Spring has sprung and the weather is getting warmer. Already spring cleaning? Why not apply the same mentality to your diet? Check out this array of food hacks to make your life more nutritious without sacrificing taste. Here’s healthy food made easier:

Carb Replacement

Cutting out carbs? Simply trying to incorporate more vegetables in your diet? Cauliflower can transform quite a few meals, from main courses to side dishes.

  • Looking for the perfect side dish to go with your veggie stir fry, curry, or craving some fried rice? Give cauliflower a try. While methods may vary, the result is the same – a delicious and nutritious option.
  • Take a head of cauliflower and either shred with a grater or pulse in a food processor until it resembles rice-like grains. Sauté in a splash of oil for 5 to 8 minutes over medium heat, season as desired, and you have yourself a great addition to any meal. On average, by replacing standard rice with cauliflower, you can cut about 200 calories and around 40g of carbs. As cauliflower “rice” grows in popularity, you might even be able to find it already prepared at your local grocery store.

Photo: Jennifer Schmidt via Unsplash

Replace mashed potatoes

Similarly, replace mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or even turnips. You can even keep your standard mashed potato recipe with a few minor changes.

  • Prepare your cauliflower or turnips as you would your potatoes – either roasting, boiling, or steaming until tender. For a smooth and creamy texture, blend or place in a food processor with your favorite seasonings and a bit of butter. Use margarine to keep the dish vegan.

Replace that pizza crust

For the main course, try this new spin on a classic favorite – pizza. Just about everyone loves pizza, from thin crust to deep dish, there’s no denying its a delicious choice. Looking to cut the calories without cutting the flavor? Give cauliflower pizza crust a try!

  • Instead of using standard pizza dough, simply take cauliflower “rice” (made from one medium sized floret) and combine with an egg and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of mozzarella, parmesan, or a nice flavorful blend of the two. Season as desired – recommended combinations include a pinch each of basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic.
  • Spread the dough on a pan and bake in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven. Cooking time will vary depending on how thick you prefer your crust, but it should be somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes. In addition to cauliflower “rice” being easier to find, you may find pre-made pizza crust at your favorite supermarket or restaurant. In this case however, homemade may be a healthy food choice, as some store bought options are loaded with excess oils and fat.

Egg Replacement

  • Trying to keep things vegan? Replace eggs with flax or chia seeds. To replace one egg, combine 3 tablespoons of water with one tablespoon of seeds and allow at least 5 minutes for the mixture to thicken.
  • Depending on the flavor combinations of your dish, applesauce and mashed banana can also be considered to replace eggs in quite a few recipes, with a quarter cup of each replacing 1 egg.

Photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

Vegan Hacks

Once your main dish has been prepared, its time to move on to the favorite – dessert! Keep in mind that decadent doesn’t have to mean unhealthy.

  • Pureed avocado can replace butter in similar quantities.
  • Applesauce can take the place of both oil and sugar, with the latter happening with a bit of liquid reduction.
  • Similarly, consider replacing half or all of the white flour in recipes for whole wheat flour.

Photo by Jenn Kosar via Unsplash

  • Going vegan or simply looking to reduce the dairy consumption in your life? Nutritional yeast has to be a staple in your pantry – this product can add a cheesy taste to tons of dishes. Combine it with blended cashews that have been soaked over night to make a delectable cream sauce for an array of dishes. Try adding Italian seasoning and a touch of garlic, and a splash of your favorite non-dairy milk to make a fantastic vegan alfredo.
  • Finally, for healthy food, cut out unnecessary oil by sautéing your favorite vegetables in a splash of vegetable broth.

And that’s it! A few changes can revolutionize your diet and having you happier and healthier in no time at all. Healthy food can be delicious – and these handy tricks should make life a whole lot easier.

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