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Health & Wellness

9 Healthy Alternatives For Cooking Delicious Low-Calorie Meals!

Written by Shelby Torrese

These healthy alternatives for cooking can are not only delicious but can help you cut hundreds of calories per day!

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There’s never been an easier time to be healthy. Every drink or dessert you could possibly crave has equally delicious, healthy alternatives. Simple swaps are my favorite because they’re the biggest way to make an impact on your life with little to no effort. Taking the time to find healthy food alternatives can drastically improve your overall health and physical appearance.

Sometimes we eat and drink things, thinking to ourselves, “It’s just one…!” When really, one can start to add up quickly. By taking advantage of all the healthy alternatives available to us, you will start to notice a shift in your life. You’ll realize the simple act of choosing healthy food alternatives will positively affect your friends and family, too. We all want to be healthy, it’s only natural for us to want the best for ourselves! We just don’t always know where to start. Today’s blog will include a roundup of my favorite healthy cooking alternatives, which I hope will inspire you to utilize, and inspire those around you to take on too!

Healthy Cooking Alternatives

These healthy food alternatives are so simple, you won’t believe you haven’t tried them before. Save calories and stay healthy with nine of my favorite healthy alternatives.

healthy cooking alternatives

1. Applesauce or bone broth instead of oil

A healthy recipe means nothing if you’re using unhealthy ingredients. Common cooking oils like canola and sunflower oils are known to wreak havoc on the body, particularly when it comes to inflammation. [1] My favorite ways to swap out oil are with applesauce and bone broth. Applesauce is a great oil alternative for baking, and mild savory meals, whereas bone broth is a great alternative for vegetables and meat. 

2. Greek yogurt instead of sour cream 

Greek yogurt is one of my favorite healthy cooking alternatives, because it is the same consistency, color, and is so versatile! Color may seem like an odd thing to care about, but seeing a strange color in your food can be off-putting no matter what it tastes like! (Especially for kids!) Sour cream has about twice as many calories as greek yogurt, can have up to 20 times the amount of fat, and five times as many carbohydrates. Yikes! Buy a tub of plain greek yogurt and add spices to it to replace sour cream in recipes. I promise you won’t taste the difference, and you’ll feel a lot better!

3. Oat flour instead of all-purpose flour 

The biggest thing to realize when buying all-purpose flour versus oat flour is the ingredients. When you purchase oat flour, it should be just that-oat flour. When you purchase all-purpose flour, however, it can contain a variety of grains, hidden preservatives and gums, and sometimes sweeteners. Oat flour is rich in manganese, vitamin B1, B5 and iron. There are so many recipes out there to support choosing healthy alternatives, like this Blueberry Lemon Poppyseed recipe! Give it a try and see how you feel. A lot of the time, just knowing our food is healthier makes us feel better about eating it. 

4. Nuts instead of granola

How would you feel if I told you the average serving of granola contains 20 grams of sugar?

I know how I feel about that, and it’s not good! It’s recommended that men shouldn’t consume more than 36 grams of sugar per day, and women only 25 grams. [2] I can’t be the only one that can consume an entire bag of granola without realizing it. Nuts are a great healthy alternative because you still get a satisfying crunch, without all the sugar. Nuts are a great source of a variety of vitamins and minerals and are a great source of healthy fats. A healthy hack I love is to crush up mixed nuts in a bag and use it as a granola replacement over my smoothie bowls and yogurt.

5. Flavored collagen instead of sports drinks 

If you take one swap away from this blog, let it be this one. Sports drinks are hiding so many unhealthy ingredients, it’s scary they’re even allowed on shelves! They often contain around 30-40 grams of sugar, including color dyes and artificial flavors, and unnecessary ingredients like starch. On top of all that, there’s very little nutritional value to them at all. Collagen on the other hand, not only contains far fewer ingredients (as long as you’re buying a good brand!), but it actually packs in a ton of benefits! Super Youth collagen, for example, comes in three delicious flavors for less than 30 calories, no sugar, and seven grams of protein per serving. It tastes way better than any sports drink I’ve ever had, that’s for sure! The best part about Super Youth is you just add one scoop to water and you’re ready to go, making it the perfect travel companion.  

SkinnyFit Super Youth Tropical Punch collagen

6. Riced cauliflower instead of regular rice

Did you know that rice is one of the top arsenic-containing foods? [3] Yup. If you’re not properly rinsing and cooking your rice, you may be ingesting a lot more arsenic than your body can withstand. Luckily, there are plenty of healthy alternatives, like riced cauliflower. It contains about 20 calories and 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving versus about 150 calories and 35 grams of carbohydrates per serving in rice. That’s nearly eight times as many calories! It tastes like whatever you season it with, so add your favorite spices and sauces, and you’ll never know the difference.

7. Zucchini noodles for pasta or noodles

As a proud Italian, this one hurts a little. But I can’t kid myself (or my hips), zucchini noodles are 100% a healthier alternative to flour pasta and noodles. First of all, it’s a green vegetable, so there’s that. Vegetables are superior to grains in every way, and just like with cauliflower rice-the zucchini noodles will take on whatever you dress it in. This homemade sauce recipe (specifically for zoodles!) is a must-try. 

8. Butter lettuce instead of tortillas or wraps

If you’ve never used butter lettuce as a wrap, you’re really missing out. Not that the taste is much to write home about, but it really doesn’t change the experience of whatever you’re wrapping, and it cuts a ton of calories. Around 140, to be exact. I rolled my eyes at the thought of this healthy swap years ago, and now I’m preaching it from the mountaintops! I actually prefer it now. If that makes you laugh like it would have made me in my younger years, please throw me a bone and try it for yourself!

9. Sparkling soda water instead of soda pop

Exchanging a soda for sparkling water every day could save you upwards of 10,000 grams of sugar per year! That’s incredible, and scary. With all of the amazing flavored sparkling soda water options out there, this one is a must. Remember how women shouldn’t consume more than 25 grams of sugar per day? [2] Some sodas can contain that much per serving! When purchasing sparkling soda water, just make sure it’s flavored with 100% juice, and not artificial flavors. After the first week of making the switch, you won’t miss soda one bit!

If you use all nine of these healthy alternatives, you’re going to be in a great place with your cooking and health skills. These all give you a great foundation to make just about any recipe better for you. No matter what you’re craving, remember that there’s always a way to make it healthier. Make your next meal with one or more of these swaps and be sure to tag @skinnyfit and let me know how it went!

About The Author

Shelby Torrese

Nutrition, Movement & Meditation Coach

Shelby Torrese is a wellness enthusiast (and matcha fanatic!) from Miami, FL. She attributes her love of movement to her mom, a personal trainer, and her love of food to her dad, a farmer. She studied creative writing in college while getting her yoga certification, and went on to pursue fitness and nutrition in grad school. Her go-to advice is, “Balance,” and she is a firm believer that the ocean can cure just about everything.

  • Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher
  • NASM Certified Nutrition Coach
  • M.S. in Human Performance


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