What are you craving this winter? Here are healthy substitutions for common ingredients!
DOUGH? Try making wonderful waffles with:
- Organic, 100% Whole Grain vs. Refined Flour: A whole grain kernel consists of three parts: the innermost germ, the endosperm and the outer bran. Most of the kernel’s nutrients are locked into the germ (vitamin E, antioxidants and healthy fats) and bran (minerals, B-vitamins and fiber). In the production of “refined” grain products, the germ and bran are removed, leaving only the starchy endosperm.
- Cane vs. White Sugar: Sugar refining refers to a process in which sugar cane juice is separated into white sugar and molasses, removing important minerals such as iron, calcium, and chromium. The unrefined version is much less processed and retains its original nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
BONUS: Choose organic, free-run/range eggs! These come from healthier hens that are not caged and fed only organic feed that contains no animal by-products.
Top with warm fruit, chopped nuts, grass-fed butter and pure maple syrup.
CHEESE? Try making nutritious nachos with:
- Organic, Unpasteurized, Aged vs. Conventional Cheese: Raw milk cheeses are safe to consume when subjected to an aging process and temperature control. They are a natural source of probiotics and enzymes to help support digestion.
- Choose Organic, Grass-Fed vs. Grain-Fed Ground Beef: Grass-fed beef will have 2-5x more omega-3 fatty acids, 4x more vitamin E and 10x more vitamin A. They will also contain higher levels of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a naturally occurring fat in certain animal products, which is shown to help lower cholesterol and reduce body fat.
BONUS: Try using roasted beets, sweet potatoes or cauliflower, peppers or zucchini as a base instead of chips in order to boost antioxidant and fibre content while lowering calories.
Top with avocado slices, salsa, black beans, greek yogurt and loads of veggies!
CHOCOLATE? Try making better brownies with:
- Choose Cacao vs. Cocoa Powder: The raw version of this ingredient is its purest edible form and the least processed. It is extremely high in antioxidants and a great source of minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron and calcium.
- Choose Coconut vs. Vegetable Oil: Coconut oil is stable at high temperatures, packed with immune-enhancing fatty acids and a source of MCT’s that serve as a convenient energy source, helping to increase metabolic rate and maintain healthy weight.
BONUS: Try using pureed root vegetables such as beet, sweet potato, banana or pumpkin as a base that is packed with antioxidants and lower in calories and carbohydrates. Plus, these can be a source of natural sugar, so you can limit the amount of sweetener used in the recipe.
Top with a creamy natural peanut butter frosting!
SALT? Try making perfect popcorn with:
- Organic, Grass-Fed vs. Regular Butter: The primary health benefit of grass-fed dairy is that the omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio is significantly improved (up to 300% or 3x more). Grass feeding practices have also been shown to increase the content of CLA by over 5x. CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) has been shown to have beneficial effects in osteoporosis, diabetes and inflammation.
- Sea vs. Refined Salt: Pure, unrefined sea salt has nothing added, nothing removed and contains all of its naturally-occurring minerals. Theoretically, a natural salt will have about 84 trace minerals! These help the body replace lost electrolytes, balance pH levels, regulate muscle contraction and support the thyroid gland.
BONUS: Popcorn is low in calories and packed with fiber and antioxidants. Choose organic whole grains to ensure that they are grown without preservatives, pesticides and herbicides.
Try boosting flavor with toppings such as nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic or chili powder!
HOT? Try making a healthy hot drink with:
- Organic, Full-Fat, Grass-Fed vs. Conventional Milk: Choose full-fat dairy products (whole, non-homogenized) as this portion contains beneficial compounds such as CLA, fat-soluble vitamins and the short chain fatty acid, butyric acid.
- Raw Honey vs. Artificial Syrup: Raw honey has its beneficial enzymes and nutrients still intact and therefore preserves many of its therapeutic qualities. Honey is high in antioxidants and has strong antibacterial properties.
BONUS: Try unsweetened nut milk if you suffer from a dairy intolerance/sensitivity or are simply looking for something lower in calories. Choose organic, fair-trade, shade-grown coffee for higher quality beans that help improve the environment, guarantee crops are free of chemicals and ensure farmers are paid fairly.
Mix in ingredients such as matcha, cacao, vanilla, cinnamon, turmeric or pumpkin puree and spice to customize your favorite speciality drink. Top with full-fat coconut whipped cream!
SWEET? Try making fantastic fruit crisp with:
- Coconut vs. Brown Sugar: This alternative is high in many vitamins and minerals and is considered a “slow release” food that won’t cause blood sugar fluctuations due to its low glycemic index. This makes it a diabetic-friendly sweetener!
- Naked vs. Conventional Oats: These types of oats lose their hulls in the field and can then be rolled without any industrial heat treatment. They provide more protein and also have higher levels of fibre and iron. Try a “rolled” oat variety for baking!
BONUS: Choose organic produce such as apples, berries, pears or peaches that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), toxic pesticides or fertilizers.
Add dried fruits, sliced nuts, dark chocolate and/or shredded coconut!
-This article is sponsored by Good N Natural in Steinbach –