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7 Healthy Food Substitutes

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It’s a new year and many are eager to start their dieting on the right foot, maybe lose a few pounds, eat better and make wiser food choices overall. Here’s a list of great, healthy food substitutes for your usual choices that will help you keep your New Year’s resolution. They are low in fat and calories, but taste intensive!

Do you love chocolate milk but dislike the stomach ache and bloating that comes with it? There’s a new healthy choice, and it’s not soy! As a lactose intolerant woman, I usually drink soy and rice milk, but my latest choices are wonderful, especially chocolate and almond milk! It has such a clean taste and you would swear you drank the original! You should check your grocer’s health/organic or dairy box. They also offer a shelf brand but the chilled kind is the best. This delicious treat comes from nut makers, Blue Diamond Natural Almond Breeze. Even if you’re not lactose intolerant, it’s only 120 calories and less fat than soy, so drink it!

Do your kids love grilled cheese sandwiches but avoid them because of the lactose? A great option for cheese slices are “veggie slices,” which can be found in the veggie section of the milk crate and/or the fruit and veg section. They offer flavors like cheddar, mozzarella, American, jalapeno, smoked provolone and best of all they’re low calorie, cholesterol free and 0g trans fat! The Veggie Slices brand also offers regular “cheese” blocks as well as shredded pieces, and they’re all amazing, you’d swear they were dairy!

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Avocado is a great delicacy and if you’re looking to whip up some guacamole or just want to add a few slices to your salad, it’s great to know there’s a low-fat option. A large avocado trademarked as “SlimCado” lets you eat this wonderful fruit (that’s right if you don’t know, the avocado is actually a fruit!) without piling on the calories. It’s still fleshy like a regular avocado, but has a slightly higher water content, so it’s best used in guacamole. These are about three times the size of a regular one and a little goes a long way.

Canned fruits and vegetables can contain lots of syrup, sugar and salt if you’re not careful with your selection! That’s not great if you want to make healthier choices. However, you have options! Fresh is always best when you can get it and when affordable the next best thing is frozen as it has been proven to have all the nutrients as fresh and the last would be canned. As the economy has pushed food prices to record highs in recent years, more and more people are turning to canned foods. Look at the label and make sure no salt or sugar has been added. When looking at the ingredients, you should avoid anything that contains syrup, corn syrup, fructose, sucrose, or added sweeteners. These add unwanted sodium and calories that aren’t needed. If you can’t get one without these ingredients, be sure to drain the juices and wash the contents well before using.

Is your weakness cookies? Like many others, cookies are a favorite treat and comfort food. Finally, most are loaded with butter, margarine or some type of hydrogenated oil, lots of sugar, and often white flour. There are many new healthy organic and non-organic options including whole grains, much less sugar and healthier oils. A great one that I adore is the Kashi TLC cookie. They’re chewy but add some crunch and one biscuit is enough for me so a box can go a long way. The flavors are Happy Trail Mix, Oatmeal Dark Chocolate, and Oatmeal Raisin Flax. These powerhouses offer low sugar, seven whole grains, 0g cholesterol, 3g fiber and only 130 calories per large cookie!

If you enjoy popsicles and sorbets as a fun fruity treat, here’s a super easy recipe to make at home to avoid paying extra at the grocery store for packaged healthy options. I really like Edy’s fruit bars and they are a fantastic cool treat! However, with their recent price increase, I’m refusing to pay their now $4 price tag, so I’m making my own. I have small Tupperware mugs with lids (about ¾-1 full cup in size). Use whatever fruit you have or buy fresh or frozen fruit. My favorite is blueberry mango. I put frozen blueberries and store-bought 100% pure frozen mango pulp in my food processor. Give it a few pulses until it’s really smooth, then pour into cups to freeze. This is great for kids! No added sugar, no fat, only 100% fruit and SO delicious! You can also try bananas, strawberries, raspberries, kiwis and blackberries! For something tangy, add some orange or pineapple juice. You don’t need popsicle sticks, you can eat it out of the cup with a spoon.

Vegetables and dip can be a staple at parties, and they can appear healthy until coated in dip, which is usually high in fat and salt and typically made from dairy. If you haven’t tried it yet or are used to buying it at the grocery store, now is the time to make your own hummus! The main ingredient in hummus is chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans. You can buy a can, drain it, wash it, and then add it to your food processor with a clove of garlic, some pepper and some sea salt to taste, and some tahini. I just use what I have around the house, so I usually use ground cumin, which also has a nice flavor. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and pulse until smooth and creamy. Hummus makes a great spread on crackers, bread, or as a dip for vegetables, and everyone can eat it, whether vegan, vegetarian, or lactose intolerant.

Thanks to Karla M. Davis

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