Let's face it-we all have those sugary, salty, or fried foods we crave. And we know they aren't exactly the pinnacle of health, but that doesn't make us want them any less. So I decided to consult a few of the best nutritionists in search of food substitutes that might even satisfy Paula Deen (or, well, at least her doctor).
And guess what? They're out there. And in addition to being healthy, they're super tasty, too. Best of all, once you get in the habit of eating healthy, your body stops craving the unhealthy or fattening stuff so much. (Yes-these days I can visit a bakery and salivate for fresh pineapple over the chocolate croissant!) No matter what you're craving, try out one these tasty food swaps, inspired by one of my favorite nutritionists, Renata Petecka.
Try: Zucchini PastaThere's nothing like a big bowl of pasta. For the same effect, minus the carb overload, take a zucchini and use a julienne peeler to shave off long, pasta-like pieces. Toss the strands with your favorite pasta sauce, like pesto or a tomato-based sauce that's low in salt and sugar. It's refreshing, light, and a perfect summertime dish.
Try: Faux Chocolate Pudding
Can't get enough chocolate? Make your own naturally sweet chocolate pudding by blending a banana, 1/4 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup dates, 1 / 8 cup water, and 1 tsp vanilla extract in your blender. Chill for 30 minutes, then enjoy this creamy, delicious treat!
Try: Kale Chips
They're not exactly like potato chips, but kale chips can be just as tasty. To make them, cut a bunch of kale into four inch pieces and coat lightly with olive oil and nutritional yeast, found in stores like Whole Foods. Then lay out the pieces onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. They'll come out light and crispy, and they'll melt in your mouth.
Try: Homemade Strawberry or Peach Sorbet
Need a dessert fix that takes the place of ice cream? Grab a 10-ounce bag of frozen strawberries (or peaches), 1 slice of unsweetened dried pineapple, and 1 orange or nectarine. Blend them together in a high-powered blender until smooth, and enjoy a refreshing (and totally natural) sorbet.
Try: A Bean Burger
No, there's nothing quite like red meat, but for a lighter option, try this vegetarian bean burger. You'll need:
- 2 cans of black beans (no salt added), with liquid reserved
- 2 cups of brown rice, cooked
- 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
This article was originally published on The Daily Muse. For more healthy living advice, check out:
Too Busy for Breakfast? 7 Quick, Healthy Recipe Ideas
Want to Try a Cleanse? Do it the Right Way
Why Your Grocery List Needs a Makeover
About the Author: Ilana Arazie is a writer, host, and video producer. Her blog, Downtown Dharma, is all about finding zen in the city and has been featured on The Huffington Post and Psychology Today. You can also find her writing on the Associated Press, Chicago Sun-Times, Travel Channel, Gawker, Yahoo, and other great media outlets. She lives in peace in New York City.