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Irresistible Foods and their Substitutes

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I've made a list of the foods that I just can't seem to say no to. My goal is to think of healthier "replacement foods" that offer similar satisfaction without being entirely too irresistible. I haven't figured out substitutions for all of these so please feel free to make suggestions in the comments.

Stuffed pastas (ravioli, tortellini): replace with noodle pastas (papardelle, spaghetini)

White rice: replace with brown rice or no rice.

Thai curries (the sweet, fatty kind with coconut milk and added sugar): replace with sauteed or grilled proteins

Milk chocolate: replace with dark chocolate



Cheese and crackers or cheese and baguette: omit the cracker or bread and only have slices of cheese?

Mimosas: plain champagne (easier to keep track of calories)

Doughs and batters: replace with the finished product/stop baking

Tortilla chips (especially nachos)

Other sweets (tarts, pain au chocolat)

Savory baked goods (cheese rolls, scones)

Wine (especially sweet wines and sparkling): stick with with dry reds

Ice cream: replace with sorbet

These are all the foods that I most frequently overeat. Maybe if I can get a handle on my relationship with each of these foods and implement some clever substitutions, I'll be closer to a sustainable and enjoyable eating plan!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I eat lemon sorbet rather than ice cream. I can only have a few bites before it's too sour. It still satisfies me though and a $4 pint lasts forever (rather than eating a whole pint in one sitting).
    1884 days ago
    What a great idea to make a list!

    And figure out replacements!

    I'm going to do that this weekend.

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    1884 days ago
    I hear you... same issue here. You might want to look at low cal mozzarella cheese sticks or laughing cow soft cheese wedges as a substitute for cheese. I make my own veggie pizzas using low cal whole wheat pita bread and that is pretty tasty.
    1884 days ago
    I commiserate with you about your irresistible foods! Some of it you'll likely just have to be ruthless and slash off your menu. But there are alternatives for some.

    Pizza can be made with several sorts of alternate crusts. Try some of them. No, they're not identical in taste or texture to the pizza we're accustomed to...but it beats no pizza! (see my mention of cheese crackers below. You can use those as pizza "crust", if you make them big enough!)

    Lots of folks use riced cauliflower as a substitute for "real" rice, or mash it up like potatoes. I saw a recipe for a cauliflower and celeriac mash that looked pretty tasty. I occasionally have mashed sweet potatoes. That's at least not the white potatoes, and so long as I don't have the whole thing in front of me, I can eat a small-to-reasonably-sized portion and not feel too badly about it. I douse it with a little sucralose, vanilla, cinnamon, and butter ... it's pretty good from my perspective!

    Spaghetti squash has been cited as a reasonable substitute for pasta. I've found a more "real" pasta made from almond flour that's very good - it's made by a company called "Cappello's", and I won't mislead you: it's pricey! But no more so than the Buitoni or other refrigerated pastas you can get in the grocery. They make it in fettucine, lasagna, and gnocchi. I think I'm going to start begging them for orzo!

    There is a book out called "Cooking with Coconut Flour," I can't remember the man's name who wrote it. But it's not adapted recipes - they're made with the unique qualities of coconut flour right from the outset. They're good, too!

    You can make some crispy snacks out of cheese by piling up a small handful on a non-stick paper and microwaving it until it's bubbly. Cool it enough to hold together and peel it off. They're good! You can do the same with the pepperoni rounds they sell to put on pizza. They crisp up very nicely. Either of those can be eaten alone or as dippers.

    I make my own sugarfree gelatins - those have nearly NO nutritional "cost." I rarely buy the SF versions at the grocery...but they're full of aspartame. I'd rather just make it myself with sucralose or stevia. And check the label on whipped topping. It's not nearly as "costly" as you might think!

    Speaking of labels - you mention should look at that. It SOUNDS like a great thing. Just like frozen fruit bars and fruit smoothies (and even fruit juice) and yogurt SOUND like great things. Add up those numbers though. It was a shocker to me, at least. Try frozen grapes. I don't know about you, but I can't eat a great quantity of really cold stuff; it makes my teeth hurt and I get "brain freeze"! I know: I've just finished fussing about the "evils" of fruit! lol But if you can manage to eat them in moderation, frozen grapes are absolutely delicious, and have (to me) nearly the same texture as sherbet or sorbet, but without all the other additive sugars and whatnot. I think any juicy fruits would probably be the same, frozen. Maybe even those prepackaged bags of berries meant to be made into smoothies. I like frozen banana slices, especially dipped in some of the aforementioned whipped topping (don't go crazy with that!). Frozen melon! oh, yum!

    Dark chocolate is pretty good, so long as you can moderate your intake. Even dark chocolate in handfuls isn't going to help! It took me a while to get used to it, but I'll eat a small piece now and then. It's not a daily occurrence, but then I was never much of a chocoholic. I do love hot cocoa. But you can make that with almond or coconut milk and cocoa powder or shaved dark chocolate, and use a sugarfree sweetener. I like that when I'm having a cocoa craving.

    I can't speculate on the wine or mixed drinks. I use a lot of wine in cooking, but I never thought much about the nutritional values. Maybe someone else can address that.

    There are things out there you can substitute. You'll likely find other things you never had before that you'd miss if you had to give them up at some point, too! It's something of an adventure, actually. Happy trekking!

    1885 days ago
    Pizza - I've heard of people who use flatbreads or wraps toasted. Some will even use giant portabella mushroom caps as the "crust" and then add a simple marinara sauce, low-fat low-cal cheese, and veggie toppings.

    Tortilla chips - I've heard of taking whole wheat tortillas, cutting them into triangles and crisping them in the oven. You could control the salt and they would certainly be healthier than bagged chips.
    1885 days ago
    1885 days ago
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