Auburn, Ala.- When it comes to finding healthy substitutes for your cooking and baking, there are many options you probably have never thought about.
Trading out some of your typical ingredients for healthier ones does not mean you have to stop eating your favorite foods all together. In fact, you may already have these substitute ingredients in your pantry.
Dr. Tamara Warren, an Alabama Extension specialist in human nutrition, diet and health, recommends nine substitutes for your next meal.
- Olive oil/Coconut oil instead of Vegetable Oil
“Coconut oil is high in saturated fats, whereas, olive oil has unsaturated fats,” Warren said. “Replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, you gain health benefits such as lower risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol and blood sugar control.” While olive oil is a good substitute for vegetable oil, it is high in calories so people should use this in moderation.
- Coconut Flour Instead of All-Purpose Flour
Coconut flour is high in nutrients such as fiber, protein and healthy fats. Also, coconut flour is low in sugar, carbohydrates and calories. Coconut flour is recommended for individuals with gluten sensitivity. “When using coconut flour instead of all-purpose flour in baked goods, increase the amount of eggs,” Warren said. “If whole eggs are not substituted for healthier alternatives such as egg whites, calories and fats increase.”
- Low fat Cottage Cheese instead of Cream Cheese
Cottage cheese has numerous health benefits such as a rich source of calcium and protein, and it also helps maintain a healthy body weight. However, Warren suggests, “Low fat cottage cheese is high in sodium, do not overindulge.”
- Avocado instead of Butter
If you can find a meal to substitute butter, avocados are always a good option. “Avocados are high in healthy fats. They have a variety of nutrients, no cholesterol and no sodium,” Warren added. “Avocados can lower cholesterol and
triglyceride levels.” Butter is a solid saturated fat. Try eating a piece of avocado toast for breakfast instead of butter toast.
- Almond Milk instead of Whole Milk
Almond milk is made from almonds. It is low in fat and high in energy, proteins and fiber. “Almond milk helps in reducing/maintaining blood pressure, aids in maintaining good health of kidneys, helps strengthen muscles, skin, and organs, beneficial in improving vision, and helps boost your immune system,” Warren said.
- Stevia Instead of Sugar
Instead of adding a spoon full of pure sugar into your morning coffee, try a sugar substitute like Stevia. “Stevia is a zero calorie sweetener. Stevia can lower blood pressure, blood sugar levels and could help fight diabetes,” Warren said.
- Chia Seeds Instead of Bread Crumbs.
“Chia seeds are high in calcium . They are a good protein source and support digestion,” Warren said. Incorporate the seeds into almost any meal and the health benefits are substantial.
- Quinoa Instead of Rice
“Quinoa is gluten free, high in protein fiber and some antioxidants and contains all nine essential amino acids.,” Warren said. This is a better substitute for white rice. This is a good option for individuals with gluten sensitivity.
- Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream
When it comes to substituting sour cream, Greek yogurt is the option with the best benefits. “Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, which is important in cell growth, building muscle and repairing tissue,” Warren said. “Yogurt is also packed with probiotics that are great for the digestive system..