We all love pizza, pasta, chocolate muffins and ice-cream sundaes, right?

But being the health conscious types that we are, well, to be honest there’s a certain guilt factor that comes with devouring half a pizza on a crusty base made almost entirely from white flour and salt!

We believe life is all about having your cake and eating it too, so today we’re going to share with you 7 of our favourite, easy food swaps. From Pizza and pasta, to fruit juice and sweets, be prepared to go on a fun foodie adventure, without the guilt factor.

If we get plenty of ‘likes’ on this post, we’ll follow up next week with some more easy, healthy recipes, from breakfast treats and chocolate cake, to papaya tart and even mashed potato!

Read on for this week's easy-swap recipes...

Original: Pizza Crust (bread base) 
If you love your pizza but don’t love the carbs or gluten that come with your favourite crust, try making the following delicious and totally flour/grain free base. Bonus: you’ll be adding filling fibre and upping your veggie serves too!

Healthy Swap: Pizza Crust (cauliflower base)

Start with this 

  • 1 cup of riced cauliflower (make this by dicing cauliflower florets and then steaming them over a saucepan of boiling water, or in the microwave)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of cheese (original recipe says mozzarella or another hard cheese of choice but you can make this healthier again by using 2 x eggs instead of 1 and just a generous sprinkle of goat/sheep fetta)
Now Do this 
  • combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well, while you heat your oven to around 200 degrees Celsius. Line a baking tray and then transfer your mix to the tray, creating a fairly thin pizza shape with it. Drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 minutes, or until crispy and brown. Now top with your favourite pizza sauce/toppings and pop back in the over for 5-10 mins. Done!


Original: Spaghetti (pasta)
It’s so easy to over-indulge with pasta but there’s nothing like a comforting bowl of Bolognese on a cold winter’s night. So don’t ditch it, swap it for a healthy, veggie-packed version!

Healthy Swap: Spaghetti (zucchini or bean)

Start with this 

  • roughly one large zucchini per person 
  • your favourite pasta sauce/topping

Now Do this 

  • use your veggie peeler, or cheese peeler to create long, thin slices of zucchini. If you like your noodles wide and flat, this is all you have to do with them. If you prefer thinner ‘spaghetti’, use a knife to slice these in half or thirds once you’re done. 
  • boil some salted water, add the ‘noodles’ to the water and cook for about 1 minute. 
  • remove from the heat, immediately rinse under cold water and then toss your pasta sauce through for a scrumptious, guilt-free, hearty meal.


Original: Pancakes (flour/milk/butter/sugar)
Yummy but calorie, gluten, sugar and flour packed, traditional pancakes are a ‘sometimes’ treat BUT what if you could turn them into an everyday health food? Here are a couple of ways to do it…

Healthy Swap: Pancakes (egg/banana or egg/oat/yoghurt)

Pancake overhaul #1 

  • pop 2 x bananas (sugar/ladyfinger varieties work best) and 6 x eggs into your blender or food processor and whizz ‘em up. You can either cook this mix, as is, in a pan with a little butter or coconut oil to create a fab pancake mix (medium heat works best, as they take a little longer to cook than typical pancakes), or add some extra goodies for fibre, like flaxseeds, almond meal, or chia seeds 
  • turn these into more cake-like snacks by adding a healthy dose of raw cacao and blueberries or cinnamon/nutmeg to the mix! This makes them thicker and cakey, creating an awesome muffin substitute

Pancake Overhaul #2 

  • create a more savory/hearty mix by popping a couple of eggs, a big spoon of plain, organic yoghurt and a large spoon of oatmeal into a bowl and mixing with a fork. Cook this as you would a typical pancake, with a little butter or coconut oil.

 

Original: Fresh Fruit Juice
Juicing your fruit is a great way to add extra vitamins to your diet but most juicers remove all the fibre and leave you with just sugary, fruity water, meaning that in most cases, you may as well be slurping on vitamin enriched cordial. Just one glass of apple juice can contain as much sugar as a can of coke!

Healthy Swap: Blended Fruit & Veg

  • either opt for pure veggie juices, or blend your fruit and veg, rather than juicing them, so you retain the fibre and get all the goodness too! We love blending baby spinach, celery, parsley and mint with a little ice and frozen mango for a delicious green smoothie treat, or blending papaya with lime and ice for a fruity boost, but experiment a little yourself to find out what works for you!

 

Original: Packaged Soup
That healthy-looking, organic soup packaged up in the keep-fresh plastic sleeve may look like the perfect healthy option – and for the most part, it is a pretty good choice. However, there is often a LOT of added salt and a few icky preservatives hiding in there amongst the hearty broth. The best bet for pure veggie goodness is to make your own!

Healthy Swap: Super Speedy Home Made Soup

Start with this

  • a range of veggies – we love pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and squash

Now do this 
bake them in the oven at around 200 degrees Celsius for about 20 minutes, or steam them all ‘til they’re soft. Now throw those veggies in your blender or food processor and whizz them up until they've got a soupy consistency. Add pepper or herbs/spices to taste, even a little cream if you like, then serve up.
 

Original: White Rice
Delicious, healthy-ish but packing a helluva starchy punch, if you’re trying to lose weight, white rice is often best avoided.

Healthy Swap: Quinoa, Brown Rice, or Cauliflower Rice
Quinoa or brown rice are the obvious swaps, but why not try making yourself a rice substitute from cauliflower? 

Start with this

  • cauliflower

Now do this

  • simply dice the florets and steam for 5-10 minutes until cauliflower rice is 'al dente' and you’re good to go.

 

Original: Ice-cream Sundae 
A few scoops of your favourite ice-cream, a generous serve of thick chocolate sauce, all topped off with baby marshmallows and candied pecans. Sounds delicious, but your poor bod will be dealing with a mini health crisis on the inside! The combination of processed sugars, cream, colours and preservatives is all too much. But everyone needs a little sweet treat from time-to-time, so what to do? We have three options for you…

Healthy Swap: Fruit Cream, Coconut Cream, or Faux-Chocolate Mousse

Dessert Overhaul #1

  • freeze some bananas, berries and/or mango
  • melt some unsweetened carob buds, or Green & Blacks 85% cocoa dark choc
  • chop up a few raw nuts
  • next, pop the fruit in your blender with the teeniest bit of coconut milk or water. Whizz/pulse a little until mushed (but not runny). Pour into a bowl. 
  • melt your carob or dark choc and pour over the fruit
  • sprinkle with nuts and/or shredded coconut
  • enjoy!

Dessert Overhaul #2 

  • you’ll need some chia seeds and a can of coconut cream
  • in a small glass or ramekin, add a generous amount of chia seeds and then add coconut cream, about 3-4 times as much cream as chia seed
  • pop in the fridge and wait a few hours until your dessert takes on a lovely, ice-creamy consistency

Dessert Overhaul #3 

  • pop this in your blender or processor: one small avocado, a few heaped tablespoons of raw cacao, half a frozen banana and a little dark choc or a few unsweetened carob bits
  • if you’ve had enough banana, you could do a big spoon of honey/maple syrup instead 
  • Likewise, you could substitute the carob/choc for some chia seeds to decrease your carb count 
  • blend, then pop in a bowl in the fridge for a few hours and you have… chocolate mousse! Yum!  
  • take this dessert to a whole new level by creating a ‘pie’ base for your mousse: blend a handful of nuts, a few chopped dates and some honey, then press into the base of your bowl/cup before adding the mousse

Read the original article on Libby's Yahoo!7 Blog.