Give Your Meal a Healthy Makeover with These Food Swaps

Spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash; image: Getty

Trying to kick-start a healthy routine, but can’t ditch your carb addiction or love of sugar? We asked lifestyle expert Jennifer Halliday, who has over 20 years experience and is currently the brand ambassador for Wakaya Perfection and The Wakaya Club & Spa, to share with us her favorite healthy food swaps. 

Pancake Swap

Instead of eating a breakfast full of carbs, flour and sugar, you can use a grain-free pancake recipe that only includes eggs, bananas, baking powder and cinnamon. For directions, whisk four eggs into a bowl and then combine in a separate bowl with two mashed bananas. Add 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and mix. Then proceed to cook the pancakes on a skillet for about four minutes on each side like a typical pancake. If you miss using maple syrup, add fresh berries for a sugar substitute.

Chips Swap

Instead of caloric store-bought chips with all the extra sodium, make your own baked sweet potato chips at home. Slice sweet potatoes into thin “chips,” rub in a little bit of coconut oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Place pieces on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes on each side.

Pasta Swap

Instead of white flour pasta, you can swap in spaghetti squash or buy a julienne peeler to create shredded zucchini “pasta.” For the spaghetti squash, cut in half, stick it in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit with a little bit of coconut oil, salt and pepper, and cook for 45 minutes or until done. Then scoop out the squash (which is already in spaghetti-like form) and add your favorite tomato sauce to it for a great meal. To make it more filling, add a cup of steamed vegetables or grilled chicken. 

Mashed Potato Swap

Instead of eating starchy potatoes, butter and cheese for a side dish, make a cauliflower mash and get all the vitamins from this vegetable. In a pot, steam a whole head of cauliflower in chicken stock (to add flavor) until the cauliflower is tender and you can easily mash it up with a fork (about 20 to 30 minutes). Next, add salt, pepper and your favorite spice, such as rosemary or thyme, and mix in a blender or food processor until it looks like the consistency you like, similar to mashed potatoes. If you don’t have these gadgets, just use a fork or the back of a big spoon.

Sugar Swap

Ditch sugar-filled sweets and sodas, and instead add 1/2 teaspoon of Wakaya Perfection Organic Pink Fijian Ginger to a cup of hot water or tea along with a shot of agave syrup. Ginger also shows benefits of reducing the common cold, so if you feel you are getting sick, this is an easy preventative.

Sour Cream Swap

Instead of adding sour cream to pasta sauces, nachos, enchiladas or other Mexican dishes, swap the sour cream with no-fat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is rich in flavor, so you don’t need as much anyway. 

Ice Cream Swap

Instead of loading up on this sweet treat full of fat, dairy and sugar, blend two frozen bananas in a blender and fill it up halfway with coconut almond milk or chocolate almond milk for a frozen-style smoothie. You can also add almond butter for extra protein and a nutty taste. 

Salad Dressing Swap

Instead of using oily and fatty dressings at most restaurants and lunch shops, just ask for two lemons and squeeze onto your salad, which gives it a great citrus taste. 

Oil Swap in Baking

When baking, substitute an equal amount of no-sugar-added applesauce for oil. You don’t even notice the difference and it keeps the cake/bread moist.