7 Healthy Tricks for Your Unhealthy Food Favorites

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This time of year, it’s easy to pack on a few extra pounds. After all, you can’t miss out on that giant turkey leg and slice of pumpkin pie. Enjoy those homemade meals guilt-free this year by cutting tweaking recipes to include healthier ingredients. This way, you can still enjoy your favorite foods without making weight loss your 2021 resolution. Trick your brain and reduce your waistline with these helpful tricks.

1. Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream

When taco Tuesday rolls around, you probably pull out the flour tortillas, ground beef and all the fixings, including sour cream. However, topping your taco with a giant white glop of fermented milk probably isn’t the most health-conscious decision. Regular sour cream is fairly high in fat and calories. Meanwhile, non-fat versions contain food starch and gums, so it isn’t exactly nutritious.


If you’re looking for a healthier option, try Greek yogurt. It’s slightly tangier than sour cream and contains probiotics to aid in digestion. Plus, it has fewer calories and more protein, making it the perfect option for a nutritious snack or taco topping.

2. Sweet Potatoes as Toast

Sweet potato toast isn’t crunchy like real toast, so it probably won’t fool you into thinking you’re eating bread. However, this healthy substitute is super satisfying and more nutritious than white bread. Plus, you can load up two to three slices with sweet or savory toppings and never feel a twinge of guilt for eating them all.


Pop your slices in the toaster for 15 minutes or bake them in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes. Then, top with tahini and cinnamon, ricotta and honey, hummus and cucumbers or another flavorful combo of ingredients. Store in the fridge for up to one week and reheat by popping them in the toaster.

3. Veggies In Grilled Cheese

Regardless of what kind of bread and cheese you used, grilled cheese sandwiches can be incredibly unhealthy. A typical grilled cheese can tip the scales at 700 calories, especially if you load on the butter and cheese.


However, there are a few ways to lighten up this otherwise indulgent treat. Instead of piling on the cheese, consider layering a spread like guacamole, jam, pesto or aioli between the bread. Then, add some vegetables like spinach, tomatoes, pepper and onions. Get inventive and try combinations like fruit and honey or ricotta and apricots. You might just discover a new favorite recipe.

4. Tortillas for Pizza Dough

Instead of polishing off an entire Domino’s pizza by yourself, save yourself some calories and make a tortilla pizza. This substitution isn’t all that life-altering if you already enjoy thin crust pizza. However, your taste buds may still need some time to adjust to the flavors of a corn tortilla, so give them a chance to fall in love before ditching this idea altogether.


Use more traditional toppings at first to ease into this healthier alternative. Then, transition to vegetables, fruit, dairy-free cheese and other nutritious toppings. Pop your personal pan in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes and enjoy!

5. Cauliflower in Alfredo

Fettuccine alfredo is delicious because it’s dripping in butter, heavy cream and cheese. With all the ooey-gooey goodness, it’s hard to pass up a bowl of alfredo. Luckily, you can make this dish a bit healthier if you’re trying to stick to a diet or watch your calorie intake.


Lighten up your traditional fettuccine recipe by adding a few cups of cauliflower. This bright white vegetable contains folate, vitamin C and potassium for added flavor and nutrients. Plus, you probably won’t even taste the difference. Add in chicken, broccoli and other vegetables and enjoy a more well-rounded meal with less guilt.

6. Veggie Noodles Instead of Pasta

You might also consider substituting veggie noodles for pasta noodles. It is possible to cut calories and get more nutrients by choosing whole wheat pasta over white pasta. However, veggie noodles contain fewer carbs and more essential nutrients you simply can’t get from your typical box of pasta.


Use a spiralizer to make your own zucchini or carrot noodles. Scrape out some spaghetti squash innards to use in pasta dishes. You might even find chickpea, edamame, lentil, cauliflower and spinach pasta in your local grocery aisle. You probably won’t taste the veggies, so you can trick your brain into thinking you’re eating regular old pasta. Meanwhile, your body will enjoy the benefits of all those vegetables.

7. Dried Fruit Instead of Candy

Even the most dedicated health nuts crave candy now and then. When your sweet tooth acts up, don’t give in to the bag of chocolate chips or leftover Halloween candy. They’ll only leave you wanting more — and something salty to offset the sweetness.

Stick to your diet and indulge a little with some dried fruit instead. Stock up on dried bananas, cranberries, mangos, pineapple, and peaches. You can even find a variety of freeze-dried fruits at your local health food store or supermarket. Dip them in yogurt and freeze for the ultimate sweet treat.

Fooling Your Tastebuds

Of course, you may not be able to trick your tastebuds the first time you make a healthy substitution. However, if you stick with it and consciously continue to make healthier choices, your tastebuds will learn to love them. Better yet, they may decide they don’t like super sweet desserts or salty snacks anymore — and that’s the ultimate win.

Kara Reynolds
Kara Reynolds is the Editor-in-Chief and founder of Momish Magazine. A mom of four and matriarch to her big blended family, Kara wants nothing more than to normalize differences in family structures. She enjoys peeing alone, pancakes, and pinot noir - but not at the same time.

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