How to Make Healthy Versions of Unhealthy Foods

healthy versions

One of the biggest obstacles for people who choose to start following a healthier diet is the belief that they will have to give up some of their favorite foods. Pizza, tacos, fries—these foods have no place in a health-conscious eating plan, right?

Wrong! Part of the challenge of eating healthier is knowing how to adjust some of your favorite meals so that you don’t have to deny yourself food that you enjoy.

Thankfully, this approach to diet can be satisfying and even easier than you think! Adding more vegetables here, removing some saturated fat there and incorporating spices while scaling back on the dairy will result in familiar tasting foods with a much healthier profile.

Baked Fish and Chips

If you think there is a better combination of foods than fish and chips, we don’t want to hear about it. The crunch of hot potato paired with a flakey fish fillet is simply a match made in heaven. The problem here, though, is that your traditional fish and chips is a deep-fried affair. Fried foods are typically high in sodium and the frying process causes ingredients to absorb lots of oil. So, while delicious, this meal does absolutely nothing to improve your health.

That being said, don’t go casting this combo off. Instead, get creative with how you prepare it. A heart and waistline healthy fish like Tilapia is a great addition to this dish, but rather than putting it in the deep fryer, bake it instead. After lightly coating the fillet in flour and bread crumbs, bake it in the oven to get a light, crispy fish rather than a soggy, spoiled mess. And while you’re at it, ensure you oven bake your fries as well—or better yet, substitute Vitamin C-packed sweet potatoes for an even healthier treat.

Fish Tacos

Your typical Tex-Mex tacos don’t exactly pack a nutritious punch. They can be laden with excess sodium and saturated fat, not to mention artificial colors and flavors if you’re utilizing ready-made taco kits. However, this doesn’t have to be the case, and tacos actually offer a huge health potential.

Opt for low-fat fish tacos that consist of sautéed Mexican-style Tilapia instead, and serve them up with fresh cilantro, salsa verde and warm corn tortillas. The best part about tacos is the layering of flavors and texture—salty and spicy, cold and warm, fresh and rich—so if you load up your taco with fresh, nutritious ingredients, you’ll be guaranteeing yourself a fantastic meal that won’t leave you feeling bloated.

Barbecued Flatbread

Pizza is a favorite indulgence of many—unfortunately though, when made like other members of its fast food family, it offers very little in the way of nutrients and more than its fair share of fat. So does that mean you have to say goodbye to this comforting dish? Absolutely not!

When you find yourself craving the flavors of Italy, say no to mountains of mozzarella and oily salami and instead try your hand at this Barbecued Tilapia Flatbread from Regal Springs. Fresh ingredients (instead of those hailing from a packet) and a reasonable amount of cheese makes this flatbread a healthy (and delicious) alternative to the universal crowd-pleaser.

Next time you’re torn between some delicious comfort food and lighter fare, remember that the two can coexist. Simply making a few adjustments, like swapping out ingredients high in saturated fat for leaner and meaner options, allows you to play around with the flavors and textures of the dishes you love.

Photo Credits: hlphoto / Shutterstock Inc., Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock Inc., Africa Studio / Shutterstock Inc.