This, Not That: 10 Simple Food Substitutions for Healthier Eating

Staying on track with healthy eating can be tough, especially when there are so many delicious and not so healthy options out there. But instead of giving in to those cravings, I’ve found better ways to satisfy my taste buds. To help you do the same, we had Zach (our resident health and wellness guru) give you some of his suggestions for simple ways to substitute healthier options that will keep you happy (and still taste good!)

Instead of Potato Chips, try popcorn

Whenever you’re craving some salty, crunchy chips try subbing them out for popcorn. A serving of popcorn will have about 35% of the calories that are in the same size serving of potato chips. It’s also packed with fiber that’s lacking in your regular chips. Look for air popped to avoid lots of oil and fat. I usually go with brands like Smart Pop, Skinny Pop and Buddha Bowl.

When you’re craving soda, have zevia instead

Zevia is a newer brand that makes sugar free, zero-calorie soda. They use stevia extract to sweeten it. Unlike flavored sparkling waters, (also a great option) they add citric acid to give it that bite that makes soda so satisfying. I go through an embarrassing amount of their ginger ale, but they have tons of great flavors for whatever your tastes are.

Photo: Wholefully
Photo: Zevia

Try making open faced “sandwiches” with rice cakes instead of bread

I’ll start by saying I LOVE bread and I’ll never fully cut it out, but I’m trying to practice moderation. When I’m in the mood for a sandwich, I often use rice cakes instead. It’s a great building block for an open faced sandwich that gives you some carbs without all the gluten and processed carbs in bread. They even make rice cakes in lots of flavors to compliment whatever toppings you’re in the mood for! Here are a few of my favorite combinations for when I need a satisfying, filling snack.

  • Brown rice cake with goat cheese, smoked salmon, capers, and thinly sliced red onion
  • Chocolate rice cake with almond butter, sliced banana, cinnamon, and honey
  • Salted rice cake with slices of tomato, mozzarella, and pesto
  • Cinnamon rica cake with nutella and toasted coconut

Grill up some beyond sausages instead of hot dogs

Until recently, there weren’t a lot of options for vegans looking for a healthy substitute for your classic hot dog. With the growing popularity of alternative meats, we now have Beyond sausages. They’re by far my favorite substitute. They make it in a classic Brat flavor, but my favorite is the Hot Italian. Even if you’re not vegan, the traditional hot dog isn’t exactly healthy. It’s super processed and usually made with low quality meat. Give these healthier options a try!

Keep the carbs low and make a stir fry with cauliflower rice

Whenever I need to make an easy weeknight dinner or knock out some meal prep, a simple stir fry is always a great option. If I’m trying to keep the carbs low, I’ll substitute in cauliflower rice. Most grocery stores now sell it already riced and ready to cook. Sauté it with your veggies and let it soak up whatever sauce you’re using! You can also go half white rice, half cauliflower rice and you’ll trick your brain into thinking it’s one big bowl of rice.

Give Tolerant’s Chickpea pasta a try for a satisfying weeknight dinner

There are few things more satisfying than a delicious bowl of pasta. That’s why I keep a box or two of Tolerant chickpea pasta around for when I’m in the mood for some hearty Italian food without all the carbs. It’s gluten free and high in protein. I can’t promise that it tastes exactly like real pasta, but it comes pretty close. If you’re looking for some ideas, here are a few of my go to pairings to mix it with.

  • Turkey meatballs, pesto, cherry tomatoes
  • Mushrooms, marinara sauce, roasted asparagus, fresh chopped basil
  • Cream sauce, scallops, broccolini

Sweeten your coffee with some vital proteins creamer

Unless you like your coffee black, you’ve probably been using a creamer packed with sugar. Vital Proteins makes some great creamer that’s dairy free and doesn’t use any added sugars or artificial sweetener. Plus it has collagen peptides to kickstart your day with some protein. They make it in vanilla, mocha, coconut, and even specialty flavors like gingerbread!

Start your day with a bowl of oatmeal instead of cereal

Most cereals are packed with sugar and other additives. Even your healthier options can be really high carb and highly processed. If you still want something filling and easy to make, try having oatmeal instead. Your body digests it much better, and it won’t spike your insulin as much as sugary cereals will. Watch out for the oatmeal packets though, they often add a lot of sugar. You’re better off getting plain oatmeal then sweetening it with stevia or honey.

Top your salads with a greek yogurt based dressing

When we think of a healthy meal, salad is often at the top of the list. It’s true that a salad is an easy way to throw together a nutritious meal, but the dressing can often be not so healthy. Some are higher calorie than you think and can be packed with additives. Making your own is great, but if you want a healthy option look for a dressing made with greek yogurt as the base. I’m a big fan of Bolthouse Farms Avocado Ranch.

Kill your chocolate cravings with lily’s

If you have a sweet tooth like me, then a craving for chocolate is a familiar feeling. Once I get that craving It’s hard to resist. I usually like to keep some dark chocolate chips around, but recently I’ve been snacking on Lily’s. It’s a brand that uses stevia to sweeten chocolate giving you a sugar free, lower calorie candy that still tastes delicious. They have tons of flavors, my favorite being the salted caramel. I also love their newer peanut butter cups!

  1. Great recommendations! Didn’t think about using rice cakes as a substitute for bread. Will try this!