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Easy, Healthy Food Substitutes for the Family Kitchen

With certain food and ingredient substitutes, you’ll find loopholes for whipping up your favorite snacks, with just a little cheat on the flavor and texture of foods you love so much. We’re not going to pretend that an egg white omelette tastes just as buttery good as an omelette made with real butter and real eggs, but if you’re really serious about sticking to a certain kind of diet or limited calories and fat, we don’t want you to cut out entire lists of your favorite foods. There are some really easy, healthy food substitutes out there, and after a while, you may not even notice the difference quite so much.

Dairy products have lots of potential for substitutions: egg whites instead of eggs can be used in omelettes or when making shakes and scrambled eggs, for example. Skim or low-fat milk are much better alternatives to regular milk if you’re counting fat, sugar and calories, and and the same with yogurt. It’s important to pick dairy substitutes rather than eliminating dairy from your diet altogether because it does contain important nutrients like Vitamin D, protein, calcium, and iron. Vitamin D is especially hard to get from other food sources.

Multi- and whole grains also make for a very versatile substitution. Choose brown, wheat, multigrain or whole grain options when buying pasta, cereal, bread, tortillas, rice, and even flour for baking certain foods. While whole grain foods sometimes have more calories, they’re also packed with fiber and other nutrients that will keep you fuller longer, making it less likely that you’ll give in to snacking cravings. Many people also feel that multigrain breads and pastas offer a more satisfying taste and eating experience than softer white breads.

Vegetable stock is a very easy substitute for chicken or beef stock that is rarely noticed, unless you’re an atypically astute eater or are used to a certain dish prepared a certain way. Like meat-based stocks, you can still make it yourself with scraps of vegetables, and has less fat — usually only coming from a small amount of olive oil — than chicken and beef stock.

Nuts also make a good substitute when baked in cookies and breads, like banana bread or walnut bread. Eating a handful of nuts doesn’t taste as good as eating a bunch of chocolate pieces, but when added to a baked dessert or snack, it’s still a healthier option.

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