Made Over Meals – Simple Changes to Make for Your Health

Making simple changes to your favorite dishes can go a long way when it comes to your health. We have compiled a list of our staff’s favorite meals and proposed some simple changes to a few key ingredients to make them over into something a tad healthier.  No matter what your journey is – eating healthy, losing weight, or avoiding food sensitivities, we all can benefit from making healthy changes to how we live!

Healthy Changes Collage

Lasagna

Healthy Swap: Switch out the pasta for thinly sliced vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash, or ribbons of carrots.  Layer the vegetables with cheese and sauce.  By replacing the pasta with vegetables you are drastically cutting down on carbohydrates and increasing your vegetable intake – a bonus!

Corned Beef Reuben with Swiss, Sauerkraut, and Thousand Island Dressing

Healthy Swap: Instead of corned beef, think about using nitrate free turkey.  Make your own thousand island dressing (we really like this recipe), and choose a gluten free rye-style bread.

Chicken and Dumplings

Healthy Swap: This thick and creamy comfort food is easily made with gluten free flour, non-dairy butter type spread, and white meat chicken.  Instead of using heavy cream, use a non-dairy milk such as almond or organic soy milk.  Season generously and stir in lots of chopped veggies.

Mac-N-Cheese

Healthy Swap: We won’t beat around the bush with this one. This recipe is made with cashews! You won’t even know the difference – it is a well-loved dish in our office.

Meatloaf

Healthy Swap: There are so many ways to make meatloaf a little bit healthier.  Replace regular bread crumbs with ground oats (gluten free if needed), use ground turkey or chicken in the place of beef, and add in chopped vegetables such as carrots, onion, celery, spinach, kale, peppers, etc. You will have a veggie-packed meatloaf in no time!

Mashed Potatoes

Healthy Swap: Instead of the creamy butter and milk filled potatoes, change your line of thinking to a smashed potato.  Boil your potatoes as usual, smash the potatoes with a masher, and stir in good tasting olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh herbs.

Chicken Tenders

Healthy Swap: Bread your chicken with gluten free bread crumbs, almond flour, or even chia seeds! The options are endless.  Season your breading with whatever your favorite spices are and bake in the oven or sauté on the stove top.  No batter or deep frying found here!

French Fries

Healthy Swap: Using a mandolin, cut the potatoes to the desired thickness.  If you don’t have one, cut the potato into wedges with a knife.  Toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you desire.  Bake in a 400°F oven until they are brown and crisp.

Baked Ziti

Healthy Swap: Substitute regular pasta for whole grain or gluten free pasta, make your own marinara, and use grated vegetables mixed throughout along with half the cheese and more Parmesan than mozzarella.

Chicken Parmesan

Healthy Swap: Instead of breading and frying your chicken cutlet, simply toss the chicken in seasoned almond flour and pan fry until cooked through.  Serve on a bed of whole grain or gluten free spaghetti and cover with homemade marinara and a topping of Parmesan cheese.  Bake to melt the cheese.

Shephard’s Pie

Healthy Swap: While lamb is delicious, it is very fatty! Try a blend of lamb and lean beef, or forego the lamb altogether and use ground chicken or turkey.  Mix in all of your favorite vegetables (peas, carrots, celery, green beans, spinach, etc.) and top with a layer of mashed cauliflower.  Bake until heated through and bubbly!

Ice Cream

Healthy Swap: Oh delicious ice cream.  Instead of opting for the dairy filled version, make your own with coconut milk!  Be sure to use the full fat version for the best results.  Instead of using a ton of added sugar, skip it all together and use spices and extracts that give the impression of sweetness such as vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, or almond extract.  You don’t even need an ice cream maker!


Stefanie Gates, chef, is a regular contributor to our blog and culinary advisor for PreviMedica. She enjoys developing recipes and creating cooking videos to share with our readers, as well as working one-on-one with our clients to teach them valuable cooking skills. Her main recipe tester is her 20 month old son.  You can learn more about her here.

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