What is YOUR definition of a healthy food? Have you ever eaten a food that you thought was healthy, only to find out it wasn’t?
The great news is there are many easy ways to easily transform an “unhealthy food,” into a very healthy food.
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Even though the USDA guidelines are widely accepted as a standard for eating healthy food, why is it so difficult to eat these healthy foods?
What Is A Healthy Food?
- Most doctors, nutritionists and health experts would agree that the top healthy foods are whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, lean meats, chicken, beans and, fish.
- Also according to the 2010 dietary guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is recommended to have a diet that is low in trans fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, and sugar.
- However, even with the dietary guidelines being agreed upon by almost everyone, there is still lot of “grey” factors trying to eat healthy. It isn’t always easy to eat a healthy food.
Some foods that you think are good for you, are not a healthy food. This could be due to how it was manufactured, cooked or put together. For example, you can buy an “organic
” product thinking you are buying a healthy food, but it could be loaded with sugar and white flour and not be healthy at all!
The good news is that you can literally transform any real food from unhealthy to a healthy food with a bit of knowledge including ketchup, maple syrup, muffins, hamburgers, fries, potatoes, meat, desserts, sandwiches, and/or muffins.
The great news is with some simple tricks, you can transform so many foods into healthy foods that fuel our body to make us feel great!
Top 33 Healthy Food Makeovers
The following is a list of 33 foods that can be transformed into being a very healthy food with a few minor adjustments.
1. Peanut Butter Sandwich
- Make a peanut butter sandwich with almond butter instead of peanut butter.
- Use a jelly that does NOT contain sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup and is instead just naturally sweetened with the fruit. (You can not taste the difference and it is a healthy food!)
- Add raw honey to your sandwich instead of jelly.
- Instead of eating a processed muffin from the stores that is made with partially hydrogenated oils, white flour, white sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, bake your own healthy muffins using whole grains and natural sweeteners that are filled with fiber, nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
3. Cream Sauces For Chicken
- I LOVE cream sauces. Replace heavy cream with “unsweetened condensed milk” to make a delicious cream sauce. Thicken it with a starch like arrow root.
4. Frosting For Cakes
- Put home made whipping cream on cakes, versus “frosting.”
- To make whipping cream, beat whipping cream with 2 tablespoons of raw honey and vanilla. I also put in cinnamon, nutmeg and other spices.
- You can also make chocolate whipping cream by adding a few tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Most people would not consider a hamburger as being a healthy food; however it can be.
- Buy lean hamburger meat; organic is best. (Ground hamburger has the biggest concern of problems with beef)
- When eating a hamburger at home, buy ketchup and mayo that don’t have high fructose corn syrup in it. (Yes! Most ketchup has high fructose corn syrup in it, which makes you want to eat MORE ketchup!)
- Add vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and cucumbers to your hamburger.
- Buy whole wheat and/or whole grain hamburger buns instead of white bread buns.
6. Ice cream
- For a delicious healthy food that kids love, make home made ice cream with fresh pureed fruit and unsweetened non fat plain yogurt. (Yogurt is a very healthy food with pro biotics that adds healthy bacteria to your system. Pureeing healthy fruit in the ice cream makes it even healthier.
- Try making Tangerine Home Made Ice Cream with Yogurt
- Add carob chips in it for a chocolate taste that is a VERY healthy food.
7. Salad Dressing
- Have you ever looked at the ingredients of the salad dressing you use? There is a list of chemicals a mile long; and often these dressings include high fructose corn syrups and food coloring.
- Instead, you can make home made salad dressing in 3 minutes. (Balsamic vinegar and olive oil are really healthy foods)
- To make home made dressing, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil with 1 1/2 cups of basalmic vinegar, raw honey (2 tablespoons), garlic, 4 tablespoons of orange juice, salt, pepper and spices like tarragon and rosemary..
8. Pop corn
- Did you know that pop corn is considered to be a whole grain and is very healthy food? Why it traditionally is not considered to be a healthy food is due to the salt, fake butter, chemicals and processing.
- To turn into a healthy food, air pop pop the corn kernels, (poppers can be $19.99) and put some sea salt on it, versus buying chemical laden popcorn.
- Make home made granola cereal versus buying processed cereal in the store.
- Look on the label of the cereal that you eat that you believe is a healthy food. How many ingredients are there on the list, is there sugar in it? Food coloring? You will be AMAZED!
- Make cereal in bulk and freeze it. You will save money and it is healthier too!
- Transform any type of cookie into a healthy food.
