We all love comfort food, but sometimes it’s nice to make it a bit healthier without losing that satisfying taste. Luckily, there are some easy swaps and tricks that can lighten up your favorite dishes without anyone noticing. We promise, your mashed potatoes will still taste great and your waistline will thank you if you try some of these next time around.

A rectangular white baking dish containing a partially served cheesy potato casserole, shown on a wooden surface with a wooden spoon beside it.
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Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream

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Photo credit: Canva.

Swap sour cream with Greek yogurt. It’s creamy, tangy, and packed with protein and probiotics, which support gut health. Use it in dips, as a topping for baked potatoes, or even in baking for a healthier twist that boosts the nutritional value without sacrificing flavor.

Sneak in Veggies

Zucchini muffins on a plate with sliced bananas.
Banana Zucchini Muffins. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Add finely chopped or pureed veggies to sauces, soups, and casseroles. Carrots, zucchini, and spinach blend right in without changing the flavor too much. This trick increases your meal’s fiber and vitamin content, making it healthier without anyone noticing. Everyone always loves banana zucchini muffins, even kids!

Opt for Whole Grain Pasta

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Switch to whole grain pasta or one of the many pasta alternatives made with vegetables and legumes for more fiber and nutrients like B vitamins and iron. It has a similar taste and texture to regular pasta, making it an easy swap for any pasta dish. Plus, the extra fiber helps with digestion and keeps you fuller longer.

Bake Instead of Fry

Air fried buffalo chicken tenders on a plate with dipping sauce.
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Tenders. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Baking foods like fries, chicken, and fish sticks can cut down on oil and calories significantly. They’ll still come out crispy and delicious without the extra fat, and you can use seasonings and herbs to enhance the flavor. This is essentially what the air fryer does working like a mini convection oven but still giving you all the crispy texture you crave.

Use Avocado Instead of Butter

Chocolate chip muffins on a cooling rack.
Chocolate Chip Avocado Muffins. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

In baking, you can replace butter with mashed avocado for a dose of healthy fats — these avocado chocolate chip muffins prove it. Avocados provide monounsaturated fats, which are good for your heart. This swap also works well in brownies, cookies, and even frosting, adding a creamy consistency and a slight nutty flavor.

Choose Leaner Meats

Raw meat, seafood, vegetables and grains spread out.
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Use lean cuts of meat like chicken breast or ground turkey instead of fattier cuts. They’re just as flavorful and much better for your heart and waistline. Lean meats provide high-quality protein without the extra fat, which can help keep weight in check.

Swap Heavy Cream with Milk

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Replace heavy cream with milk or a milk alternative in soups and sauces. You’ll cut down on calories and saturated fat while still getting a rich, creamy texture. For added thickness, you can use evaporated milk or a bit of cornstarch mixed with milk. Don’t worry, your mashed potatoes will still taste just as good.

Reduce Sugar with Applesauce

A glass bowl of applesauce garnished with apple slices and a mint leaf, placed on a wooden surface with whole red apples in the background.
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Use unsweetened applesauce in place of some of the sugar in baking recipes. It adds natural sweetness and moisture without the extra calories. Plus, applesauce brings fiber and vitamins to your baked goods, making them a bit healthier.

Add Beans to Meat Dishes

Black bean meatballs in tomato sauce with a spoon.
Italian Black Bean Meatballs. Photo credit: Running to the Kitchen.

Mix beans into ground meat dishes like tacos, burgers, and chili. Beans add fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, stretching the meal and making it healthier. They also help keep you full longer and can reduce the amount of meat needed, lowering fat content. These Italian black bean meatballs prove how good it can taste!

Use Cauliflower as a Substitute

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Substitute cauliflower for starchy ingredients. Try cauliflower rice, mashed cauliflower, or even cauliflower pizza crust to cut down on carbs without sacrificing flavor. Cauliflower is low in calories but high in fiber and vitamins C and K, making it a nutritious alternative and you’ll be amazed at how good some of these alternative options taste!

Add Flaxseed or Chia Seeds

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Mix flaxseed or chia seeds into your recipes for an added boost of omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein. These seeds can be added to smoothies, baked goods and even sprinkled on top of yogurt or cereal. They help improve the nutritional profile without altering the taste much.

10 Must-Know Tips For Cooking Pasta Perfectly Every Time

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Cooking pasta might seem simple, but getting it just right can be tricky. No one likes pasta that’s too underdone or mushy, and it can be frustrating to get it perfect every time. Luckily, there are some easy tips and tricks that can help you master that perfect al dente bite each and every time.

Read it Here: 10 Must-Know Tips For Cooking Pasta Perfectly Every Time

11 ‘Healthy’ Cooking Oils That Are Terrible for You

Bottles of olive oil, tomatoes, a bowl of olives, and fresh herbs in pots on a wooden surface with a blurred background.
Photo Credit: Depositphotos.

We all try to make healthier choices, and cooking oils are no exception. But not all oils are as good for you as they seem. Some popular “healthy” options can actually do more harm than good. Here’s a rundown of some cooking oils that might not be as beneficial as you think. Try swapping some of these out for healthier alternatives like olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil instead.

Read it Here: 11 ‘Healthy’ Cooking Oils That Are Terrible for You

*Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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