Easy ingredient swaps to create ‘healthy’ comfort foods

Making drastic changes to your diet in an effort to be healthier often isn’t sustainable, according to wellness experts. 

But by swapping out a few ingredients in your favourite comfort foods, you can create healthy options you’ll be able to stick with over time, said Abbey Sharp, a Toronto-based dietitian.

“People think they need to make these extreme changes with their diet … but these small little changes have the biggest impact because they’re actually sustainable,” she told hosts on Global News’ The Morning Show.

“We want to feel satisfied, and not feel that we’re feeling denied,” she said. 

Swap #1: Ranch dip hack

One easy swap is subbing full-fat sour cream with skyr yogurt a dairy product from Iceland that is lower in fat and contains more protein and has a thick consistency, explained Sharp.

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“It’s really rich and high in protein … and it’s got no added sugar, preservatives, thickeners or artificial ingredients of any kind,” she said. 

Adding skyr into your dip instead of using sour cream will cut about six grams of fat from the recipe, and add three grams of protein, she said. 

Swap #2: Plant-based sloppy joes

Using plant-based meat alternatives instead of ground beef in recipes like sloppy joes is a simple way to immediately make the meal better for you, said Sharp.

“It’s so simple, I do it quite often. … It’s more convenient to cook [plant-based meat] because it’s pre-cooked,” she said. “Even the biggest carnivores are not going to complain.”

Vegetarian meat-alternatives in a sloppy joe recipe will save you about four grams of saturated fat, and add three grams of fibre — which you won’t get out of ground beef, said Sharp.

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How to make small changes in your diet

Subbing certain ingredients with healthier alternatives allows you to continue to eat the foods you love without giving them up, explained dietitian Sarah Remmer in a previous Global News report. 

“Make one or two changes to your daily routine and see how that goes,” said Remmer. “Give up things that you won’t miss. Feeling deprived will only mean that you’ll end up eating more of it later.”

For more healthy comfort food recipes, watch Abbey Sharp in the video above.

— With files from Leslie Young

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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