Sometimes, you just want pasta. Or a burger, or a huge serving of potato salad. But eating carb-heavy food can leave you feeling too full, and isn’t always the best thing for your health. However, there are so many creative ways you can cook your favorite dishes, but make them a little lighter. Using cauliflower to make rice is one example, while zucchini is a great alternative to pasta if you’re craving mac and cheese. Here are 10 tips to lighten up your favorite dishes.
1. Replace Rice with Cauliflower
A few years ago, someone decided to replace white rice with cauliflower. Since then, cauliflower has become a trending replacement in everything from pasta dishes to pizza crust. You can even use cauliflower to replace other grains, such as couscous or quinoa. This recipe for Mediterranean cauliflower rice is a perfect alternative to a grain-heavy dish.
2. Utilize Spaghetti Squash
If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, this is one vegetable you need to try. Spaghetti squash is a variety of winter squash, similar to butternut or delicate. However, the flesh is light and stringy, with a similar texture to spaghetti. Cut the squash in half and roast until the flesh is easily scooped out with a fork. Add some marinara sauce and you’ve got a lighter version of spaghetti ready to go!
3. Cook from Scratch
Many carb-heavy meals contain grains or dairy, and some recipes make it tempting to buy pre-made ingredients to complete your meal. A good example of this is pizza. Store-bought pizza dough is often full of unhealthy additives and unnecessary fats. Making your own pizza dough is a breeze, and it tastes better too. Fresh pizza dough is a simple recipe with all-purpose flour, warm water, salt and yeast. Either throw it on the grill or bake it in the oven for a delicious meal in just a few minutes.
4. Utilize Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayo
Mayonnaise is in many comfort foods, including potato salad, deviled eggs and coleslaw. Consider using Greek yogurt as a replacement. Not only is it a lighter option, but it adds a great texture similar to mayo while having the added health benefit of probiotics.
5. Zoodles for Noodles
Zoodles are noodles made from zucchini. But you can make noodles from all sorts of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, butternut squash and carrots. These dishes are so much more colorful than your regular noodle recipes. One recipe to try is Thai peanut sweet potato noodles, where the sweet potato replaces the egg noodles commonly used in this dish.
6. Make Your Own Salad Dressing
Salad dressings can dress up even the most boring of greens, but many storebought options are full of unhealthy vegetable oils and hidden sugars. Homemade salad dressing is easy to make, and can last for a few days to a couple of weeks in your fridge, depending on the recipe. Keeping a few basics on hand, including olive oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard and lemon juice ensures that you have easy options right at your fingertips.
7. Make Vegan Ice Cream
Sometimes you need a few bites or a whole pint of ice cream. But all that dairy may not always sit so well in your stomach. Vegan ice cream is an easy alternative you can make at home with simple ingredients. Try vanilla coconut ice cream made with coconut milk, maple syrup and sea salt.
8. Eat Dark Chocolate
If you’re craving sweets, consider using dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate has numerous health benefits and is an easy alternative to using milk chocolate. A square of dark chocolate is a great alternative to a processed candy bar, too!
9. Try Pasta Alternatives
In addition to zoodles and cauliflower rice, there are all sorts of alternatives to grain on the market to fix your favorite meals. Try using chickpea flour is your favorite mac and cheese recipe, or rice pasta as a gluten-free alternative.
10. Use Ground Turkey Instead of Beef
Sometimes you just need a burger or tacos and the veggie options aren’t going to cut it. If you are looking to make something traditionally made with beef, try using ground turkey or chicken instead. These options are lighter and better for your health than beef. And they’ll still taste just as delicious!
Healthy Recipe Alternatives
Sometimes you just need comfort food, like potato salad or a cup of ice cream. Using simple alternative ingredients, you can make a lighter version of your favorite meal with no extra hassle. Vegetables like zucchini, sweet potato and spaghetti squash can easily replace grains, while coconut milk makes awesome dairy-free ice cream. Whatever your craving to eat, consider these 10 tips to lighten up your favorite dishes, while still enjoying a delicious meal.
Article Submitted By Community Writer