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OT - Tone-up Tuesday

Aniki's picture

Happy Tuesday, STalkers!!

I'm going to change it up a little bit and talk about healthy FOOD. Specifically, food substitutes. We all know there are tons of foods out there that are BAD for us. Foods we feel guilty about eating - especially after "I can't believe I ate the whote thing". Foods that are our guilty pleasure (put that Girl Scout Thin Mint DOWN!!!).

So what, if any, healthy substitutes do you have? Even for food that are not necessarily UNhealthy, but ones in which we overindulge? Maybe - like me - you're trying to incorporate healthier foods into your diet (my goal is to eat more veggies).

Here are some of mine...

    Oh, I can eat the HE!! out of pasta. Nom nom nom!!! Surprisingly, zoodles have come to my rescue! For those who don't know it, zoodles are Zucchini Noodles - zucchini that has been spiralized into noodles. I squeeze as much liquid out of them as possible, heat a scant tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil in a skillet, and toss in my zoodles. Sprinkle on some garlic powder and oregano, saute for a few minutes, then add marinara, heat it up, and top with freshly shaved parmesan. Yum!! Sometimes I saute some shrooms before adding the zoodles. If I want protein, I saute some steak strips before the zoodles (or add already-cooked), add a can of clams, or some salad shrimp.
    No, I do NOT have a substitute for chocolate. DARK chocolate has health benefits, so if you can limit yourself to one or two squares of dark chocolate, more power to you! When I'm fiending for chocolate, I MELT those 2 squares of dark chocolate and drizzle them over banana slices, strawberries slices, or fresh pineapple chunks.
  • WINE
    Again, I have no substitute. However, RED wine is something else with health benefits. A glass of red wine is a perfect match to that zoodle recipe I make.
    If I want the TASTE of red wine and not an entire glass, I put in in my food. My fave on-the-fly recipe...
    Slice 4-6 oz of beef tenderloin into strips. Slice up some shrooms. Add a tablespoon of butter or butter-flavored cooking spray to a pan. Add the beef and shrooms and seasonings (I use garlic and rosemary), Cook until the beef is no longer oozing blood. Add 2 oz of your favorite red, toss to mix. Add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the sauce. Serve over riced cauliflower.

What substitutes do YOU make?


DPW's picture

I try to use quinoa as a pasta and rice substitute. I find it is bland enough to be able to take on whatever flavour I'm cooking. 

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I've used Avacados instead of butter in brownies before! Smile But I'm also just a huge Avacado person... So idk how it would taste to everyone else. lol

Aniki's picture

I like them, too, but have never used them as a substitute for anything. Admittedly, my fave way to eat them is on a turkey sammich.

Simpleton21's picture

I've heard of people substituting applesauce in brownies but not avacados.  I like avacados also. I like them so many different ways.  Yummy!  I just wish they didn't get brown so quickly after cutting them :(  That grosses me out! LOL

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

If you like lime that helps kind of delay the browning process a bit! Because I understand! The yucky brown color is definitley offputting to an otherwise great food...

Simpleton21's picture

I have used lemon juice and lime juice before.  I usually just plan on eating it all right away to avoid that problem ;)  Actually one of my fav ways to eat it is cut into chunks with lemon juice and some seasoning!

Simpleton21's picture

Mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, yummy, I also like roasted cauliflower with some hot sauce to replace chicken wings.  I know potatoes and chicken wings aren't the worst foods but cauliflower is definitely a good subsitute :)  

Simpleton21's picture

Oh, that looks yummy!  I have a friend that uses it to make a "healthier" mac n cheese!  Mmmm!!!!  

Simpleton21's picture

Oh my!  I think you should still have it in moderation and use the cauliflower substitue Smile

AshMar654's picture

My favorite substitute these days has been cauliflower. I have made the cauliflower rice, pizza crust, and my mom did a mash with it that was really good. The pizza crust is really good, let me tell you my stomach does not hurt after having two slices or three. It is really good if you have a good recipe for it.

My other substitute, Egg noodles for soups instead of the regular. Sweet potatoes instead of regular for fries and I bake them so even better.

Aniki's picture

Ash, I recently bought a premade cauliflower pizza crust (have not yet used it). I went with premade in case I don't like it. I don't want to do aaaaaall of that work to make a homemade crust if it tastes icky!

