Easy Food Swaps to Help You Get Healthier

by Emily Babb

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.

Tweet ThisClick Here to Tweet —–> Looking to get healthier? Try out these easy food swaps to help you out. #health

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?

Email Author    |    Website About Emily Babb

Emily, the blogger behind Louisiana Bride writes about the humor in daily life as a graduate school wife and elementary school teacher. Her love of food has brought about a link-up called Meal Pinning Monday and new recipes weekly. You can also find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cheryla lister July 20, 2013 at 3:54 pm

These are great ideas. I always swap out sour cream for plain yogurt and it works well.


2 Lisa July 20, 2013 at 4:08 pm

healthy swaps that are easy to do that don’t break the bank when shopping! Thanks


3 Roxy July 20, 2013 at 4:57 pm

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.


4 Emily Babb July 20, 2013 at 5:24 pm

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.


5 Julia Shanon July 21, 2013 at 1:19 am

Hi, Emily these foods are both delicious and healthy! Very good for me to eat at my old age..


6 Christine Derrel July 21, 2013 at 10:56 am

Hey, I really liked tip number 4: Instead of buying store bought mayo, do your own!!! You know what you put in there and you can make low calorie version, simple as that!!!


7 Susan July 21, 2013 at 2:14 pm

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.


8 Kari July 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

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.


9 Emily July 23, 2013 at 5:40 pm

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.


10 Fleur July 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

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!


11 Killara August 2, 2013 at 10:52 pm

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.


12 Anne August 4, 2013 at 11:39 am

I use hummus.


13 June S. August 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm

These are some great ideas, thanks for sharing them.


14 LaVonne August 5, 2013 at 11:44 pm

I have been wanting to try spaghetti squash. I need to just buy one and do it. Thanks for all the great food swap ideas!


15 Melissa Michael August 7, 2013 at 2:20 am

Spaghetti Squash tastes great! I love the idea of chicken parm. on top of it. Thanks for sharing!


16 michelle b. August 7, 2013 at 5:37 am

There are some Interesting ideas


17 michelle b. August 7, 2013 at 5:37 am

Some interesting ideas


18 michelle b. August 7, 2013 at 5:38 am

These are some interesting ideas


19 michelle b. August 7, 2013 at 5:41 am

all these are interesting idea


20 Fit Betty August 7, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Many great ideas. I do swap out sour cream for greek yogurt. But you have so many other interesting ideas I will try for sure.


21 Barbara Platt August 8, 2013 at 6:25 am

some of that I couldn’t do


22 Shirley August 13, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thanks for the great tips.


23 jessica August 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

yummy, spaghetti squash


24 Mozi Esmes mom August 23, 2013 at 4:29 pm

I really need to try the spaghetti squash exchange. It just seems weird, but I’m sure if I tried it, I’d be pleasantly surprised…


25 Stephanie August 28, 2013 at 2:58 am

I love these tips! Thank you


26 Southern Gal August 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

I love using coconut oil whenever possible.


27 Diane Cooper August 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm

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!


28 Lauren September 17, 2013 at 10:22 am

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!


29 Mon Villarin January 29, 2014 at 11:53 am

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!


30 Levitt Jean May 30, 2014 at 4:50 am

i love these ideas. Thanks


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