As a mama of four, I’m always looking for new and unique ways to get my kids to eat their fruits and veggies. Overall, my kids are pretty good eaters, but sometimes they are just not into the healthy stuff. I think a lot of parents face this problem… but not to fear, Kate from She Be Kale’in is here to help us out! Today, she is giving us some ideas on how to incorporate more fruits and veggies in our spring cooking…
Spring Clean Your Diet: 8 Fruit and Veggie Healthy Substitutes
By Kate of She Be Kale’in It
Are you planning to do some spring-cleaning now that the winter chill has passed? Apply this idea to your diet! Keep it fresh and light through easy fruit and veggie substitutions. Whether your goal is to lose weight, cut carbs or simply incorporate more whole plant based foods into your diet, these swaps make it simple. Small changes add up, and when prepared creatively, vegetables can be just as satisfying and delicious as the original!
Swiss Chard or Lactino Kale Leaves: Use these as tortillas! Whether served as a taco shell or a sandwich wrap, use sturdy leafy greens and add desired filling such as hummus and fresh veggies or tofu taco meat. Unless you are making your tortillas homemade, there are typically unhealthy hidden ingredients in store bought options. In addition to eliminating processed ingredients, this swap means less carbs and serving of nutrient dense greens.
Zucchini: One of my favorite veggies to use! There is a ton of versatility when cooking with this mild tasting vegetable. I often replace pasta and spaghetti for spiralized zucchini noodles, or “zoodles”. You can also slice them very thin and use as lasagna noodles! It’s such a versatile ingredient that they can even be lightly breaded and baked into fries! With fresh zucchini you can drastically cut your intake of heavy pastas and starches this spring.
Cauliflower: Love your mashed potatoes and rice? We all do. And although both options are gluten free, and fairly healthy when prepared using whole grains- sometimes you just need more vegetables in your daily routine. Cauliflower rice and mash can be prepared as a replacement, only need a food processor! Make a large amount and have for lunches and dinners for the week!
Applesauce: Another great baking substitute, applesauce works well in place of oil or butter. Be sure to use the unsweetened kind, which only contains the natural sugars of the fruit. It’s great in muffin and bread batters.
Avocado: Ah, so much love for avocado. Creamy and full of healthy fats, avocados are great on toast in place of butter. Just add a bit of salt, pepper and lemon juice or red pepper flakes for great flavor! But avocado can also replace unhealthy fats such as mayo or oil. Potato and egg salad can be made with avocado and I love kale or spinach pesto with avocado. Or, simply spread it on your sandwiches in place of mayo!
Eggplant: When going vegan or vegetarian, many recipes call for meat replacements that contain soy such as tofu or tempeh. However, vegetables can be used as well! Eggplant is delicious when seasoned and baked into “bacon” or combined with white beans to make meatballs. Just check out my eggplant BLT. Eggplant is a more adventurous clean eating swap, but a great example of how creative healthy eating can be.
Bananas: Bananas are amazing for replacing eggs in baking. 1 banana is equivalent to 2 eggs- just mash it well before mixing with other ingredients. Don’t forget to freeze them! Another creative way to use banana is to make “ice cream”. Frozen banana ice cream requires only bananas and a splash of dairy free milk. Place in a food processor until the bananas become a smooth soft serve texture. Next top with peanut butter or fresh berries! Bananas can make your morning smoothie creamier and eliminate the need for dairy ingredients like Greek yogurt.
Mushrooms: Lastly, we have mushrooms. Very similar to eggplant, mushrooms are an amazing replacement to meat. I’ve made meatballs, meat free fajita and taco filling, stews, and even mushroom gravy around the holidays. All using mushrooms! Prepare it properly, and you have a lightened-up and meatless version of your favorite comfort foods. You could even make a gluten free veggie burger bun using portabellos! Check out my mushroom meatball subs with swiss chard as an example of this substitute.
So start to clean up not only your home this spring, but your eating habits. Aim to make at least one healthy food swap daily and feel the benefits of eating more whole foods!