6 Healthier Substitutes for Things You Eat Every Day

“Healthy” doesn’t always sound appetizing. It conjures the bitter taste of kale salad, a plate of bland grains we’ve never heard of, or a giant bowl of something that leaves our taste buds dissatisfied and our stomachs grumbling an hour later. Brownies, creamy soups, carbohydrates, butter, and mayo definitely don’t make the “healthy” cut. Or do they? Chicory has compiled a list of six substitutes that can easily take the guilt out of your guilty pleasures.

1. Coconut Oil. Try substituting this healthier oil for margarine or for vegetable or canola oil in your recipes. It’s rich in lauric acid, which helps manage blood sugar and cholesterol in the body. It’s also easy to digest, boosts your metabolism, and improves your immune system with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Bonus: It’s excellent for you skin and hair!

2. Yogurt + Cottage Cheese. By combining equal parts low fat yogurt and cottage cheese in a blender, you can replace sour cream. This easy combo is much lower in fat content, has the same color and consistency of sour cream, and is fewer calories. Bonus: Both ingredients double as healthy meals or meal supplements!

3. Cauliflower. If you grate steamed cauliflower, it has the same color, consistency, and taste of rice. This carb-less substitute is an easy must for cooks looking for healthy, hearty dishes that won’t lull your diners to sleep at the table.

4. Applesauce. A common substitute for dairy-free diners, applesauce can take the place of butter in any baking recipe. Try making your own applesauce from scratch for a truly unique recipe! Other options: Avocado puree or pureed baby prunes can also take butter’s place in your favorite baked goods!

5. Black beans. Try using dried black beans instead of flour in your baked beans. Be warned: unless you are aiming for brown dough or dark sugar cookies, stick to brownies and quick breads. Other options: Almond meal also works as a great nutty flour substitute for muffins and breads!

6. Quinoa. Oatmeal, while a favorite breakfast food, is loaded with carbohydrates and often does not offer any nutritious grains. Try making quinoa with milk instead; a carbohydrate-filled breakfast is transformed into a protein-based, vegetarian (or vegan) meal. Bonus: It’s just as filling as oatmeal, and you can use the quinoa you buy for lunch and dinner recipes, too!

Most of these ingredients, except for maybe the coconut oil, are items you probably already have in your kitchen. Make the most of your homemade meals and your kitchen cupboard by switching out common ingredients for these healthier—and just as common—substitutes.

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