(photo credit: Courtesy)
We all know how to eat healthfully – lots of fresh fruits and
vegetables, lean meat, fish or other types of low-fat protein, whole
grains and several glasses of water a day. If only life were that
simple, we’d all be slim, trim and full of energy. But all too often,
cravings, temptations and poor eating habits get the better of us, and
we consume foods that do us more harm than good.
In that regard,
there are many ways to substitute such foods with more healthful
versions without compromising on flavor or satisfaction. Here are just a
For breakfast, instead of a high calorie stack
of pancakes, you can whip up what I like to call a brancake. Take two
eggs, three tablespoons of wheat bran (it comes in a plastic bag and
looks like sawdust), some sweetener (brown sugar or artificial
sweetener), a dash of vanilla and a splash of water. Beat it all with a
fork and pour the mixture into a small fry pan that is sizzling with
some butter. Let it brown well on one side, then flip it over with a
spatula and let it brown on the other side. When it’s done, put the
brancake on a plate and top it with some unsweetened jam (like St.
Dalfour’s) and/or a dollop of low-fat cottage cheese or sour cream, and
you’ve got a delicious and filling way to start the day. For extra
nourishment, you can add some ground flaxseed to the mixture.
breakfast option is baked French toast. Instead of frying up all those
pieces of egg-soaked white bread, use whole-grain bread soaked in beaten
eggs. Place them on a cookie sheet that is greased with some butter or
cooking spray, and bake them in the oven until each side is golden
brown. They will rise and be a delightful treat that uses a fraction of
the butter or oil you would have used otherwise.
For lunch or
dinner, there are myriads of superb salads and thousands of ways to
prepare healthful helpings of fish, chicken or beef. But for the meat
and potatoes crowd, there are several secrets to substituting spuds. The
most common way is to use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, as
they are more nutritious. But did you know that celery root, or
celeriac, has the same consistency as white potatoes? This root
vegetable can be used as a side dish that looks and tastes like mashed
potatoes, with a hint of celery flavor and without the high carbohydrate
count. You can also use celeriac to make oven fries by slicing them and
placing them on a greased cookie sheet and baking them until they turn
crisp and golden.
root vegetable that can replace potatoes are parsnips. These
vegetables, which look like pale carrots, can be sliced and baked like
oven fries to render a crunchy, low-calorie side dish or snack.
speaking of snacks, there are many calorie-conscious ways to satisfy
one’s sweet tooth. In the mood for ice cream? Try freezing some
individual containers of 3% chocolate or vanilla puddings. Take one out
of the freezer, wrap a kitchen towel around the container (it’s very
cold to hold in your hand) and slowly dig in with a fork. It is just as
satisfying as ice cream, and for people who have a problem with portion
control, that one container will do the trick, whereas a full tub of ice
cream might be too hard to resist (I know).
Another way to
satisfy the ice cream craving is with a frozen banana. Peel a banana,
mash it and put it in a container in the freezer. A frozen banana has a
similar consistency to ice cream and makes a great snack when you’re in
the mood for something cold and sweet.
As for chocolate, my
favorite chocolate bar is Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut milk chocolate.
Granted, this suggested substitute does not compare in flavor or sublime
gratification, but it does serve its purpose in staving off a sugar
binge. In a small bowl, place several squares of a 60% dark chocolate
bar; a handful of natural shelled almonds (unsalted); and a handful of
dark raisins. Now snack away. You’d be amazed at how satisfying that is
and how it will not trigger a craving for more sugar.
would summer be without some cool shakes and smoothies? My favorite is a
melon shake. Simply take chunks of a sweet honeydew melon (green
inside) and two handfuls of ice cubes and puree it in a blender until it
is smooth and frothy. This shake is so naturally thick and delicious
that if you hadn’t made it yourself, you’d swear there was milk and
sugar in it.
does include some milk and sugar is an Orange Julep, or Orange Julius.
In a blender, place the juice of two fresh oranges, a half cup of 1%
milk, some sweetener, a dash of vanilla and a handful of ice cubes.
Blend, pour into a tall glass, sit out in the sunshine or under the
stars and enjoy!