The past, gosh – 9 years – I’ve been finding ways to better our diet at home. It started with me, moved over to my husband, and now includes the kids! From shifting to a predominantly plant-based diet, to finding healthy takes on classic recipes, I love experimenting in the kitchen! One simple way I have made our food at home more kid and health friendly is by swapping a few key ingredients with healthier alternatives. You can see in some of my previous blog posts I’ve done healthy alternatives for, Super Bowl Snacks, pancakes, and egg sandwiches. Honestly, this is probably some of my favorite work to do – because this is what helps people come over to the health side 🙂 What I mean by that is – if I can make classic, traditional dishes taste amazing with better ingredients – that’s a game changer. And to be clear – there is always room for, well, everything! But the goal is to invite in more of the foods that will nourish your body on a nutrient level.
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With that – let’s get into some of my favorite swaps!
Greek Yogurt to replace sour cream, mayo, heavy cream
Great for times when we would like to have certain dishes that require a thicker texture. You can find this in dairy and non-dairy versions now. Ingredients we have been able to replace with Greek yogurt include; sour cream, mayonnaise, and heavy cream. The taste (or lack thereof lol) that Greek yogurt puts out can often be manipulated with other ingredients to give it the flavor you desire.
A Homemade Catchall Savory Protein to replace grabbing for …anything when hungry
If you need help with the creation of meals that are keeping you full / giving you enough nutrients – I came up with a (near) genius idea. I regularly make a dairy-free parmesan and I just added Further Food collagen peptides to it. Its tasteless so what this allows you to do is – have a cheesy topping that you can keep almost endlessly in your fridge, to top on salad, pasta, PLAIN NOODLES, rice, beans, or mix with some almond milk and make a sauce for quesadillas. This is a small serving for keeps in the fridge, but you can always double this! This is a swap for, well, topping “cheese” 🙂 But also it’s truly a swap for those times when you just keep reaching for food, snacks, etc because nothing is keeping you full. Get AHEAD of the game by adding this to your meals.
1/2 cup almond flour⠀
2 tbsp nutritional yeast⠀
1/2 tsp garlic powder⠀
1/2 tsp salt⠀
1 scoop of Further Food collagen
Unsweetened Applesauce to replace oil
This is something I always keep in the pantry. It’s a good early food for the babes, a snack for the older kids, and it makes an amazing replacement! You can usually use this ingredient instead of oil when baking (I say “usually” because I haven’t tried everything)! When using applesauce – you don’t lose ANY of the flavor or texture (I think it’s honestly better when made with applesauce) and well, food is always better with a little less oil and a little more whole foods, right? If you’re willing to try this swap, you’ll want to use half of the oil required and substitute the other half with applesauce.
Herbs & Spices to replace plain salt and pepper
This is the key to success, my friends! Fresh herbs and spices, rather than the salt-based blends we typically find at the store. I have really enjoyed buying the herbs fresh and using them to flavor various dishes rather than throwing a pinch of salt and pepper on here and there! I may even take my gardening adventures to a whole new level and plant some of them myself this summer (wish me luck). Now, buying herbs can get overwhelming, and possibly expensive and wasteful if not used. My strategy is to buy just one or two each week and use them up until gone – so put them on everything I cook for the week. Parsley, dill, basil and thyme are my 4 favorites that I rotate.
Turmeric is also a great way to inject some flavor while also adding nutritional benefits. Sprinkle Further Food Turmeric on cauliflower with curry powder, salt and pepper and avocado oil and roast in the oven on 350 for 25 minutes or until done. I’ve been using turmeric for many years for back pain. And for many, many, many years – turmeric has been used to reduce inflammation. The specific anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric is CURCUMIN and it’s science-backed healing benefits have been confirmed by many research studies now. That said – it’s important there is regular use. Nothing holistic works overnight.
Dairy-Free Milk to replace cow milk
Well, I’m not going to go too far into this – but for me – cow milk is not on my list. I find I feel much better without it, likely due to the hormones, that I (along with many) don’t have the enzymes needed to break down casein and lactose. If you want to experiment here – give a few different variations of dairy-free milk a try and you will see how quickly your palette will adjust. But, yes, you have to find the right one for you! Some of our favorites are almond milk, oat milk, pea milk and cashew milk. Even macadamia milk is delicious. There are tons of other options and I definitely encourage you to give one a chance if you’ve been considering it. Oh yeah, they are typically lower in calories and fat from cow’s milk too, just make sure you pick one up that is Unsweetened (ie no added sugar).
Homemade Snacks to replace processed snacks
I have absolutely LOVED making some snacks and other easy dishes from scratch that I would typically just buy at the grocery store. But yes, we still do buy some things -we have three very hungry kids! 🙂 Here are some of my favorites to make:
Tortilla chips – drizzle avocado oil on corn tortillas, slice with a pizza cutter in triangles, add some sea salt and cumin and bake!
Chips – we’ve made our own potato, zucchini, sweet potato, and kale chips!
Granola bars – there are tons of super easy and healthy recipes for your own bars! I would just google homemade granola bars. I also have a recipe here for my no-bake Granola Bites!
Frozen Yogurt + Fruit – if your kids love the yogurt covered fruit from the store – you can totally make these from home!
I’d love to hear some of the healthy swaps you’ve made at home! Share your favorites in the comments!