Beyond the Lettuce Burger: Healthy Options to Replace Less Healthy Foods you Love

By : Mandy Erickson

Published February 28, 2018

Beyond the Lettuce Burger: Healthy Options to Replace Less Healthy Foods you Love


Why is it that all the foods you grew up on and loved as a kid—pasta, pancakes, potatoes–turned out to be unhealthy?


The day has come where you can put your devastation away because we have some healthier alternatives for you, and I promise you in some cases you’ll enjoy the alternatives even more than you loved your all-purpose white flour pancakes and white rice as a kid.


Here they are:


Potatoes: YUCA (also known as Cassava)


While sweet potatoes and yams are a common substitute for the less healthy, full of lectin, starchy potato, sometimes they’re just too sweet, right? The solution: Yuca, or cassava.


Yuca is another tuberous root, but it’s much better for you than a potato because it contains less lectins, and therefore is better for your gut.  


And I promise you, you might even like yuca better than those golden nugget potatoes roasted with butter and rosemary that you find yourself craving. From mashed yuca, to scalloped yuca, to yuca fries, all of your favourite potato dishes can be made from yucas, too.


Some tips: If you’re making mashed or scalloped yucas, use coconut milk and ghee instead of butter and cow’s milk. And substitute flour for coconut flour as a thickening agent for your scalloped yuca sauce.


As for yuca fries, avoid cooking with vegetable oils. Check out our recent blog about healthy fat options (link to December 2017 #9 blog) for more. My best tip: Bake or fry with duck fat! A real game changer.


Rice: Cauliflower


While it’s not necessarily the flavor of rice you’re after, as it’s quite tasteless, rice does seem to be a necessary filler when you’re eating things like stir fry, curry dishes, gumbo, or jambalaya, right? It just seems necessary to absorb the sauce in many dishes.


The solution: Turn cauliflower into rice by grating or finely chopping and then sauté it lightly in a healthy oil or fat with salt and pepper. I would argue it has more flavour than rice and absorbs sauces in a similar way, so you won’t miss rice ever again.


Lasagne: Zucchini Noodles!


Once you replace your lasagne noodles with thinly cut strips of zucchini, you seriously won’t go back. One of lasagne’s common downfalls is how the noodles sometimes absorb too much of the sauce leaving you with dry lasagne if you’re not careful. This won’t happen with zucchini noodles. Like rice, it’s the other flavours in the lasagne—the nicely flavoured meat, the spinach, the creamy ricotta etc—that keep you coming back for more, and zucchini noodles are perfect for letting the other flavours shine, all the while providing a rigid structure to keep it all together.


If you’re avoiding dairy, goat cheese—a hard goat cheddar or goat gouda can be shredded just like mozzarella—is a healthier option to cow’s cheeses. Check out our recent blog about cheese options to find out which cheeses are healthiest (link to December 2017 #4 blog).


Or there are always nut-based vegan cheeses if you don’t mind spending a little more money.


Pasta: Spaghetti squash


See Lasagne.


You won’t miss those relatively flavourless spaghetti or fettuccine noodles when you start substituting with spaghetti squash.


Pancakes: Alternative Flours


Oh how you miss those fluffy pancakes you had every Sunday as a child.


Alas, there are plenty of options out there: Replace flour or traditional pancake mix with chestnut flour or coconut flour. Or even protein powder!


Or you can avoid flours altogether and replace it with pureed pumpkin, plantains or chestnuts. Blend them up with coconut milk, coconut oil and eggs (and a little honey or maple syrup and sea salt) and you have a perfect pancake batter.


Ok, Im getting hungry now

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