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It’s the perennial dilemma: We want our food to taste delicious, but we also want to eat healthfully. Like, why can’t all salads taste like ice cream?

That’s why we’re always on the lookout for subtle calorie-saving food swaps, especially during the holiday season. Here, 11 ingredient replacements that will help you eat better--without even noticing.

 

Dip

Instead of Sour Cream, Use Plain Yogurt

Greek yogurt tastes similar to sour cream but contains a fraction of the fat. Add a dab of Dijon mustard and a bit of salt and pepper to plain yogurt, then try using it in coleslaw, as the base for dips, as a garnish on baked potatoes or in Mexican recipes.

Try it at home.

CauliRice

Instead of Rice, Use Cauliflower

Guys, you can totally swap cauliflower for grains when making curry or stir-fry recipes. Just throw the florets in a food processor, then either sauté or or serve them raw. Plus, the cauliflower version is ready in a fraction of the time compared (ten minutes!) to actual rice.

Try it at home.

ChickenSalad

Instead of Mayonnaise, Use Avocado

Blend avocado with a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt, and it will take on the same creamy texture as mayo--but without all the unhealthy fat. Use it in chicken salad, as a garnish on sandwiches or instead of mayo-based salad dressings.

Try it at home.

proscuito

Instead of Bacon, Use Prosciutto

Look, we love bacon as much as the next girl, but save it for special occasions. Try substituting baked prosciutto in your favorite pastas, sandwiches and breakfast dishes. The cured meat is more flavor-packed, so you can get away with making less of it,  and you?ll consume way less sodium and fat overall.

Try it at home.

MashedTurnip

Instead of Mashed Potatoes, Use Turnips

Mashed turnips taste delicious and basically have the same consistency as creamy mashed potatoes, but with about a third of the carbs. Amp up the side dish with chicken stock, butter or garlic--and you can even add carrots, apples and parsnips for more flavor.

Try it at home.

Meatloaf1
The Healthy Foodie

Instead of Ground Beef, Use Grated Veggies

Relax: We’re not telling you to go full-fledged vegetarian. But the next time you’re making a dish like burgers, meatballs, chili or meatloaf, bulk up the beef with shredded veggies like carrots and zucchini to save calories and add nutrition.

Try it at home.

brownies

Instead of Flour, Use Black Beans

This one seems far-fetched, but trust. When baking sweet desserts, use a can of black beans--rinsed, drained and pureed--in lieu of a cup of flour. It sounds crazy, but legumes won’t change the flavor of your baked goods. They will, however, make them gluten-free and lower calorie.

Try it at home.

Applesauce

Instead of Vegetable Oil, Use Applesauce

Speaking of baking hacks: You can bake healthier versions of your favorite muffins, cakes and breads by using unsweetened applesauce in place of vegetable oil. The final result tastes exactly the same, and the texture is even more cakey and fluffy. If the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, use ¾ cup of applesauce.

Try it at home.

VeggieNoodles

Instead of Pasta, Use Julienned Vegetables

Use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to turn veggies like zucchini, carrots, squash and eggplant into pasta-like ribbons. Whip up anything from zucchini noodle “pad Thai” to spaghetti squash and meatballs.

Try it at home.

RELATED: 10 Veggie Noodle Recipes to Try at Home

AlmondChicken

Instead of Panko Bread Crumbs, Use Almonds

Next time you’re craving fried chicken, try breading drumsticks or wings with crushed almonds and baking them in the oven. The result: chicken that tastes crispy and fried but without all the grease.

Try it at home.

Soup

Instead of Cream, Use Pureed Beans or Nuts

Fatty heavy cream? Hold, please. Adding puréed white beans or cashews to soup is an easy way to thicken the broth and create texture without altering the flavor.

Try it at home.

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