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Traditional meals with healthy alternatives.

Updated: Jan 10, 2021

Cooking healthy dishes that your family likes can be challenging! We tend to stick with simple dishes we have been making for years as we know the preparation that goes into the dish and what ingredients we must have on hand. Next time you are planing to make a favorite dish ask yourself, "How can I make this a bit healthier?"

Lasagna: add spinach and use fresh or canned tomatoes instead of the prepared, high sodium spaghetti sauce. Reduce the amount of cheese used and use whole wheat noodles.

Soups: stick with broth-based soups rather than cream-based to avoid fat and calories.

Eggs: stick to using just the egg whites, avoid added cheese and bulk up your dish with onions, peppers, spinach and tomatoes. You will be surprised how much bulk this will add as well as a large amount of vitamins and fiber!

Hamburger dishes: choose at least 90% lean ground beef and be sure to drain AND rinse the meat before adding it to dishes.

Hamburgers: starting with lean ground beef, try adding mashed black beans or sweet potatoes for added bulk and nutrition. Onions and peppers and mushrooms will add lots of flavor without the calories!

Skip the bun and use a piece of romaine lettuce. This will be messy but worth the switch from the traditional, high-carb bun.

Bread: choose a bread that is lower in calories and high in fiber. My favorite is ezekiel bread. You will find this in the freezer section of your grocery store. It is best stored in the refrigerator to extend the life of the bread as it will mold quickly.

Also, opt for an open-faced sandwich.

Salad: opt for spinach or the darkest leafy greens you can find. Top your salad with any veggies you can get your hands on, feta cheese in place of a shredded, soft cheese. I like to add vinegar-based foods such as pickles and sauerkraut. This will reduce the amount of salad dressing needed. Speaking of salad dressing, salsa is a great alternative to the traditional dressing as is red wine vinegar.

TIP: when using a low-fat or full fat dressing, add the dressing to the side of the salad and dip your fork into the dressing prior to each bite. You will end up using only a trace amount of dressing.

Meatloaf: use egg whites rather than the whole egg, add shredded carrots or cauliflower and use oatmeal or quinoa in place of the bread crumbs.

Rice: substitute with quinoa or cauliflower rice

Sour cream: substitute greek yogurt

Butter and oil : substitute with applesauce

Mashed potatoes: mashed cauliflower

The next time you are planning your meal, look at the ingredients and find ways to add bulk, fiber, vitamins and minerals to the meal while still enjoying the taste of the dish!

Until next time, take care!

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