One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen is “healthify” recipes by taking recipes and substituting more nutritious ingredients for less healthy ones.  Sometimes these experiments come out pretty darn well and others….well hey, I tried!

Here are my 5 fave nutritious food substitutes:

1.Greek Yogurt – there is so much that can be done with Greek yogurt!  I love using the 2% plain version (remember, fat is your friend!) instead of mayonnaise, cream, sour cream, to thicken smoothies, as a base for sauces, and to thicken soups, among endless other uses.  The beauty of the plain stuff is that it’s neutral enough to use for savory dishes and can easily be sweetened with fruit, honey, or stevia!

2.Quinoa – love me some quinoa!  By the way remember this hilarious Bud Light commercial with the guy who mispronounces quinoa but eats it anyway because he’ll do whatever it takes to be healthy and win first place?  I like his style.  I often use it in place of pasta and rice for savory dishes which makes it incredibly versatile.  Just think of how many recipes in which you can use some of what the Incas called “the mother grain” and enjoy way more health benefits.  Don’t forget that quinoa can be used in both savory and sweet dishes too, like oatmeal and baking!

3.Bananas – bananas can be used in so many ways…I like to mash them up and use them in place of eggs, oil, or butter in baking.  The rough rule to follow is one mashed banana equals one egg or one cup of oil but again, keep an eye on it since nailing the right amount of mashed bananas can be tricky if you’re following a more strict baking recipe!  Or test this substitution out on a baking recipe that’s less reliant upon exact amounts of ingredients, like cookies.  Share your experimental baked goods with those you trust to give you their honest opinion!

4.Black Beans – I bet you didn’t expect this, eh?  Drained and rinsed black beans are an awesome substitution for flour in baking recipes that call for chocolate, and for thickening savory dishes like soups.  I know this sounds odd but trust me.  If you haven’t tried the black bean brownie recipe from this post, do yourself a favor and make them this weekend!  Not the most nutritious dessert in the world but hey, a little conscious indulgence here and there is FdLF approved.

5.Cauliflower – you often hear that your plate should contain lots of color, which is true, but cauliflower is a totally nutritious food even though it’s not vibrantly colored!  Pulse cauliflower in the food processor and then sauté for rice, or roast in the oven and mash with milk, olive oil, and whatever goodies you prefer for mashed cauliflower.  Another idea is to roast it with seasonings and a drizzle of oil as an alternative to popcorn.  Super easy and much healthier!

Perfecting substitutions can take a little experimentation, so be open-minded and have some fun with it!  And maybe don’t try a new recipe with a substitution before a fancy dinner party…save it for an easier crowd.

I’d love to know what your favorite food substitutions are, so share away!

Laissez les bons temps roulez et bonne santé,



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PS By the way always check with your primary healthcare provider to make sure that any of the above suggestions don’t interfere negatively with your healthcare program!