healthy recipes a guide to ingredient substitutions

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Healthy Recipes: A Guide To Ingredient Substitutions

Eating healthy is something we all need to do if we wish to live long, healthy, productive lives. Eating healthy is not always as easy as the dieting commercials and ads make it sound. Many of us have deep-rooted habits and patterns of eating that are hard to break. Whether it is a rewarding pint of ice cream, a plate of fried chicken, or mashed potatoes piled to the heavens but butter, we all have our bad habits. Just like any habit or addiction, the best way to beat the problem is by substituting something in its place. Unfortunately, when it comes to food it becomes difficult to find alternatives that are both healthy and taste good. Many substitute foods are cardboard like in taste and can make even the most committed dieter fall into cravings. However, some great alternatives can make anyone’s transition into healthy eating a lot easier.

What are the basics?

The most important thing to remember when trying to substitute one food or ingredient for another is that it has to either still taste good, or not add any flavor at all. While most of us can handle something like tofu, which simply takes on the taste of anything else it is eaten with; nobody wants to substitute a greasy chicken leg for a pile of sardines. Your healthy substitute must either find a proper balance between taste and healthy eating, or simply not detract from the rest of the healthy meal. It is also important not to rely on just one substitute. Often there are multiple substitutes you can use for ingredients and foods. Finding the two or three that work for you, (whether for the same dish or multiple dishes) helps you avoid those unhealthy alternatives.

What Needs to Be Removed?

If you see high levels of any fats, sugars, syrups, or carbohydrates, then it is likely wise to remove them as soon as possible. Temptation can only be fought for so long if you do not prepare for the inevitability of missteps. Stress like a hard day at work, school, or in general can cause one to run for fatty comfort foods. Food items that have to be removed form anyone’s list of meals is as follows: Any friend or deep fried meats, vegetables, or other concoctions. Bacon, chips, ice cream, and any confectionary should be removed. Butter and margarine should be kept to a minimum. Dressings and sauces with high sodium or saturated fats should also be removed or at least kept to a bare minimum. The main thing to look out for is excess of anything.

Protein Substitutes

Protein can be substituted in one of two ways. Either the protein item can be replaced by a better version of the same product, or the protein item can be substituted for an entirely new item. For instance, one can trade in a fatty cut of beefsteak for a more lean version. One can also simply eat some quality tofu product instead and avoid the beef altogether. Meats have plenty of good nutrients in them, but there are often substitutes to eating meat directly. There are eggs, tofu, nuts, and even certain vegetables that hold useful levels of protein in them. A decent sized omelet can carry as much protein as a small cut of fatty meat. The omelet will also be absorbed by the body fast and with greater efficiency.

Carbohydrates Substitutes

Like protein substitution, carbohydrates are dealt with in much the same manner. One can either choose a better version of the food type, or pick a different food altogether. While carbohydrates can be good for a person in proper doses, too high a dose of simple carbohydrates is detrimental to any dieter. Consuming complex carbohydrates instead lowers the chance of overloading your blood sugar levels and causing your body to go into “survival mode.” Eating brown rice and wheat instead of processed white bread, or wholegrain pasta is a great healthy alternative. Eating wheat is generally the easiest way to avoid simple carbs in breads and tortillas. Quite often carbohydrate craving can also be nourished by protein and water. Try eating natural granola and chugging a glass of water and see if your craving doesn’t pass. Many find themselves believing they crave carbohydrates when really they are just slightly dehydrated and a little peckish.

Processed Sugar Substitutes

Unlike the prior two substitutes, processed sugars are simply`best to stay away from. Instead of going for the processed goods, try to consume natural sugars. Processed sugars are a surefire way to cause your body to hold onto the calories you take in and turn them into fat. Eating natural sugars, while still sugar, is more easily utilized by the body. This means that natural sugars will not turn into fat quite as quickly as processed. Using ingredients like honey or fruits instead of sugar in yogurt or with cereal is a fantastic healthy substitute. Not only will your body’s cravings for sugar be subsided, but you will also be eating items that are good for you. If you simply must have an old item that is too sugary for your diet, there are often reduced-sugar alternatives. Be careful with these substitutes, however. Some are not as healthy as they claim to be. You still have saturated fats and carbohydrates to worry about. When able, it is best to simply stick with food t(at is natural and healthy.

Sodium Substitutes

Items like seasoning salts can be easily substituted with the onion and garlic salt. Both onions and garlic have plenty of flavor and can be added to a meal in seconds. It only takes 30 seconds to chop up an onion. There is simply no reason to spoil an otherwise healthy meal with high sodium. Soy sauce is another salty culprit. There is a plethora of other sauces that can be used in its place. If you simply must have soy sauce, then there is always the reduced-sodium version.

Image credited to fitnessmagazine.com; getfityou.com; beautifulcanvas.org; 39clues.wikia.com

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