Don’t punish yourself with a cleanse or something equally awful. Just make real food healthier with these easy, yummy substitutions.
Bananas, eggs, and peanut butter are all you need to make healthy, gluten-free pancakes.
Lots of protein and lots of happiness! Recipe here.
Dates are a great way to naturally sweeten smoothies and shakes.
You can drink this date, banana, and coconut shake for breakfast with a clean conscious.
Put fruit compote on pancakes or waffles instead of butter and syrup.
Try this recipe for Chai pancakes with cranberry compote.
Upgrade sandwiches by spreading them with avocado instead of mayo.
Yeah, no, for real, mayo can take a hike. Avocado can be the main event of the sandwich, too: This chickpea and avocado sando is better and better for you than some slimy cold-cut deal.
Swap crispy baked zucchini for the usual fries.
You can find lots more awesome baked snack alternatives here.
Snack on frozen grapes instead of candy or cookies.
Each one is like a tiny, perfect popsicle! Freeze them in a sealed plastic bag so they don’t dry out.
Cut the fat in dip way down by using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
And dip veggies instead of chips, while you’re at it. Try this recipe for creamy Green Goddess dip.
Use Greek or regular yogurt instead of mayo in tuna, chicken, and egg salad.
Better in every way. Get a recipe for curried chicken salad here.
Sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn instead of cheese.
Nutritional yeast has a rep as a weird hippie ingredient (you can find it at organic/health food stores or order online) but it’s absolutely worth keeping around. It has a great umami flavor that’s very cheese-esque, lots of protein and fiber, and zero fatty cheese-induced guilt.
Use potatoes or cashews (instead of cream) to make blended soups smooth and creamy.
This broccoli soup is vegan on the DL.
Make a healthy, low-carb pizza crust with cauliflower.
This is not a trap! It’s legit delicious. Recipe here.
Swap meat for whole grains (quinoa, bulgur, etc) or mushrooms to make chili healthier.
Here are a bunch of great vegetarian chili recipes to try.
Use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs to make healthier meatballs and meatloaf.
Whole grain powerrrr! Try this recipe for healthy spaghetti and meatballs.
Peel zucchini into ribbons to make healthy veggie “spaghetti.”
You can thinly slice zucchini or eggplant to make pasta-free lasagna.
You won’t miss ’em, promise. Recipe here.
Cauliflower makes an amazing healthy alternative to rice.
Finely chop the cauliflower in a food processor, then cook for a few minutes. You might never go back! Get the recipe here.
Spaghetti squash does a very convincing impression of almost any noodle.
Try it in Pad Thai. Recipe here.
Bake crispy chicken with almonds instead of flour or breadcrumbs.
This easy recipe makes a coating out of almonds, garlic, and paprika.
Try using lettuce to wrap tacos instead of tortillas.
Bibb or Boston lettuce works very nicely. Get the recipe for these black bean tacos with mango-avocado salsa here.
You can bake high-protein, gluten-free brownies with black bean puree instead of flour.
Don’t worry, they don’t taste like beans. They taste fudgy and awesome. Recipehere.
Avocado is a great substitute for butter in baking.
This chocolate cake is healthy and vegan and proud of it.
Applesauce can replace oil (and some sugar) to make healthier cakes.
You can start by replacing half the fat with an equal volume of applesauce (instead of 1 cup oil, use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce) and see how it works, then tweak the balance up or down next time. This works well for quick breads (muffins, banana bread, etc) and cakes, but not for drier baked goods like cookies. Try a recipe for healthy Devil’s Food cake here.
You can whip and freeze evaporated milk to make healthy two-ingredient ice cream.
No machine necessary! Get the recipe here.
Try using almond flour instead of wheat flour in baking recipes.
It’s nutty and delicious and you get to skip the refined-flour energy spike. Almond flour is heavier, so you may want to start by replacing half of the regular flour in a recipe, or add a little extra leavening (eggs, baking powder, etc) to help it rise. Get tips and a recipe for these blueberry muffins here.
Turn frozen bananas into magic, delicious soft-serve “ice cream.”
Literally one ingredient, vegan, and seriously amazing. Just blitz in the food processor until it turns into creamy joy, and customize if you’re feeling adventurous (a little peanut butter, maybe). Recipe here.
Silken tofu makes amazing, creamy chocolate pudding that’s dairy-free and low-fat.
Yep, yes, tofu. Mark Bittman’s recipe adds chile and cinnamon for a little Mexican kick.
Instead of drinking soda, add cucumber, lemon, or mint to seltzer.