An old High School friend started reading my blog and asked me to take a day out for healthy swaps, what a great idea! Everyone say thank you Carrie. I want to make a quick case for sugar, people are so quick to remove sugar from their diets. Sugar is 15 calories per teaspoon, you can burn that off stirring it into your coffee, but there are some smart swaps that will at least give you “more bang for your buck” what you want to avoid is the “fake sugars” they are all chemicals. Maybe they are “zero calories”, but they are also chemicals and you body does not know how to process chemicals, sugar is natural your body know how to process and burn it. I was addicted to fake sugars I drank diet sodas like they were going out of fashion and the week I stopped with the fake sugars I dropped 10 lbs! Try giving up your fake sugars for a week, no diet sodas, no equal, sweet n low, truvia, splenda all that stuff and tell me after that week is up, do you feel better? Did you lose weight? Did you have fewer headaches?
Honey is a great swap, it will not cut calories but did you know that if you have one tbsp of honey from a local source a day you may decrease your allergies. That is smart enough for me, plus you shave off a few carbs, and add a good amount of potassium and a little calcium. This is where “more bang for your buck” comes in, you may not cut calories but you have less allergies, healthier heart, muscle strength and stronger bones.
Maple Syrup is also a really good swap, is has 25% less calories than sugar! It also has ton of calcium and potassium. In a 1oz comparison of potassium, maple syrup has 57mg and sugar only 0.6mg, as for calcium maple syrup has 10mg vs. 0.3mg in sugar.
Stevia In the Raw is what I use when I bake for my diabetic Father, but I am not crazy about it. From all my research it is all natural, and it is zero calories, but it has no nutritional value what-so-ever. Sugar at least gives you a few vitamins.
What do I use? I use sugar, honey and maple syrup. When it comes to sugar you just have to choose moderation. Make those cookies your kids love, but maybe make them smaller. Have one with a cup of tea (no calories in tea baby) and enjoy the hell out of it! Julia Child said it best, “All things in moderation, including moderation.”
Organic Un Bleached All-Purpose Flour is only $1.50 more for a 5lb bag than the bleached. You can find it in your local grocer or at Trader Joe’s.
Whole Wheat Flour is an excellent swap, it is only slightly lower in calories but has so much good stuff in it. It has a ton of potassium, white has none. It also has more fiber, more protein and less carbs. If I’m making bread, or pizza I like to sneak it in a little more each time until someone notices. The potassium aides in a healthier heart and stronger muscles, the fiber is great for your blood pressure.
I know that there are more exotic choices out there like almond flour, and I have not gotten around to trying them, but when I do ya’ll be the first to know.
Oil for baking:
Un-Sweetened Apple Sauce is a great swap if you are doing some baking and don’t want to use a ton of oil. Try it 50/50 the first time you swap and modify as needed. It is hard to give an exact measurement because every recipe can be different and baking can be touchy. I also use Apple sauce in place of butter, I like to go 50/50 with the butter as well. One more tip, buy the little cups they are ½ a cup and will last longer if you don’t use the apple sauce as often, I write ½ cup on top of them and store them in my pantry.
Oil for Cooking:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is my fav, it has Monounsaturated fats, the “good fats” which help you actually loose weight! It also lowers risk of heart disease and stroke. I like to keep at least 2 different kinds of EVOO in the house one run of the mil, on sale at the grocery store, and one that is so tasty you don’t mind it costs $25 for a bottle. If you are going to do any cooking with it, use the cheep stuff it will loose its flavor. For salad dressings, drizzling on a baked potato, a fresh bruschetta, that’s when you pull out the super peppery (hopefully local) good stuff.
Now I know I said it helps you loose weight, that does not mean you can chug the stuff, it still has calories so use sparingly, oh and rub a little on your cuticles, knuckles and lips while you are cooking with it, a little Italian secret.
Greek yogurt is my favorite swap ever! I am tossing this on in on my own because I love it so much. It is packed full of protein, calcium and vitamin D. I put it on anything that requires cheese, inside tacos, on top of chilli, on a baked potato, in a wrap sandwich, in soups to make them creamier I love this stuff so much. If you are making a dip for Super Bowl make one w/ the traditional sour cream and one with Greek yogurt and see if anyone notices or can tell the difference. And think about this a ¼ cup comparison Greek yogurt has only 30 calories, sour cream 120 calories, and cheese has 230 calories.
So those were Carrie’s questions on smart swaps, what are yours?