5 Easy Cooking Swaps For Instantly Healthier Food

No matter how many times you eat salad for lunch, you just can’t shake carbs, dairy and meat from your mind. Why should you? Eating clean doesn’t mean you have to compromise your favorite foods and snacks, but tweaking them by substituting some not-so-healthy ingredients with healthy options allows you to have the best of both worlds. Without further ado, here are the foods you should try substituting the next time a craving rolls around.

1. Kale chips for potato chips

Potato chips may be your default snack food when you’re planning a heavy study session or feeling down, but we all know they’re anything but healthy. Kale on the other hand, is jam packed with vitamin K, which regulates your body’s inflammatory process. In fact, kale contains about twice as much vitamin K as its fellow cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, collard greens, etc). It also is considered a remedy to high cholesterol (steamed kale is almost half as powerful as cholestyramine, a cholesterol lowering drug!).

Compared to potatoes, kale is extremely high in antioxidants. It contains the flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol, both of which are considered to have powerful anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. 

What are you waiting for? Next time you’re reaching for a pack of Doritos at the grocery store, grab a pack of kale instead. Making kale chips is also incredibly easy and quick.

  1. Rip the leaves into chip-sized pieces
  2. Sprinkle olive oil and whatever seasoning suits your fancy.
  3. Pop them into the oven at 350 degrees until they are brown and crispy at the rims.
Related: 6 Healthy Swaps for the Foods You Crave the Most

2. Honey for sugar

Honey technically also contains sugar, but between the two, you will need less honey to achieve the same level of sweetness in your tea, baked goods, etc. While sugar is 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose, honey is only 30 percent glucose and 40 percent fructose. Since the make-up of honey involves more complex sugars, your body will spend more energy trying to break it all down into glucose – meaning honey gives you less calories. 

3. Avocado for butter/mayonnaise

The buttery consistency of avocados has so many more applications than for toast – so why not directly substitute them into your cooking? Per quarter cup serving, mashed avocado has 300 fewer calories than butter. Additionally, avocados contain monounsaturated fat (the good kind of fat), which actually reduces bad cholesterol and leads to less belly fat. So the next time you’re baking some guilty-pleasure muffins or trying to sneak some more veggies into your diet, mix in some gooey avocado goodness to get the nutrition you deserve without compromising the foods you adore. The best part is, avocado can substitute butter at a 1:1 ratio. 

4. Cottage cheese for cream cheese

Cottage cheese, cream cheese’s lumpier cousin, turns out to be a much healthier choice when it comes to your next dip or baking endeavor. In fact, cottage cheese has about one-third the calories per serving.

5. Greek yogurt for sour cream

Greek yogurt may not sound super appetizing on its own, but when you think of using it as a substitute for sour cream, it kind of makes perfect sense. It comes fat-free and has way less sodium and carbohydrates than regular cream or yogurt. We suggest you mix it into soups or dips for an extra kick in your dishes.

Cooking is all about experimenting, and college is exactly the time to try new dishes and figure out what you enjoy. We dare you to try swapping out some of your cooking staples like butter and sugar for healthier alternatives – you won’t look back!