Healthy Food Substitutes

Making a few simple food substitutions can help make your diet healthier.

The difference between a diet and a healthy diet can sometimes be as simple as making a few smart food substitutions when eating and/or cooking. Follow these tips the next time you're planning meals and keep your whole family healthy.

• Substitute low-fat or fat-free dairy products for whole milk dairy products. This applies to milk, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, ice cream and other dairy items.

• Substitute lean meat for fattier meats. Try lean ground beef or skinless white meat chicken or turkey. Limit your consumption of deli meats, bacon, sausage, hot dogs and dark meat chicken or turkey with the skin on since they are so high in fat and calories.

• Substitute veggies or tofu for meat. Try a Portobello mushroom burger instead of a beef burger, an eggplant parmesan instead of chicken, or a tofu-veggie stir fry instead of one made with meat.

• Substitute whole-grain products for processed grain products. This applies to bread, cereal, pasta and other grain items. Whole grains retain all of their healthy characteristics, whereas refined grains lose their healthy bran and germ during processing. 

• Substitute fresh herbs for salt. Try this trick when flavoring food to season it without adding so much sodium. Using thyme to flavor popcorn is a delicious way to cut out salt.

• Substitute reduced-calorie, low-fat dressings, dips and condiments for the for full-calorie, full-fat varieties. A healthy sandwich or salad can become a less-than-healthy option when topped with unhealthy condiments.

• Substitute water for other beverages. Drink water instead of soda, fruit juices, smoothies or other beverages and you'll curb not only your calorie intake, but also your consumption of sugar and caffeine.

To learn more about the benefits of healthy eating, talk with your doctor. Need to find a doctor? Use our online Find a Physician service or call our Physician Referral line at 855-880-4625.

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