AshMar654's picture

I really like it. I looked up several recipes on line till I came up with something that I liked.
2 cauliflower heads (put in food processor or shred with a cheese grater)
1 large egg
1/2 a tablespoon oregano(this can be any or all Italian seasonings and you can put more I usually do for flavor)
Slat and Pepper to taste (Like 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 cup parmesan (I use the shredded kind because it makes for a sturdier crust)
1/2 cup mozzarella shredded regular

Take the ground up cauliflower microwave it for 5 minutes until it is hot and steaming. This helps when you have to drain it. (Preheat oven to 450)
Grab a cheese cloth or a really thin dish towel, once it has cooled to touch ( I am impatient and just do it and try not to burn my hands). Put the cauliflower in the middle and squeeze out all the access water you can (this takes some muscle the more you get out the better the crust).
Get large bowl mix all the other ingredients in with the cauliflower. Line a baking sheet or pizza pan with parchment paper and for into a round pizza or square (I do a square because when I put toppings on I split into three sections so SS can have his pepperoni, SO can have what he likes and I have what I like)
Bake the crust by itself nothing on it for 15 minutes till edges start browning.

After you take it our let cool and you can make your pizza with any toppings you want or you can save for later just store in the fridge for like two or three days. It is still good.

This whole recipe can be altered to fit your needs. Some use and extra egg, some put like bread crumbs or coconut flour or regular. I opt out on all these. You can use this recipe for pizza bites too. make the crust and use a cupcake tin, they come out really great.


Aniki's picture

I appreciate you sharing your recipe!! If I like (even somewhat) that premade crust, I will definitely try this. Have you ever tried freezing the crust?

When I do eat it (DH will NOT), I'll be topping it with fresh shroom slices, roasted garlic cloves, and goat cheese.

AshMar654's picture

I have never froze it but I think you can. I don't see why not just make sure it is really cooled before putting it away. I am guessing here but maybe thaw before using. I am not sure.

My SO really likes it. Slip it in there and see what DH says. If you add enough seasoning it comes out really tasty. Not like actual pizza crust. My SO loves his regular pizza but he will eat this.

Aniki's picture

My DH might take a taste of mine, but I'd have to catch him in the right mood. He's very unwilling to try new things - especially things that change his pizza!!

Aniki's picture

My sister accused me of trying to eliminate bread/pasta, which is NOT the case. While I defiintely what to eat healthier, my goal is to eat MORE veggies!!

lieutenant_dad's picture

Breads and pastas are killer for me. I tend to buy the "carb smart" breads and flour tortillas - they basically have no sugar and added soluble fiber. Not the healthiest, but I am far more likely to eat that than whole wheat everything.

Pasta, I will eat that whole wheat. There are some newer pastas out there made with chickpeas and black beans that are lower in carbs and high in fiber and protein. You have to match the pasta with your topping flavors, though. Black bean is good with chili, but not Alfredo. Chickpea is good with a tangier sauce, like balsamic and oil, but not great with cheese and sausage.

Oh, and I have found that there are egg noodles now made by the same people who make the Smart Choice or whatever white pasta comes in the purple box with the added fiber! Going to see how that does versus regular egg noodles.

When it comes to sweets, I *try* to stick to simple or make it myself. If it's ice cream, I try to do easy flavors with few ingredients. I'll male my own brownies, cakes, and pies versus getting shelf-stable stuff.

I also avoid substitute sweeteners and fats as much as possible. Just give me sugar and butter; the negligible weight-loss benefits from using Stevia or vegetable oil don't outweigh the possible long-term effects of high-volume use. It's easier to just make the real thing, eat it, then not make it again versus continually making a "healthier" version that probably adds more calories and unwanted fat and carbs to my diet than just not having it.

Wine has no substitute except straight hard liquor if you're looking at carbs. So I guess you could swap the wine for a carb-friendly tequila or vodka. *wink*

Aniki's picture

And there's nothing like warm garlic bread with pasta... I avoid bread as much as possible.

Have you ever tried a tangy cheese pasta with black bean? Something with bleu cheese or gorgonzola?

As for sweets, I try to avoid ice cream and stick with sorbets or sherbets when I'm craving a frozen treat.

IMHO, all of those sugar substitutes are VILE. I have yet to have one of those ickle chemicals (or Stevia) that doesn't taste like I added chemically pool water to my food. Blech!

Tequila and whiskey will work for me... Wink

Tiger7's picture

Last week, I had tuna salad on a cucumber.....I cut it lengthwise (& in half so it wouldnt be so long)...scooped out a little of the cuke and put the tuna salad in it.  It was delicious.  You can also cut them about an inch thick, scoop out a little so it makes a mini bowl and fill it with tuna, shrimp salad, guac....anything.  They make great bite size snacks.   I love veggies so.....  I also wrap food up in big lettuce leaves.  I like to use romaine.  I use ham & cheese, tuna, etc.  And, I've made lettuce wraps (like at PF Changs if you're familiar with that restaurant).  The receipe can be found online and they're delicious - with either chicken or ground beef.

