Let’s face it: most of us love food, and the worse it is for us the better. Unfortunately, this is not good news for our waistlines or our health. For me, it seems like I spend more time counting the carbohydrates and calories in a meal than I do cooking and eating it. That said, I have discovered a few ways to enjoy my favorite foods without jeopardizing my diet. Here are some quick and easy substitutes for unhealthy foods.
It will always be easier to run to the store and grab a bag of my favorite brand of sour cream and onion chips in the snack food aisle, but I do have a healthier alternative that is pretty simple. When I need something crispy, I make my own Garlic and Parmesan Sweet Potato Chips. They are just as yummy as they sound and super easy to make.
All you need to do is slice a sweet potato into thin, round chips, toss them in a bowl with olive oil, garlic powder and powdered Parmesan cheese (use as much or as little as you would like), and lay the chips out on a cookie sheet. Cook them at about 400 degrees for ten minutes. Take them out and flip them over before cooking them for another ten minutes (or a few minutes longer if you want them crispier). The sweetness of the potato combined with savory flavor of garlic and Parmesan will be like the Fourth of July in your mouth!
Craving a nice, juicy burger but avoiding bread? Who needs it when you have a head of iceberg lettuce? Simply remove two dry, round leaves and place your burger between them, adding condiments as you normally would. If you don’t want to use lettuce, try chopping your burger up and placing it in a bowl with chopped pickles, onions, shredded cheese, bacon bits, ketchup, mustard and anything else you love to put on your burger to make a tasty burger salad.
Everyone loves pasta, but unfortunately, pasta does not always love us back. Spaghetti noodles are very high in calories and carbohydrates. Throw in our beloved garlic bread, and you may find yourself unable to zip your favorite jeans on the day after your family’s spaghetti night.
Fortunately, I have an alternative. This one’s not for everybody, but it’s actually a lot more delicious than it sounds. Cook your sauce and meat as you normally would, but instead of cooking noodles, head to your local grocery store and purchase a bag of broccoli slaw. Just before serving, empty the bag of slaw into your sauce and meat mixture and cook it just long enough for it to warm up and for the sauce to coat the slaw. The broccoli slaw is not going to be exactly like traditional noodles; it’s crunchier and has more flavor, but the combination is to die for and much, much healthier. I dare you to try it!
Pizza crust is said to be one of the least nutritious foods out there, so finding an alternative is very important for anyone who is worried about their health. What would you say if I told you that not only is there a healthier alternative to pizza crust, but it is full of vegetables, too? This actually works with both spinach and cauliflower, so the preference is all yours.
Simply mix one and a half cups of your shredded vegetable of choice with a drizzle of olive oil, 1 egg, half of a cup of mozzarella cheese and one fourth of a cup of Parmesan cheese. You can also add herbs and spices to taste; I prefer minced garlic, Italian seasoning and pepper. Spread the mixture out on a greased pan and cook at 350 degrees until crispy. Add your favorite pizza topping, put it back in the oven until the cheese is melted, and voila: healthy pizza! Note: if you do choose cauliflower, you might want to cook it in the microwave for a few minutes to soften it up before mixing it with the the cheese, egg and spices.