Easy Food Swaps to Help You Get Healthier

Eating in a healthful way is difficult, especially around holidays and summer cookouts.

There has been a much bigger focus in recent years to clean up how we eat. There are numerous websites, blogs, and dozens of programs to help you out. However, being able to really stick to a healthy lifestyle is just as much about what you eat as it is working out.

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Today I’m sharing a few easy swaps you can make while cooking at home that can easily lighten up meals and are more nutritious. While I’m not a nutritionist or doctor, I am just a health conscious foodie whose husband doesn’t see the need to healthy swaps. These swaps are tried and true in our household and I can get away with subbing out for the less good-for-you options, while still making the hubby happy.

  1. Instead of sour cream try using non-fat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is lower fat as well as higher protein than sour cream. Plus the plain variety offers the same twang as sour cream. The flavor isn’t far off and it’s great in baking as a crème fraiche/sour cream replacement and as a topping on tacos.
  2. Substitute canola or vegetable oil with healthy fats like coconut or olive oil. I’ve gone so far as to use olive oil in baking when it calls for canola; my favorite is in banana bread. Using the extra light tasting olive oil is great for baking if you’re worried about the taste. I personally use olive oil in everything that calls for oil and no one ever notices a difference in the taste.
  3. When a recipe calls for heavy cream try using fat-free evaporated milk. I’ve made everything from a chive Dijon sauce to Café au Lait with fat-free evaporated milk and it works out just as well as heavy cream for a fraction of the calories. Now it doesn’t whip like whipping cream, but in a sauce it doesn’t make a huge difference in taste.
  4. Instead of buying store bought mayo make your own. Using the healthy fat olive oil that we mentioned above you can have your mayo and eat it too. Simply combine ½ cup extra light tasting olive oil with 1 egg, a squeeze of lemon, and a pinch of salt in a blender. Blend on high until it reaches a mayo consistency, refrigerate, and you’ve got your own healthy mayo to use on sandwiches or in pasta salads. (Note: the mayo will thicken after refrigeration.)
  5. Last but not least is my favorite food swap, using spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I love making lasagna with it, another favorite of ours in baked chicken parmesan on spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is a great low carbohydrate, low calorie substitution for pasta. Coming in at about 42 calories a serving, spaghetti squash (also known as winter squash) is much lower calorie than its pasta counterpart where a serving is 200 calories on average.

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These are just a few of the ways I healthy-up our meals without compromising flavor. I’m always looking for new food swaps and would love ideas from you!

For more inspiration, follow our Healthy Food Ideas Pinterest Board.

So tell us, what are some of your favorite food swaps?


  1. says

    I really loved all of your tips and was happily surprised by a few of them. I don’t often see the suggestion to replace pasta with spaghetti squash -bravo! These were all very healthy & super awesome tips.

    • says

      Thanks, when I first tried out spaghetti squash I wasn’t sure how it would go over. My hubby hates whole wheat pasta, but luckily he loved spaghetti squash.

  2. says

    I love all these tips and I actually do 4 of the 5 on a regular basis. I’ve just never tried to make my own mayo… but I don’t use it very often anyway.

    It’s amazing how good spaghetti squash tastes with a meat spaghetti sauce. It’s delicious.

  3. says

    These are great ideas! I’ve been using greek yogurt a lot lately and have been happy with the swap. I have heard so much buzz about coconut oil but haven’t tried it yet – I need to give it a try.

    • says

      I like coconut oil but it does cost more. Due to that alone I don’t use it much, plus it is solid at room temp so it limits it’s use. Flavor wise it doesn’t make much difference, so it’s totally doable. I’ve been happy with how well it stands up to heat when cooking.

  4. says

    I eat yogurt everyday, the calcium in greek yogurt signals your fat cells to pump out less cortisol, making it easier to drop pounds, while the amino acids help burn fat. Perfect for weight loss!

  5. says

    You’re quite right. Food can be delicious, healthy and easy to make, and I’ve found that easy healthy recipes make it simple and quick for us to get yummy meals on table. I know with my family, as long as it’s tasty, no one ever asks if it’s healthy!

    The only comment I get with Spaghetti Carbonara stirred through with Lite Greek Yoghurt instead of sour cream, is the sound of satisfied eating! :)

    Then there’s the brownies I make using olive oil rather than butter – it’s all still polished up within one sitting!

    Instead of cream, I use lite cream cheese – the result is still sensationally delicious.

    When I do cook with butter and chocolate – yes, I know…we simply love the mouth feel… I control portion serves and so that we are not denied treats, but eat it sparingly.

  6. Diane Cooper says

    I believe I can get on board with all these suggestions except the spaghetti squash instead of pasta. I can give up alot of things, but pasta is about my favorite food in the world!

  7. says

    I am a fan of Greek yogurt — it actually tastes better than the light sour cream. I also like the idea of making one’s own mayo — I use so little mayo that it’s actually silly for me to buy a jar of it, because I’ll never use it all!

  8. says

    I eat yogurt everyday, the calcium in greek yogurt signals your body fat cells to function out less cortisol, which makes it simpler to decrease pounds, as the proteins help burn body fat. Perfect to lose weight!

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