13 Ingredient Swaps for Healthier Cooking

Eating healthy seems like a chore, but it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t have to mean swapping burgers for kale salads. Don’t believe us - just take a look at these 13 tips for living a healthier lifestyle. Incorporate a few into your weekly routine and before you know it, you’ll notice the eating healthy is about making smarter choices.

1. Substitute Black Beans for Flour In Your Brownie Recipes

The Minimalist Baker

Brownies don’t have to be unhealthy if you follow this recipe from the Minimalist Baker. For these vegan (and gluten-free) brownies, you’ll swap flour with black beans and barely notice the difference. Plus the brownies are loaded with fiber and healthy omega-3s. Get the recipe here.

2. Boost Your Smoothie

The Road to Less Cake

Easiest way to add some extra health into your life? Drink it. We’ve pulled together a list of 10 healthy ingredients that can be added to your morning smoothie.

3. Ditch the Lays and Make Your Own Veggie Chips


As a general healthy living tip, pretty much everything in the vending machine should be off limits. But if you are jonesing for some potato chips, veggie chips can be a great option without the guilt.

4. Learn to Love Fruit Leather


Nostalgia aside - remember Fruit Rollups? - fruit leather is a healthy treat that both kids and adults can enjoy. With pureed fruit and a little natural sweetener, fruit leather can be the perfect snack for anyone with a sweet tooth.

5. Add Some More Whole Grains To Your Life


Skip the white bread and add some healthy grains into your diet. Lucky for you we’ve created a handy guide on how to buy and cook the most popular whole grains.

6. Sneak Some Spinach In


If you’re not a big veggie person, sneaking them into dishes is a time honored trick that works with kids and picky eaters. In this case, we recommend trying one of our 11 recipes that “sneaK” a healthy serving of spinach in your meal.

7. Swap Avocado for Butter

Cafe Mom

In most baking recipes, you can swap avocado for butter or eggs - just follow the advice of blogger Cafe Mom and substitute 1 cup of pureed avocado for 1 cup butter or two cups of pureed avocado for every one egg.

8. Make Some Quinoa Cookies

One of the hardest things about sticking to a healthy diet is having to skip dessert. Or you could always try a healthy alternative, like these quinoa cookies from Tone it Up.

9. Try out Cauliflower Rice

The Kitchn

Cauliflower rice is super easy to make and is a great substitute for the nutritionally-weak white rice. It’s versatile, healthy and can be served in place of regular rice in any dish.

10. Substitute Greek Yogurt for Fats

Greek yogurt is pretty great on it’s own, especially if you go with the non or low fat versions. Did you also know that you can swap Greek yogurt in place of fats like mayo, sour cream, butter and oil in most recipes? Don’t believe us? Try it out and see...you’ll become a believer.

11. Go Vegan and Try Nutritional Yeast

Our Fresh Kitchen

Vegan’s have known for a while now that nutritional yeast is a great (and healthy) substitute for regular cheese - it’s nutty, cheesy and slightly salty. Just look at the above and tell us you wouldn’t think that was made with some sharp cheddar.

12. Lettuce Wraps Instead of Tortillas

Damn Delicious

If you have to go with tortillas, corn ones will be healthier than flour. Or you could go with lettuce wraps - you have to make some sacrifices if you need to have a dollop of sour cream along with your tacos.

13. Experience Your First Zoodles

White On Rice Couple

Have a saucy dinner planned? Swap out noodles, even the healthier kinds, with Zoodles. What are Zoodles? Noodles made out of spiralized Zucchini. Once you get the hang of making them, they are a great healthy alternative to regular or wheat pasta.

Header image: Garlic-Mint Yogurt Spread recipe from CHOW

Dan McKay is a Canadian actor, film director, screenwriter, and musician—oh wait, that's Ryan Gosling. Dan is a Philly-based freelance writer, photographer, and digital marketer. He has written for Eater and Thrillist, in addition to other publications. Outside of work, you might run across him in the Asian market or in one of Philly’s local drinking establishments.

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