Simple swaps can improve the health quotient of your meals. Everyone seems to be trying to eat healthier these days.…

Simple swaps can improve the health quotient of your meals.

Everyone seems to be trying to eat healthier these days. And while it can be a daunting task, one of the easiest ways to sneak a little more nutrition into your day — often with fewer calories, fat, salt and sugar — without even noticing a difference is to swap out certain ingredients for other, more healthful options.

Here, several nutrition professionals share their favorite healthy swaps that don’t sacrifice flavor.

1. Cauliflower for cheese

As a kid, Robin Foroutan hated cauliflower. But she loved her mom’s veggie lasagna, which happened to use crumbled cauliflower in place of ricotta cheese.

“Everyone now knows about cauliflower rice, which I love, but if you add a little almond creamer or even cashew cream, garlic, salt and oregano, it can be ricotta-esque,” says Foroutan, a registered dietitian with the Morrison Center in New York City.

She now makes her own gluten-free version of the lasagna using thinly sliced zucchini and yellow squash in place of noodles.

2. Beans for heavy cream

When a soup or stew recipe calls for heavy cream, Vandana Sheth, a registered dietitian in the Los Angeles area, walks to the cupboard for a can of garbanzo or cannellini beans instead. Pureeing the beans, she says, “acts as a thickener and adds a silky, creamy texture at a lower calorie budget.”

What’s more, beans are a healthy, plant-based source of protein and fiber. Simply substitute a half-cup of pureed beans for a half-cup of cream in a recipe.

Emilie Vandenberg, a registered dietitian with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, also recommends using beans to make creamy soups richer. “Blend beans and broth to make soup creamy instead of using heavy cream. For every 1/2 cup of cream called for, replace it with a 1/2 cup of pureed bean and a 1/2 cup of broth.”

3. Bean water for eggs

Before you dismiss bean water — the liquid left in a can or left over after soaking chickpeas — as something to be drained directly into the sink, consider …….


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