aren’t great for you, and thankfully there are plenty of good substitutes out there. if you come across a recipe that calls for vegetable or canola oil, substitute it out for avocado, coconut, or olive oil instead!
oat or nut-based milks
even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, diary can often cause an upset stomach especially in large amounts. try switching regular milk out for a nut milk like almond or coconut milk. oat milk is another great alternative that’s lactose-free and vegan.