It’s time for a rousing game of…dramatic pause with drumroll…Eat This Not That! – both an exciting and educational game in which two different foods are listed side by side, and you are told why you should replace the unhealthy food, with the healthy food.
So what, you may be thinking to yourself, is the game part of this… game? Trying the substitutions 🙂 I can tell you from firsthand experience, that just like spinning the Big Wheel, or playing Plinko, it is a gamble trying out some of these substitutions. In theory they are great. But at my current level of cooking prowess, I am in no position to advocate all of these food exchanges. However I’m certain for the average person, making the substitutions is easy peasy. As for me, I am lucky to get the oil/applesauce switch right. So for both the average cook, and more culinary daring folk, here is a comprehensive list of tried and true substitutions that help cut out unnecessary fat, boost fiber/protein consumption, all without substituting flavor.
Behind Door #1:
Rolled Oats/Bran Cereal for Breadcrumbs – Substitute rolled oats or crushed bran cereal for breadcrumbs in foods like meatballs, or breaded chicken. WHY? Cutting out empty carbs and replacing them with fiber is a GREAT way to flatten the stomach and boost digestion.
Behind Door #2:
Spinach for Iceberg Lettuce—Substitute any need you have for Iceberg lettuce with Spinach, or ANYTHING with a deep green color. WHY? You will get SOOOOOOO much more bang for your buck. Besides containing more vitamins and minerals, spinach has three times as much folic acid than iceberg lettuce, which, in a nut shell enhances one’s ability to lose weight.
Behind Door #3:
Brewers Yeast for Cheese – Substitute shredded cheese on salads with a sprinkle of Brewers Yeast. WHY? Cheese is loaded with saturated fats, which can quickly turn a healthy salad into a calorie sucking hole. Brewers Yeast helps cheese lovers lessen their grip on cheese by adding the same cheesy flavor to any salad.
Behind Door #4:
Avocado for Butter – Substitute half of the butter in any cookie recipe with mashed avocado. WHY? You will reduce the fat content by almost HALF, and reduce the number of calories by nearly as much. You still get the creaminess of butter, and the fatty taste and won’t even taste the difference. NOTE: your cookies may come out with a hint of green.
Behind Door #5:
Beans for Flour/Shortening—Substitute straight across pureed black beans for flour/shortening in any brownie recipe. Put the whole can of beans into your blender of choice and blend until smooth. If you use boxed mixes, still add in the extra beans. WHY? It will lessen the fat content of the brownie while majorly boosting the fiber. Having tried this substitution a few times, I can soundly say this is a GREAT switch. You can’t taste the difference and the brownies come out very moist and dense.
Behind Door #6:
Nuts & Seeds for Pretzels – Substitute mindlessly snacking on pretzels with nuts and seeds. WHY? Nuts and seeds are loaded with fiber and protein, which will satisfy your craving for a crunchy snack, and will keep you fuller longer. Pretzels are just empty carbs with no health benefits. Be careful however, because some nuts are high in calories. If you’re a mindless eater with a need for a food to keep you busy for hours on end, stick with sunflower seeds.
Behind Door #7:
Applesauce for oil – Substitute straight across vegetable oil with applesauce in any baked good recipe. WHY? The applesauce will keep any baked good moist and delicious while easily cutting out saturated fats and calories in vegetable oil.
Behind Door #8:
Cauliflower for Rice – Substitute your side of rice or potatoes with sautéed cauliflower. Break up cauliflower into tiny rice size pieces and sauté them in olive oil and garlic. WHY? Cauliflower is a healthier carb with a lower glycemic index than rice. Your blood levels won’t spike after eating cauliflower like they do when eating potatoes or rice. It is that spike in insulin that leads to further carb cravings.
Behind Door #9:
Yogurt for Sour Cream – Substitute any sour cream based veggie dip with plain yogurt. WHY? Yogurt is lower in fat and calories. Add a packet of Ranch dip seasoning to yogurt and you won’t even be able to tell the difference. So whether it be to dip veggies, potato chips, or pizza in, yogurt is a leaner option.
Behind Door #10:
Sliced Zucchini for Lasagna Noodles—Substitute lasagna noodles with lengthwise, thin slices of zucchini or eggplant. WHY? Pasta noodles are wasted carbs, which will spike insulin. Zucchini/eggplant are full of fiber and will help keep you fuller longer and help you eat less.
Behind Door #11:
Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate — Last but not least, make sure your chocolaty indulgence is in the form of dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. WHY? Dark chocolate is richer and will satisfy that sweet tooth quicker, so you don’t have to eat as much chocolate. It is packed with anti oxidants, which will help you feel happier and healthier. Just remember the key to eating chocolate: moderation.
Here is a great recipe for Amazing Black Bean Brownies to put your newfound knowledge to the test. I’ve tried this recipe a few times and it is delicious. Just make sure you blend the black beans thoroughly before adding them into the batter. When I firstmade these I didn’t have a blender so, I mashed the beans in a Ziploc bag instead. Epic fail. Lesson learned: if you don’t have a blender, don’t try this recipe.