Saturday, 24 November 2012

But I just CAN'T live without.....

Healthier Substitutions to the Rescue!! 

People always say I could never live with out ____________fill in with your favorite food (potato chips, fettuccine alfredo, poutine etc.) and I can totally understand that. I could never give up chocolate, no matter how hard I try! I firmly believing having an all-or-none mentality can do much more harm than good. For example, if you tell yourself ice cream is completely forbidden, you have a bad day, wind up at the grocery store and end up purchasing and consuming an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s, in one sitting which you definitely DIDN’T need. It's much better to have balance in your life and treat yourself everyone once and awhile with moderate portion sizes to avoid deprivation. Note, this is not okay for people who have severe allergies or intolerances. A true celiac disease individual must avoid all forms of gluten as it can be extremely harmful to the lining of their gut and cause permanent damage. For people with allergies or those looking  for healthier subtitutions I have offered some suggestions below.

For lower carb/ gluten-free options for many common dishes.

1. Spaghetti squash for pasta noodles- this is one of my favorites! Spaghetti squash has an amazing texture, a fraction of the carbohydrates, GF friendly and chocked full of nutrients. Here I substitute it in a spaghetti dish, and in a tomato and mushroom pasta dish as a side to my grilled beef tenderloin.  I cut in half and roasted in the oven for the best flavour and texture. 

2. Riced cauliflower for rice- Rice is naturally GF (except certain boxed mixes that sometimes contain barley as well), however riced califlower makes a nice change. You can also substitute mashed califlower for mashed potatoes in many recipes. she also has a link to her riced califlower recipe on this page

3. Cauliflower crust for pizza or breadsticks- this is really good and super easy to make. A great alternative and you can always sub the parmesean cheese for nutritional yeast.

4. Chia seeds, hemp hearts and buckwheat grouts instead of cereal – Way higher in protein, healthy fats and fiber than most breakfast cereals, Skinny B and Holy Crap cereals are great tasting, allergen friendly alternatives. If the price of the small bag sends you running, use this link to make your own.

5. Whole fruit for fruit juice- Did I mention how much I hate juice? Skip the juice aisle, shop the produce section

6. Lettuce wraps for bread- Use romaine letteuce, or even steam kale, collard greens or swiss chard instead of bread or wraps.

Lower fat options
1.     Leaner cuts of meat- look for things that contain the word “loin” i.e. tenderloin, siroin. Rib eye, T-bone and bacon wrapped anything will automatically increase the fat content
2.     White meat over dark when it comes to poultry
3.     Baked sweet potatoes fries instead of regular white potato French fries
4.     Fresh rolls over spring rolls at asian restaurants
5.     Entrees that are poached (in water, not butter) steamed, seared, grilled and roasted, not deep-fried, panfried or contain the word “crispy” and “lightly battered”
6.     Extra lean ground beef, chicken, turkey or lamb at the grocery store
7.     Make an omelet using two eggs and two egg whites, I vouch for these over a 100% egg white omelets because you lose all the nutrients contained in the yolk
8.     Homemade popcorn, kale chips or packaged Popchips/ baked lentil chips instead of regular chips

1. Salsas over sour cream, butter, or anything ending in aioli (means oil) or naisse  (b√©arnaise, hollandaise, dijonnaise is a fancy way of saying mayo like sauce)
2. Dip your veggies in hummus (preferably homemade) or tzatziki instead of ranch dressing

Healthier Baking substitutions
1.     Beans for flour- try chickpeas for cookie or blondie recipes or black beans for brownies. I know this sounds weird but I’ve made both and they are delicious

2.     Applesauce, mashed banana or avocado for oil or butter. Or substitute a healthier oil like coconut oil in the recipe
3.     Reduce the sugar by 1/4 in the recipe and I promise you won’t even notice a difference
4.     Whole frozen berries over sweetened dried cranberries in muffin recipes for reduced sugar and increased fiber and nutrition
5. Dark chocolate for milk chocolate. Instead of those cheap tasteless semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips, spend a little more money for a good quality dark chocolate (minimum 70%) when baking desserts. 

Like I said about treating yourself, pizza is my all time favourite food, and something I could never live without. Since gluten and lactose don't seem to agree with me, I treated myself to a homemade pizza using Bob's Red Mills Gluten Free Pizza Crust mix topped with an organic, raw aged cheddar. Instead of the usual high-sodium, preservative laden tomato sauce, try using Simply Natural Organic Tomato and Basil Pasta sauce from Costco. Life should never be about giving up the things you love, just findings ways to re-invent and make them better :)

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