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Make the Swap: Better-for-You Substitutes

Make the Swap: Better-for-You Substitutes

October 03, 2017

Here at ThinTea, quick fixes are not our cup of tea. We do not believe in starving ourselves to reach our weight goals and we’re all about embracing a lifestyle of loving our bodies. Most of the time, restrictive, dangerously low-calorie diets can be unsustainable and may even lead to a yo-yo effect. Substituting is one of the first steps, not to mention the easiest, in eating more healthfully. That means we don’t have to completely give up all our favourite food-- we just have to switch some ingredients to more nutrient-dense and healthier alternatives. Here are a few substitutions that can be easily integrated into our most loved recipes.

Carb Cutters

  • Use zucchini strips or spaghetti squash instead of pasta. Not only does it save you some cooking time but it largely brings down your recipe’s carb content.
  • Croutons in salads are pretty much counterintuitive. Replace it with roasted nuts to bump up protein and good fats. Similarly, coarsely ground nuts or flaxseeds may be used as bread crumbs substitutes.
  • Salad greens like lettuce may be used in place of pita or flour tortillas and wraps. It makes the meal taste fresher and you don’t get to consume as much carbs.
  • Toss some kale or spinach in olive oil and a bit of salt and roast until crispy instead of cracking open a bag of potato chips. It is just as addicting.

Sugar Slashers

  • Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute for sugar in baking recipes. A 1:1 ratio is perfect but you have to reduce the amount of liquid by a quarter cup. You may also use mashed bananas but it has a much stronger flavour than apple sauce.
  • Cacao nibs, the choco chips’ early form, would make a nice replacement for recipes requiring chocolate chips. Less sugar and more anti-oxidants.
  • If presentation is not an issue, swap white wine with red wine. It’s mostly less sweeter and it has more cancer and cholesterol-fighting compounds. Leave the white wine for during dinner.

Fat Pinchers

  • Whole eggs aren’t really bad for you but if you want to cut your fat and caloric intake, use the egg whites of two eggs for every whole egg in a recipe. More protein, less calories. Save the yolks for custards or homemade ice cream—for a splurge day.
  • Avocados are fatty but it’s the good kind. It can easily be an alternative to butter. A large whole avocado is usually enough for a batch of brownies or muffins.
  • Almond milk arguably tastes better in drinks like coffee or smoothies plus it’s better for you than dairy.
  • Heavy cream is just heavenly but it packs a lot of fat and calories. Use coconut milk instead. It’s lighter but has a more defined flavour.

Sodium Swaps

  • Bump up the taste by adding more herbs, garlic or onion powder to recipes in place of a certain amount of salt. These aromatics definitely mask the fact that your dish has less salt than usual.
  • Store-bought tomato sauce is usually riddled with sodium and preservatives. Make your own and use the above trick. In pizzas, better to use sliced fresh tomatoes in place of sauce to really bring down the sodium content. It’s easier and it’s an interesting take on the usual pizza. The salt in cheese should be enough to give it the seasoning it needs.

These substitutes would seem rather alien at first but that’s just exactly what they are. They are different but not necessarily inferior in terms of taste and texture, so give them a chance.

And to complement your alternative approach to your signature recipes, make ThinTea’s Detox and Fat Burn blends a part of your daily routine. They give the health and fitness-focused lifestyle a huge boost.