Swap Out Refined Ingredients for Healthier Meals

Simple, Delicious, Sustainable – Learn how you can make a transition to a healthier lifestyle!

Healthy Lifestyle Concepts - Asheville Health Coaching

Swap Out Refined Ingredients for Healthier Meals

Eating healthier starts with cooking healthier dishes, and in order to make healthier dishes you must use healthier ingredients. Healthy ingredients are “real foods” in and of themselves, such as butter and cream, as opposed to refined and processed compilations of denatured food products, additives and preservatives, such as canned cream of mushroom soup.

So instead of relying on the "old" recipes that often use canned or packaged ingredients, you can often make the same recipes you're used to with healthier, homemade ingredients. This year when you pull out your Holiday recipes, take some time to see how you can replace the canned, boxed and processed ingredients with ingredients that are nourishing whole foods.


If the recipe calls for . . .                                  

The MUCH healthier option to use instead is  . . .

canned cream soups                                          

homemade cream soup

margarine, low-fat dairy                                    

organic butter or coconut oil

Cool Whip or canned whip cream                   

real whipped cream (organic cream, a little sugar)

store-bought bread                                            

sprouted whole grain bread, sourdough bread

sauce and gravy mixes                                       

homemade stock, arrowroot or kudzu, spices

white sugar                                                          

raw cane sugar, sucanat, or natural fructose

brown sugar                                                         

coconut palm date sugar, raw sugar w/molasses

Equal, Sucralose                                                  

stevia, Whey Low (crystalline fructose & lactose),  Xylitol, or erythritol

Karo Syrup (corn syrup)                                     

raw honey, real maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown rice malt syrup

white flour (refined & bleached)                     

whole wheat, almond, coconut, rice, quinoa flour

canned or boxed breadcrumbs                        

homemade breadcrumbs

graham cracker or pastry crust                        

ground walnut and cashew pie crust

white rice                                                             

soaked and drained brown rice or quinoa

white potatoes                                                    

sweet potatoes or yams

mashed white potatoes                                     

mashed cauliflower or parsnips

canned cranberry sauce

fresh cranberry and orange relish

canned vegetables                                              

fresh (best) or frozen organic vegetables

For a more complete list of healthy ingredients that you can substitute for refined and processed ingredients, click the page titled “A Healthier Lifestyle” at the top of the homepage. There you will find not only what you should substitute, but why organic, hormone-free whole food ingredients matter.  

Whether you are struggling to lose weight, or lower your risk for diabetes and heart disease, you will find information on how you can reach your goals AND thoroughly enjoy your meals when you cook with high quality minimally processed ingredients. You can find also find many of the recipes that have been published, as well as many other whole food recipes, on the page titled “Healthy Recipes”.

So many of you may wonder if it’s really worth “all the trouble” to find and use healthier ingredients and to make healthier meals. As a health coach, I can say that I truly understand the process of changing your eating habits and the apprehension in trying new foods. I have also had the wonderful experience of supporting my clients through that process, and am happy to say that not only does it get easier, but that the healthy benefits (both mental and physical) of choosing and eating higher quality ingredients ends up far outweighing any initial skepticism. So as you consider your desire to enjoy many types of foods, as well as your desire to keep or improve your health, you can rest assured that with a little education and ambition, you CAN do both!