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9 Tiny, Easy, Delicious Ways to Make Your Meals Healthier

What if, instead all the negative food-body thoughts, feeling like a failure, and regret-eating, we could have a lighter more positive touch and just make a few super do-able substitutions to our recipes?
01/31/2015 07:36am ET | Updated December 6, 2017
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Since it's almost February, your New Year's Resolution to eat healthier might feel like a distant dream.

We've all been there, done this before, no? What if, instead all the negative food-body thoughts, feeling like a failure, and regret-eating, we could have a lighter more positive touch and just make a few super do-able substitutions to our recipes? We can still have cake, but we'll have this chocolate zucchini cake. Sound good?

Keeping Michael Pollan's quotation "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly plants" close to my heart, I designed an organized guide (because order makes me feel calm) for easy cooking and baking replacements. I offer you nine tips from this free guide so you can make your meals more plant-based while maintaining your peace of mind and positivity.

1. Explore new cooking methods.
Sautéing and frying aren't the only games in town. Roasting brings out sweetness in anything -- Brussels sprouts, carrots, even cauliflower. And what about steaming and braising? They're quick, healthy, and don't add any fat or oil to your dish.

2. Swap out eggs for tomato paste.
If you're making a vegetarian meatloaf or spicy black-bean burgers, nudge your dish in the direction of a more plant-based approach by binding things with tomato paste instead of eggs. It's also super flavorful!

3. Give firm tofu a serious try.
Many of us have tried soft, under-spiced tofu cubes and thought "Never again." But firm tofu can be marinated in just about anything and if you freeze and defrost it before marinating, you'll find it has a texture much closer to meat!

4. Add tons of roasted garlic or shallots.
Roasted garlic and shallots add a deep, satisfying, almost-meaty flavor to savory dishes. I've been known to add an entire head of roasted garlic without any complaints from my guests!

5. Try canned, pureed pumpkin in your baked goods.
You'll be able to reduce the oil and eggs in your cakes and cookies but they'll still come out moist. The puree will add a slight pumpkin flavor to your recipes so it's probably best to stick with chocolate or cinnamon flavors which pair well with pumpkin.

6. Swap mashed banana for some of your eggs.
You probably don't want to completely remove all the eggs, from every recipe, but you can certainly use fewer eggs when you add half a mashed banana to your recipe. Bananas won't help the batter rise, so use them in conjunction with baking powder or baking soda.

7. Use more (and different!) spices and herbs.
We so frequently rely on butter, cream, oil, and meat to flavor our dishes -- what if we used spices and herbs to increase flavor. Think out of the box and use ethnic spices or spice mixtures for different flavors. What about smoked serrano chili powder, turmeric, saigon cinnamon, or vanilla paste? Of course, fresh herbs add a jolt of taste, color, and texture, too!

8. Mustard, balsamic, and Sriracha for everyone!
These three condiments are almost universally loved. Use them as marinades, as a main ingredient in a dressing, or just delicious flavoring agents.

9. Bake instead of fry.
So many recipes can be baked instead of fried! When the recipe calls for frying, try baking instead.

What is one way you are making your meals healthier (and more delicious) this week?