Aniki's picture

Tiger, I like to serve my tuna salad in endive lettuce! (Cucumbers make me burp...)

DaizyDuke's picture

I'm not a huge fan of pasta, so it's not a big deal for me to cut it out.  I either use spaghetti squash in place of pasta or just nothing.... like I'll just cook up ground beef and put pasta sauce on it and some mozzerella and eat it without pasta or spaghetti squash.  I also like to use rice cauliflower instead of rice or pasta. 

I really like bagels, so I make my own.  So simple and much better for you.  1 cup of flour (white or whole wheat), 1 egg white (or whole egg) 2 tsps of baking powder, 3/4 tsp of kosher salt, 1 small container (or 1 cup) of Fage 0% greek yogurt.  Roll dough into 4 "ropes" and shape into bagel.  Brush with egg white and Sprinkle with seseme seeds or your favorite bagel seasoning or nothing.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or so.  YUM!  They are so good!

Cadbury eggs are my crack.  I try to limit myself to one a week for a treat.  I get the 90% dark chocolate and if I am having a chocolate attack, I'll eat a square of that.

Could care less about wine or alcohol so no need to substitute there.(I know I'm a boring weirdo  Mosking )  I do however, NOT enjoy drinking plain water.. I need carbonation, but don't like to drink artificial sweeteners all the time.  So I recently starting drinking LaCroix flavored/carbonated water and Canada Dry Sparkling Seltzer Water..the pomegranate cherry is my fav.  Maybe once or twice a week I'll treat myself to a diet soda.


Aniki's picture

Daizy, I've heard that craving carbonation may mean that your body needs calcium.

I LOVE LaCroix and Klarbrunn sparkling waters!! I used to drink 4-6 cans of pop DAILY until I started drinking LaCroix and Klarbrunn. Now I drink one can of pop every 2-3 weeks. HUGE difference!!

My DH luuuuuuuurrrrrvs Cadbury eggs!

queensway's picture

Aniki this is not a food substitute but more of a healthy choice. I replace my dinner meal with a breakfast meal. Having eggs for dinner in something I do at least once a week. Mostly egg whites with maybe wheat toast. Add oatmeal and it is very filling and low cal. Never fruit for dinner. Fruit is sugar.

When trying to keep things healthy it is best to change things up. When you can eat your big meal of the day in the afternoon. This gives your body time to burn the calories and eating lighter for dinner helps with a better nights rest. The better we sleep the more calories we burn during the night.

I have a problem with snacking and found that popcorn is a better choice that chips. Peanut butter on crackers is a better choice than cookies. Tea is better than soda. And plenty of water is the best thing we can do to stay healthy.

Aniki's picture

Queen, have you ever scrambled those eggs with some leftover (cubed) sweet potatoes or butternut squash? Add some salsa (I prefer salsa verde) and a little goat cheese. Nom nom nom...

DaizyDuke's picture

OOO I also like Barf Casserole and chicken thighs Blum 3

queensway's picture

LOL Daisy that is so funny. Diablo I hear that there is a woman named BIOHO that makes a mean barf dish.

Aniki's picture

Obviously, I know who to call if we ever get another Barf Casserole. Maybe Daizy would like me to ask for the recipe...

DaizyDuke's picture

Do you have an air fryer yet Aniki?  We LOVE ours!  We love to make our own chicken wings... no oil needed!  You can also do fish, chicken, sweet potato and and butternut fries etc.  I make regular fries and tater tots for BS8.  They are so much better than baking them in the oven! 

Aniki's picture

Daizy, I can honestly say that the only thing I've air-fried is the air when I'm swearing a blue streak.

I have never heard of an air fryer!! While I definitely prefer my fish baked, I do love me some chicken wings...

WTF...REALLY's picture

A good pudding is soft tofu with carob powder, maple syrup and cinnamon . Blend until super smooth. Refrigerate for an hour. 

WTF...REALLY's picture

Vanilla is good. Almond would be great as well. Or bourbon...whiskey....oh wait...I am getting off track here.....

classyNJ's picture

The men in my house are big on ice cream.  I'm not a big fan but will indulge every once in a while. 

Since SO is trying to lose weight and he LOVES Chunky Monkey, I have been blending frozen banana chips until ice cream consistency and adding cocoa powder.  He says it tastes just like it.  I'm looking for something to add for "crunch"  other than nuts.

Aniki's picture

Classy, what if you broke up some of the banana chips and added them at the end? That would give you some crunch.