A healthier diet is just a swap away! During Harvest Month, give these ingredient alternatives a try. They’re easy to incorporate into your weekly routine and (bonus!) they’re all delicious.
- Spaghetti squash instead of pasta
It’s buttery. It’s tender. It goes great with pesto or marinara sauce. Except it’s not pasta. You can lighten the carbohydrate load considerably by switching from spaghetti to spaghetti squash. It’s a snap to make, too. Just scoop out the seeds and rub the inside with salt and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 400° for about 45 minutes until the flesh is tender. Use a fork to lift out the strands et voila – you’ll enjoy a delicious, pasta-like dish without the pasta.
- Date sugar instead of sugar
Say “so long” to sugar. Date sugar is not a complicated substance – it’s just dehydrated and ground dates. But the benefits of this all-natural, unrefined sweetener are many. Dates offer a stimulating shot of antioxidants, containing trace amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium. They’re also a great source of fiber. You can’t use date sugar in exactly the same way you use white sugar, but you can usually swap it in any recipe that calls for brown sugar.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)
- Avocado instead of butter
Harness the power of the avocado! Avocados are loaded with nutrients and healthy monounsaturated fats, and there are many ways to use them as a substitute while cooking. When baking, try swapping half the amount of butter in your recipe for mashed avocado. The calorie count will plummet and the final product will be softer and chewier. And if the idea of avocado in your chocolate chip cookies seems a bit strange, fear not: the taste is indistinguishable.
- Quinoa instead of rice
Garden-variety rice is fine. But quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is a nutritional superstar. A South American staple for more than 5,000 years, this pseudocereal is extremely high in calcium, antioxidants and fiber and low in sodium and carbohydrates. Quinoa is non-GMO, gluten-free and usually grown organically. Best of all, it is packed with protein, containing all the essential amino acids you need in your diet. Quinoa is extremely versatile – like rice, it goes well with virtually anything and it’s easy to make. Just boil it for 15-20 minutes with a sprinkle of salt and add your preferred veggie, meat or seasoning.
- Kale instead of iceberg lettuce
Can your salad be healthier? Absolutely. Swap out the iceberg lettuce for kale, a powerhouse green that amazingly has more iron than beef, per calorie. It’s also high in vitamin K and antioxidants, both of which are thought to help in preventing against various forms of cancer. Need a dose of vitamin C? Kale is packed with it, giving your immune system an extra boost, as well as supporting your metabolism and hydration. Kale works outside of the salad bowl, too; try making some baked kale chips in lieu of those greasy potato chips. Just toss the leaves with salt and olive oil, cut them into chip-sized pieces and bake at 275 for about 20 minutes (turning the leaves over halfway through). Enjoy a crispy, healthy snack.