These swaps won’t necessarily decrease calories but they can make a lighter meal, increase flavour and in some cases increase protein and decrease carbs (if that’s what you’re looking for).
My top 10 food swaps for mixing things up:
- Plain yogurt for sour cream. I realize this is old news but it is great news. Use a greek yogurt to get the same tangy flavour while adding more protein to your meal.
- Applesauce for fat. In your next batch of muffins or cake replace your fat called for 1:1 or use half the amount. (Recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, your choices are endless. Use some applesauce (or any fruit puree) and some oil or totally replace the oil with applesauce.
- Cauliflower for half of your potatoes. (Next time you make your mashed potatoes decrease the amount of potatoes you’re boiling and when they are almost cooked throw in some frozen cauliflower. Continue as you normally would and enjoy your lower carb and lighter mashed potatoes.
- Hummus for mayo. Just try it for a new twist on your sandwiches or wraps. Takes sandwiches to a whole new level.
- Try step four with avocado at the same time. AMAZING.
- Half the fruit in your smoothie for carrots. Carrots can be surprisingly sweet, add them to your next smoothie to get in some extra vegetables. (Spinach is really good in smoothies too)
- Canned diced tomatoes for store-bought marinara sauce. A can of diced tomatoes boiled with basil, oregano, garlic and a dash of sugar (with optional diced veggies) can provide you with a homemade pasta sauce that you can be proud of. It is quick, easy and tastes great. See video here.
- Oil for store bought salad dressing. A great homemade salad dressing is equal parts oil, balsamic vinegar and juice with a dash of pepper and a sprig of dill. For oil I use olive oil but any rich flavoured cooking oil will do. I prefer using pomegranate juice or lime juice but I’ve tried orange as well. It always works out. (If you like the salad dressing idea above but want a creamier version add 1 part plain yogurt. Mix and enjoy).
- TVP for half your ground meat. It will cut the budget and meat consumption down. TVP is also known as textured vegetable protein, it is a soy product that can usually be found at a local grocery store in the cereal aisle or online. Works well in meatballs, bolognese sauce, meatloaf, lasagna, chili and I could go on and on.
- Polenta for rice or potatoes. If you haven’t tried it before give it a shot, it can give you a new starchy food to add to your dinner plate instead of the everyday potatoes, rice or bread. Polenta is made from corn and you can slave over it for as long or almost as little as you’d like. Most local grocery stores sell polenta logs. You can slice it and fry it in a pan with a little oil and pepper and add a new flare to your favourite meal. More about polenta here.