Tasty Favorites with a Healthy Twist
Don't give up your favorite foods — a few tweaks can make them better for you. Sponsored by Tyson.
Sponsored by Tyson.
Rich, indulgent dishes taste good, no question about it, but they may not be the best choice if you’re trying to watch your waistline or your cholesterol levels. Don’t despair! There are plenty of easy ways to create healthier versions of your favorite foods without having to sacrifice any of the flavor you crave. Try some of these recipes on for size and see how good it tastes (and feels) to lighten up a little!
Give tailgating eats a makeover
What’s a football game without some classic tailgate eats? Chili dogs are a tried-and-true fave, not just in the parking lot before a football game, but also at summer baseball and winter basketball match-ups. This easy-to-prepare-at-home casserole lowers the carbs for a healthier way to indulge without skimping on the traditional chili dog flavors loyal fans have come to know and love.
Getting your family to sit down together for a nutritious breakfast before everyone heads out the door is next to impossible. Simplify the morning rush by preparing healthy items ahead of time that you can reheat quickly to eat on the go, like these breakfast bites. Turkey sausage, egg and cheese provide the protein fuel you need to power through the day, and including some vegetables gives you a jump start on your three recommended daily servings, not to mention a healthy dose of vitamins. These breakfast bites have built-in portion control, too.
After a long, exhausting day of work, school and all the other commitments on your plate, the last thing you want to do is spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a wholesome dinner. Assembling a simple sheet pan dinner lets you customize the meal according to what your family likes and include lots of healthy veggies. Toss it in the oven and set the timer for a low-maintenance supper that practically cooks itself. Roasting the ingredients develops deep caramelized flavors that will bring everyone to the table without having to add a ton of oil or butter. And because you’re only using one pan, cleaning up afterward is a breeze!
Cream-free silky soup
A steaming bowl of hot soup on a chilly day or when you’re feeling under the weather is one of the most comforting things in the world. Reducing the heavy cream, cheese and butter in your favorite recipes and focusing instead on potatoes, veggies, beans and other satisfying ingredients creates a healthier finished product that still tastes super indulgent. Pureeing is a great trick to keep up your sleeve, resulting in a rich, creamy texture without having to fall back on high-fat, high-calorie building blocks.
Cut back the carbs
Yes, you can still “mangia bene” and be healthy at the same time! Just skip the standard flour-and-egg pasta and use your imagination to lay down an alternative base for meatballs, tomato sauce, sauteed vegetables, pesto and any other toppings you’d usually serve atop your preferred noodles. Sub in “zoodles” (spiral-cut zucchini noodles), spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice for their traditional counterparts and see what a difference slashing a few carbs can make in the way you look and feel.
Spice things up
Taste the world right in your very own kitchen by experimenting with different global cuisines. Indian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and other diverse international food cultures often rely on spices and herbs to add flavor instead of high-calorie butter and oil. And because so many international recipes incorporate lots of vegetables, they’re lighter on the palate and the stomach. Try cooking up something new for a dinnertime change of pace and bring your family along for the ride. Who knows? You might just discover some new favorites. Serve this chicken and broccoli stir fry with brown rice or soba noodles to sneak in a serving of whole grains.
Take a break from meat
Many families have made Meatless Mondays a part of their weekly dining repertoires for budget and health reasons. Why not give some thought to replacing the usual beef, chicken and pork on your menu with a plant-based protein? It’s a great way to lighten up your repetoire, and with hearty meat alternatives to choose from like tofu, chickpeas, seitan and jackfruit on the market, it’s easier than ever. Today’s vegetarian and vegan recipes go way beyond salads and stir fries, and they’re every bit — and bite — as satisfying.
Don’t skip dessert
Lightening up your eating habits doesn’t have to mean skipping dessert. Seasonal fruit-based choices are a great way to go — picture a colorful bowl of fresh berries with whipped cream in the summer, or imagine sitting down to fragrant cinnamon-baked apples in the fall and winter. When only something rich, creamy and sinful will do, stick to a smaller portion size to prevent extra pounds from creeping on.