5 Healthy Food Swaps

I did something the other week that I though I’d never do. I swapped out spaghetti for roasted squash… and liked it. It was such an easy substitution and tasted amazing. It wasn’t pasta, but it wasn’t too far off. It actually made me think that I could do more little changes like this… And naturally, Louisa sent this guest post for today and it was absolute perfect timing!

5 Healthy Food Swaps
Guest post by Louisa from Living Lou
I’ve always been the kind of person who believes fully in balance and moderation so I try to eat healthily on a regular basis, while still having room for a brownie or a bowl of macaroni and cheese. But being someone who also loves everything about food, I never wanted it to impact the actual experience and enjoyment of food – the flavors and textures. While using black beans in chocolate cake or brownies has become increasingly popular, it just doesn’t do it for me! Instead, I try to focus on small and simple swaps to eat more healthily throughout the day in a way that still satisfies my foodie heart. Here are five simple swaps that you can try today. 
1. Swap: Salad Dressing
Salad dressing is one of those things you can buy so easily at the store, but you have to be careful because often times store-bought dressings will be loaded with sugars and fats – I would rather eat a grilled cheese! Instead, I love to make my own dressing (this white balsamic vinaigrette is my go-to right now) but you can also use a dollop of hummus as a dressing or sometimes I even like to make hummus into a vinaigrette.
2. Swap: Turkey or chicken for beef
When I’m making pasta sauce, chili or meatballs I’ll usually opt to use ground chicken or ground turkey. These are leaner cuts of meat and I find because they have a milder flavor, they are able to take on the herbs and spices of a dish really well. I love this smoky chicken chili which has sweet potatoes and chipotle peppers for flavor, and my turkey and spinach meatballs are a go-to for lunches. 
3. Swap: More vegetables for meat
There really is no downside to eating more vegetables! I love making vegetarian dishes, or using vegetables in interesting ways. I just developed this recipe for zucchini and eggplant lasagna, which uses thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant instead of pasta noodles. In the summer I also love to grill up my eggplant skewers!  
4. Swap: Homemade pasta sauce
Like salad dressing, you can buy sugar-loaded pasta sauce at the grocery store but I like to make my own marinara sauce at home because I have complete control over all the ingredients. I developed a richly flavored 20-minute marinara sauce which has become my go-to dinner (just toss with whole wheat pasta and some chickpeas for an easy dinner). 
5. Applesauce or pumpkin puree for oil or butter
When I’m trying to make a healthy muffin or quick bread, I’ll often swap the oil or butter in a recipe for applesauce. Keep in mind that this swap only works in muffins or quick breads (it won’t work in a cookie). Try my pumpkin banana bread for a healthy treat

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