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4 Healthy Substitutes for Common Comfort Foods

The hardest part of living a healthy life is giving up comfort foods. There are times you can allow yourself a cheat meal, but if you do that too often you’ll start putting the weight back on. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, there are some foods that you are going to have to give up.

If you’re out and about, here are some tips for eating healthy on the go. When you’re at home, however, you have a lot more control over how to eat healthy. Consider the following substitutions when making your meal at home:

Substitute Vegetable Oil with Coconut Oil

Image Source: — by James Leatherman
Image Source: — by James Leatherman

The truth about fats has changed in the past few years as new scientific studies have been released. Recently it was discovered that the sugar industry tried to shift the blame to fat for high cholesterol and other health problems.

Did you know that coconut oil not only lowers bad cholesterol, but also boosts immunity and helps with weight loss? Studies have shown that individuals who consume 2 tbsp of coconut oil per day burn more calories in a rested state than those that don’t. It’s also antiviral and full of antioxidants that help boost your immune system.

You won’t notice the difference when you switch, either, because coconut oil is actually pretty tasty. It’s best used to help fry meats, eggs, or in a stir fry. Coconut oil is a much better substitute for vegetable oil, which has been shown to be unhealthy.

Substitute Pasta with Crab Meat

Image Source: — by James Leatherman
Image Source: — by James Leatherman

If you’re like me, giving up pasta is the hardest part of eating healthy. I come from an Italian family (my grandmother was full Italian), and I have a weak spot for any Italian dish. The more cheese and sauce and pasta, the better.

But you can’t keep eating pasta if you want to be healthy. A cup of cooked pasta contains a whopping 43 grams of carbohydrates. The more common substitute for pasta is usually a vegetable like zucchini or eggplant. But, if you’re like me, subbing in zucchini just doesn’t hit the spot when you are craving a pasta dish.

Consider subbing in crab meat. Real crab is the best (if you can afford it), but imitation crab meat works too. The only drawback to imitation crab is that it can be high in sodium. But you can find low sodium options for crab. And a serving of crab has 25 grams of carbs, which is substantially less than a cup of pasta.

Use Cauliflower for Other High Carb Recipes

Image Source: — by James Leatherman
Image Source: — by James Leatherman

It seems that the most versatile substitute for making your favorite comfort foods healthy is cauliflower. Here are 23 common foods that sub in cauliflower for the carbs. Cauliflower can be used as a base for awesome casseroles and lasagnas. It can also be used to help make a crust for a pizza.

Cauliflower also has a ton of health benefits. Here are a few:

  • Helps reduce cancer risk
  • Fights inflammation
  • Decreases risk for heart disease
  • Improves digestion and detoxification
  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves eye health

That’s a lot of power packed in the punch of a relatively underrated vegetable.

Sugary Desserts with Substitute Fruit Smoothies

Image Source: — by James Leatherman
Image Source: — by James Leatherman

A few summers ago, I decided to give up processed sugar. One way I helped myself through the cravings was to have a piece of fruit whenever I was craving something sweet. Often, though, I would just make a smoothie from the following ingredients: blueberries, strawberries, banana, and vanilla almond milk.

There are dozens of variations you can put on a smoothie, and if you want some good ideas, check out this article. Even though many of those recipes still have sugar in them, it’s still quite a bit less sugar than your average cheat food (i.e. cookies, cakes, ice cream, etc.).

So, the next time you get a craving for your favorite comfort food, consider that you can make them healthier. All you have to do is give up just one ingredient or lower the sugar content significantly. You will feel better, and your waistline will thank you.

Bio: James Leatherman is a teacher, freelance writer, and owner of Leatherman Media. His passions are reading, writing, hiking, and traveling. You can find more articles like this on his website, Happy Mindsets.