News: 10 Sneaky Substitutions That Will Have You Eating Healthier

10 Sneaky Substitutions That Will Have You Eating Healthier

When you're trying to cut some calories or just eat more veggies, it's important to enjoy what you're eating. If all you're doing is telling yourself "no" and focusing on what you can't eat, you are pretty much destined to fail at your diet.

Allowing yourself treats without breaking your resolve to eat better can be one of the keys to successful changes in diet and behavior. Here are some of our favorite "cheats" that aren't really cheats at all—because they can still be a part of a healthy eating regimen.

1. Chickpea-Palooza

We've all hit that point mid-afternoon... when lunch is but a distant memory and dinner is still hours away. Rather than ripping open a bag of chips, try one of these yummy, healthy chickpea snacks that are crunchy and satisfying, without derailing your diet.

Crunchy and flavorful, these chickpeas will rock your snack world. Image by Taylor Friedlander/Food Hacks

2. Veggies for Dessert?!

Yup, you read that right: Treat yourself to something sweet but healthy by making a dessert based around veggies. These decadent meal-enders are as good for you as they are tasty.

Beet it, beet it—and make a gorgeous and healthy dessert. Image by Taylor Friedlander/Food Hacks

3. Make Your Own Gatorade

I'm not one who considers Gatorade a treat, but many people swear by its benefits as a post-workout electrolyte boost. And there's no question that when you've been battling a stomach bug, Gatorade can be a real life saver.

But when you're trying to be more health-minded, you may be reluctant to put all of those artificial ingredients and chemicals into your body. So give this all-natural, homemade version of Gatorade a try, and you can replenish your body without undermining your resolve.

If you're working out or battling the flu, this healthier version of Gatorade will feel like a real treat. Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks

4. French Fry Fakeouts

Just the word "fry" in the name of everyone's favorite potato treat lets you know that it's a no-no if you're dieting. Bummer.

But don't despair: You can still indulge in crunchy, addictive snacks and sides that will leave you satisfied and virtuous.

Parmesan-dusted, crunchy-baked green beans are a snack that you can feel good about. Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks

5. Cheesy Goodness

When I'm trying to cut calories, one of the first things I cut out is cheese. It was sorely missed in my daily eating until I discovered much healthier substitutes.

These cashew spreads satisfy my craving for creamy goodness with less saturated fat and no cholesterol.

You won't even miss the queso with these awesome cashew cheese dips. Image by McKel Hill/Nutrition Stripped

6. Turkey Burgers Boosted

No fries, no cheese… what's the point in even making a burger, right? Wrong! This clever turkey burger recipe recreates the savory, smoky flavor of regular, fatty patties— and will never have you asking "Where's the beef?"

These look and taste so delicious you won't even know they're good for you. Image by Vanessa Middleton/Food Hacks

7. Cauliflower Can-Dos

Even though I am normally not a fan of cauliflower, I think these cauliflower ricing hacks are my favorite "cheat" of all. Being able to still eat pizza, snack on "chips," and dig into "fried rice" while sticking to my healthier eating plan is often the difference between doing the dance of joy and slinking away in shame when I step on the scale in the morning.

And for all you lazy bums: Trader Joe's now sells pre-riced cauliflower, so you can't even use the excuse that it's too much work anymore. Give it a try and never look back!

Crust is a must, but when it's made with riced cauliflower it's even good for you. Image by Michele Giannusa/Food Hacks

8. Use Your Noodle(S)—With Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is not pasta; there's no question about that. But it is arguably just as delicious and definitely a lot better for you than noodles, and when mixed into sauces it can definitely hold its own in a hearty and healthy Italian meal.

With the right preparationyour spaghetti squash can be even more noodle-like, which makes the sauce sit better in the dish and makes you feel like you're carbing it up... when you're really vegging out.

Spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta- and this hack makes it even more noodle-licious! Image by Lauren Zaser via Buzzfeed/Food Hacks

9. Cookies for Breakfast? Yes, Please!

If you're sick and tired of smoothies or plain ol' boring oatmeal for breakfast, these delicious breakfast cookies will take your morning meal from "ugh, no" to "oh yeah!" in a few easy steps.

You'll be starting your day off feeling like you're getting away with something when all you're really doing is treating yourself right.

What a perfect way to start your day! Image by Naomi Imatome-Yun/Food Hacks

10. Healthier Ice Cream Is Not a Dream

Everyone knows it's great to have a little dessert after dinner. In fact, some of us grew up thinking a meal wasn't complete without a sweet finish! But when you're trying to eat better, you either have to give up ice cream completely or have a portion so miniscule it just ends up making you feel sad (or sends you to finishing the pint…and right back to square one).

This amazing one-ingredient ice cream will totally satiate your craving for a flavorful finale to your meal—or a mid-afternoon snack.

I scream, you scream... but not because this ice cream is bad for you. Image by Brady Klopfer/Food Hacks

Be Good to Yourself

Indulging occasionally, even when it's not super healthy, can be good for you. But when you can make your "cheat" a treat for your body and your morale, it's a win-win. Try these Food Hacks favorites for making smarter choices when you do indulge, and you'll be on the road to happier health in no time!

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Cover photo by Brent Hofacker/123RF

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