We’re back with Healthy Food Swaps Dinner Edition! As you may remember from our previous article, healthy food swaps are a simple way to continue on your healthy lifestyle journey, all while not sacrificing the satisfying flavors. We are going to take it a step further and focus on simple swaps you can make to your favorite dinner recipes to not only make them healthier, but also doesn’t require a bunch of extra complicated steps either. Because let’s face it; having simple, healthy and delicious dinners can make busy weeknights that much easier to handle.
We love pasta and bread as much as the next person, but not all dinners have to have carbs as the star. Take a taco bowl, for example. Instead of having your ground beef (or ground turkey), cheese, sour cream and the works in a taco shell, try the recipe sans shell. You can create a delicious taco bowl by putting your protein in a bowl and loading the veggies and ingredients of choice on top. If you’re really missing the carbs, try crumbling a few tortilla chips on top to give your dinner a little extra crunch. Even better, you can make a few taco bowls ahead of time to keep in the fridge as an easy go-to option for extra busy days.
Casseroles that highlight proteins and veggies are also great dinner options. For instance, chicken divan casseroles that typically consist of chicken breast, broccoli, soup, mayo, cheese and bread crumbs can easily be modified by swapping the mayo for chicken broth, or even simply omitting the mayo entirely and using a heart-healthy version of soup. Swapping the single serving recommendation of chicken and broccoli for a double serving is an easy way to make the meal healthier and gives you a good reason to add a nice helping of cheese into the dish too😉.
Another way to improve your dinners is to swap out the carb source. For instance, instead of white rice in your shrimp casserole, try making the meal with cauliflower rice instead. Even if you keep the soup and cheese, swapping out the white rice alone makes your recipe significantly healthier.
When it comes to noodles, food swaps are actually pretty simple. Everyone knows that opting for whole grain pasta is a healthier way to go, but you can take it a step further with Shirataki noodles. Before you start thinking that we’re cooking from a Dr. Seuss book, Shirataki noodles are long, white noodles that are made from a type of fiber that comes from the root of the konjac yam plant. They’re often called “miracle noodles” because they’re essentially calorie and carb free, making them the perfect pasta alternative! Throw them in with your celery and onions to make a tasty tuna noodle casserole… without any of the carb-filled guilt!
If you don’t want to part with the pasta, simply swap out the ratio of pasta being used. For example, a goulash recipe typically calls for ground beef, sliced tomatoes, a mixture of veggies and a large amount of pasta. This is a great opportunity to throw in zucchini, onions, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, any vegetable really, and even add in some extra ground beef (or ground turkey!) Simply by increasing the amount of protein and veggies used and decreasing the amount of pasta, you’ve created a healthier version of a dinnertime classic.
Making dinners doesn’t have to be overly complicated- or bland! Small, simple food swaps can take your favorite meals up a notch, all while taking little to no extra time at all. Don’t just take our word for it, give some of these swaps a try to see for yourself!