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10 Ways to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

There are so many reasons to try to make your favorite foods healthier. When I was on Weight Watchers, I didn’t really want to give up my comfort foods, so I was always looking for ways to make them healthier, but still taste great (or at least good!) And you may have favorites that your kids (or significant other) love…but you need to get more veggies into them so you perhaps tweak a few things here and there – hoping they won’t really notice. 🙂

  1. Don’t be afraid to substitute with low- to no-fat choices when making a meal. But remember, it might fail! For example, I was able to substitute lower-fat salad dressing when making my crock pot chicken recipe; but when I tried using a no-fat broth, it totally failed. (My husband wouldn’t even eat it – and he eats anything!) The lower-fat salad dressing didn’t taste as good, but it was still okay.
  2. Leave the non-healthy ingredients out. If the recipe can still stand on its own without the ingredient, don’t hesitate to leave it out. You can still make it available for others in a small bowl off to the side though. Another crock pot recipe of mine is the Burger Soup. It calls for Parmesan Cheese. Luckily, I’ve left it out of the recipe by accident before, so I knew that it still tastes really good. And cheese is something that’s really easy to put on after-the-fact.
  3. Don’t put as much of the non-healthy ingredient in. In that same Burger Soup recipe, I’ve put about 1/2 as much cheese in as is called for – and no one noticed the difference!
  4. Add more veggies. I know there are books out there with recipes for hidden veggies, but if you want your kids to grow up thinking veggies are okay, you might want to just go ahead and let them know they’re in there. One night while making a Pasta Bake, my daughter requested carrots in it. (You could have knocked me over with a feather!) She was right – it was delicious, and a great way to get more veggies into my kids.
  5. Use Salsa. As an alternative to chips and dip, use salsa and nacho chips. Salsa has no points! Salsa is also great for cooking. It adds a lot of flavor (and veggies!) to chicken (crock pot chicken ole is a favorite at my house), and other veggies. My kids actually ate cauliflower when it was sauteed in salsa!
  6. Salad sometimes only SOUNDS healthy. Sure – lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and the like are SUPER healthy. Add in that blue cheese dressing (or mounds of ranch dressing) and it’s not so healthy any more. I once read that the best way to use dressing is to ask for it on the side and then dip your fork in right before each bite. You don’t eat so much of it then.
  7. Use less salt. This one is a bit of an obvious one, but oh so hard for me. I really love my salt! Perhaps I should try some of those salt substitutes out there. (Are those really healthier?)
  8. Surf the internet. Seriously. If you have a favorite recipe that you know is drenched with non-healthiness, surf around the internet to see if someone has come up with a healthier version.
  9. Eat less of one of your non-healthy meals. I’ve found if I deprive myself of the “good stuff” – I end up gorging on it at some point anyway…which is so much less healthy than if I’d just given in and had a taste or smaller helping. I’ve read that if you use smaller plates, you’ll actually eat less as well.
  10. Always serve your meal with fruits and veggies. Not only are these fillers and help spread the meat portion out, but they’re less expensive as well!

My husband wanted to add his own tip: Never eat anything green, it might be spoiled meat…but that didn’t make my top 10 😉

I know some of these just serve as reminders, but I hope it was at least a little bit helpful!

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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