Let’s say you have a favorite family recipe for mac and cheese. Is it off limits now? No! I believe most recipes can be converted to a healthier version. It just may take some experimentation and some time. Want to try it? Don’t worry, I’m right here with you and I’ve got four easy substitutes to add more whole food to your recipes!
1. Substitute the white stuff.
Sugar can be substituted as long as you have a kitchen scale. Weigh the amount of sugar called for and then use the same weight in natural liquid sweetener like honey. Think that brown sugar is a clean option? Don’t be deceived. It’s simply white sugar with molasses.
White flour can be replaced by coconut flour for thickening sauces. For pasta dishes, use spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles with a spiralizer.
2. Use healthy oils.
To substitute unhealthy oil for cooking, use a small amount of olive oil, say 1 Tablespoon, and replace the rest with chicken broth. Replace oil in baking with no sugar added applesauce and fruit puree like pumpkin.
3. Add extra spices and extracts to taste.
Get creative with spice combinations from different countries and cuisines. Use your nose to guide you. If it smells good, you’ll be sure to like the taste. The two senses are intertwined.
4. Add greens to your plate.
One trick I learned from Jamie Oliver is to cover the base of your plate with greens – arugula, baby kale, mixed greens – and then serve the main dish over top. It’ll gently wilt from the heat of any cooked food and slip into every mouthful.
As with any recipe, exchanges and substitutions may change the texture and flavor. Have fun and experiment until you get one that you love.