Every now and then we all have cravings for foods that are not as healthy for us as we’d like. But the good news is, with a little creativity in the kitchen, foods like French fries, ice cream and chicken wings can become less “indulgent” and actually offer some nutritious benefits. If you’ve been following along with our tips and recipe ideas, you know nutritious foods can be delicious and easy to make. Take a look at our four go-to swaps for foods we crave below:
Swap In: Crunchy (Baked) Chicken Tenders | Swap Out: Fried Chicken Wings
Football season is upon us, and along with it comes chicken wings. For the next game, try making these almond-crusted chicken tenders instead of fried chicken wings. They’re lower in unhealthy saturated fats and the almond crust adds extra nutrients like vitamin E and fiber. To make the “breading,” put almonds into a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin or blend in a food processor until finely chopped. Mix the ground almonds with desired seasonings such as salt and pepper. Next place the chopped almonds on a plate and then dip the chicken tenders into beaten eggs and then into the almond mixture, coating both sides. Place the chicken in a shallow pan or on a cookie sheet. Finally, bake for about 20 minutes at 450° F (flipping halfway through) until their internal temp reaches at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and ta-da, they are ready to enjoy!
Swap In: Nice Banana Ice Cream | Swap Out: Ice Cream
Often referred to as “nice cream,” blended frozen bananas can give your sweet tooth that creamy goodness it desires. Potassium-rich and dairy-free, it’s no wonder we call this one-ingredient treat nice! Slice and freeze bananas for at least six hours, then simply throw them in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Scoop into a bowl to enjoy immediately as a soft serve or freeze for an additional two hours for a firmer, more ice cream-like consistency. While part of this recipe’s charm is its simplicity, a few favorite add-ins can take things to the next level. Try fresh strawberries and cocoa powder or vanilla extract and pecans. Simple yet delicious, the combinations are endless.
Swap In: Roasted Sweet Potato and Zucchini Sticks | Swap Out: French Fries
Kick sweet potato or zucchini sticks up a notch and enjoy them as a French fry replacement. With savory flavor and a similar texture to their starchy alternatives, this is a delicious way to approach the classic, fried side dish. Simply toss cut veggies with your favorite spices and olive oil, and bake them at 425° F for 20 minutes (flipping halfway through).
Swap In: Spaghetti Squash | Swap Out: Pasta
Pasta is a carb-loaded favorite, but every once in a while, try swapping out noodles for spaghetti squash. You’ll save on calories – with about 150 less calories per cup – and receive an extra boost of beta-carotene. After roasting, this vegetable transforms into strands that are easily scraped out of the squash. Try yours with popular pasta toppings like marinara or pesto. Not sure how to prepare it? Check out our recent Instagram post for instructions. Whether a delicious side, meal, or base for a pasta dish, you won’t be disappointed.
Note: Since everyone’s health history and nutritional needs are so different, please make sure that you talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to get advice about the diet and exercise plan that‘s right for you.