Foodie February – Replace This With That


There has been a popular movement within the last few years (I think mainly started as a result of this book) to try and replace “bad” foods with “good” foods in your diet. The theory is that you will save calories and still be satisfied.

Just a quick internet search found these blogs about this subject too:

There are plenty more people jumping on this band wagon – just do a quick online search. And, well… so am I.

My husband and I started experimenting here and there with changing out some ingredients and it has worked out well. I use olive oil almost all the time instead of any kind of other oil. (I did use an actually stick of margarine to grease up my pan for our pancakes this weekend though. There are just some things olive oil does not go with…)

Recently, I made an alfredo sauce from cauliflower. I used this website’s recipe.

It turned out really well and even my “when I die they will find alfredo where my blood should be” husband said he couldn’t tell the difference. Here’s the thing – you do taste the difference, but it’s so slight you really won’t miss it. To be honest, I’ve made homemade alfredo sauce before and it’s really chock-full of unhealthy ingredients. Have you had leftover alfredo sauce? The way it congeals to a plate should be your first sign that it’s not doing any good inside your body. So the cauliflower was a good option. It made a ton and did not congeal at any point.

I’ve heard of using applesauce in cakes and cookies for added moistness. I haven’t tried that, but I can assume it works since so many people talk about it. We tend to not make a lot of sweets in our house so I just haven’t given that one a go yet.

Certainly you can cut all sorts of crappy food out of your life and replace it with veggie based things, but I am not a vegetarian. I like meat too much. What I try to do, though, is replace some things with vegetables.

For instance: I just stumbled upon the whole kale thing. Did you know that you can bake kale (a dark green, leafy vegetable) and it comes out crispy? Add a little salt or other seasoning (I bet Old Bay would be good…) and it gives that salty tasting nibble you’re craving. A bunch of kale makes enough “chips” to get satisfy a small craving and you didn’t waste calories. Plus, to be honest, I think kale might be cheaper than a bag of chips.

Have you noticed all the pre-packaged foods in the stores these days? I can’t stand most of them. Recently a friend of mine lamented how she was going to buy a package of pre-made enchiladas, but it was like $7 for a package of 6 enchiladas. That’s more than $1 a piece! She made her own instead. They were better for her, cost less (because she made more), and probably tasted a whole lot better. We always have tortillas, ground beef (or you could just use all beans to be even healthier) and cheese on hand – get some enchilada sauce and you’re good to go!

I like trying to make food without buying the pre-packaged stuff. I think my dad taught me this. He loved an Egg McMuffin from McDonald’s, but we lived in the country and it was a drive to get to McD’s, especially in the mornings. So he figured out how to make it himself. He would take two eggs, scramble them, put them in a microwave-safe dish, and nuke them. He’d have an English muffin toasting at the same time. Add a slice of American cheese and you’re all set. Later, I learned to use egg beaters – this saves time and calories. Plus you can add spices to fit your needs and add any kind of meat or cheese options you like. A customized McMuffin!

And not to get McDonald’s peeved at me, but do you know how many calories you’d save and how much sodium you’d delete from your diet if you made your own and didn’t go there everyday? I think it’s always better to know what you’re putting in your body. McD’s is great and I love me a burger and a shamrock shake (out now!), but you can’t do that stuff every day.

All in all I think it’s easy to make small substitutions in your diet. Not only does it help save some calories, but it’s better overall for your body. I think it’s also helped me to appreciate food more. There is more taste to things now. All that pre-packaged stuff tastes the same. Eat something fresh once in a while – your body will thank you for it.

Give some of these substitutions a try and let me know what ones you have tried – maybe I haven’t thought of them yet!


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