- Instead of eating a processed cookie that is made with chemicals, partially hydrogenated oils, white flour and white sugar, bake home made healthy cookies using whole grains and natural sweeteners.
- When eating beef, have a smaller portion of beef, and eat more salad, vegetables and fruit.
- Buy organic grass fed beef when you can, and look for sales at your local stores.
- When eating yogurt, buy unsweetened non fat organic yogurt and mix it together with raw honey, bananas and any fruit of your choice.
- Many moms give their kids yogurt in the small containers and really believe that it is a healthy food. The reality is that a lot of yogurts have food coloring in them, high fructose corn syrup/sugar, and loads of chemicals making them not healthy at all.
- When eating pancakes, bake whole grain pancakes, and/or at least substitute 1/2 of the flour for whole wheat.
- There are a lot of wonderful gluten free pancake mixes that combine multiple unrefined flours to make a very healthy food.
- When eating vegetables, cut up your own veggies versus buying the bags of “cut up veggies.” (Cut up vegetables have chemicals on them to make them preserve. Also you loose a lot of the vitamins and minerals after they are cut and stored)
- When eating cheese, slice your own cheese versus buying pre-sliced bread. (Chemicals are put in this cheese. You will notice a difference in taste when you start slicing your own.)
- Avoid any processed cheese like Velveta or American cheese.
- When buying whole wheat bread, don’t buy bread that says…”Enriched whole wheat. This is just another term for white bread.
- Buy whole grain bread, and/or gluten free bread.
17. Crackers and Cheese
- When eating crackers and cheese, buy whole grain crackers with reduced salt.
- There are some wonderful healthy foods that are gluten free crackers also.
18. Fruit Juice
- When drinking fruit juice, but 100% juice and/or juice yourself. (Many fruit juice has sugar added to it)
- Fill 1/2 the cup with water so you don’t get as much sugar.
- Replace some of the baked potatoes in your diet with sweet potatoes.
- Sweet potatoes are a healthy food that kids love. It is easy to microwave a sweet potato and then serve it as a side dish without anything on it!
21. Baking In General
- Replace 1/2 of the fat that is called for in baking recipes with apple sauce. (It doesn’t work for everything, but most recipes it does)
- Use grape seed oil or olive oil in any recipe instead of butter or shortening. (This doesn’t work if the recipe calls for creaming the butter)
- Use whole grain flours, versus white flour.
- If you use white flour, buy UNBLEACHED white flour.
- When using honey, make sure to use raw honey; as many processed honey is actually filled with corn syrup and/or sugar.
- Replace white processed refined sugar when baking with healthy food sweeteners like coconut sugar, Sucanat, raw honey , date sugar or Agave.
- Use a combination of different whole grain flours and gluten free flours when baking versus white flour like coconut flour, whole wheat flour, amaranth flour, almond flour, quinoa flour or brown rice flour.
- If you want to use white flour in baking, add 4 tablespoons of wheat germ, wheat bran or oat bran and decrease the white flour. (It adds some health benefits)
- Another option if you want to use white flour is to replace 1/3 of the recipe with some type of whole grain flour like whole wheat flour.
25. French Fries
- Make sweet potato fries versus french fries and bake them in the oven. YUM! A delicious healthy food.
- Use spinach or whole wheat spaghetti noodles instead of white flour noodles.
27. Egg Omelettes
- Add spinach, or avocado to your omelettes.
- Use a little olive oil versus butter before you put the eggs in the pan.
- Add a little cauliflower puree into the eggs. (You can not tell the difference!) I got this idea for the cookbook that Jessica Seinfeld wrote called Deceptively Delicious! (A great cookbook!)
28. Dried Fruit
- Eat unsulphured and unsweetened dried fruit, versus dried fruit with sulphites or sugar.
- You can also buy your own fruit dryer and EASILY make dried fruit.
- Eat raw nuts versus roasted nuts which are known to be carcinogenic.
- Store all nuts in the refrigerator, as they can easily become rancid. (Most people do not know this)
- Eat bacon without sulphites. You can buy this at most health food stores and it is delicious!
- Freeze the bacon until the day before you want to use it; as it doesn’t have the preservatives to last a long time like regular bacon does.
31. Sandwich meat
- Use left over chicken, fish and beef as sandwich meat, versus buying pre-sliced sandwich meat with sulphites.
32. Maple Syrup
- Use 100% pure maple syrup on your pancakes and waffles, versus imitation maple syrup that is loaded with high fructose syrup and chemicals.
33. Bread and Butter
- Instead of eating bread and butter, try eating bread how the Europeans do!
- Each whole grain bread dipped in olive oil and garlic. It is DELICIOUS!