Make Your Recipeis Healtier“Health-ify” Your Favorite Meal

There are some foods that we absolutely LOVE, but these foods might not be the healthiest choice.

This begs the question – what are “healthy” foods?

I think of healthy foods as the foods that come from only real food ingredients and are rich in nutrients to nourish and fuel your body. There are TWO key components:

  1. Made from real, unprocessed ingredients AND
  2. Rich in nutrients.

Generally, if it grew in the ground or was once alive, it is probably nutritious. If it was made in a factory, then think about it more carefully.

To make your favorite foods healthier:  Remove the processed ingredients and add more nutrient dense ingredients.

How does this work?

We were having friends over for dinner the other day and I planned to make roasted chicken thighs, asparagus, and sweet potatoes, but I also wanted to include a dessert. I love brownies, but generally brownies are full of sugar and other processed ingredients, especially if you buy the boxed mix. So with help from Google, and little tweaking, I came up with a brownie that satisfied that sweet tooth, contained mostly real ingredients full of nutrients, and was a hit with our dinner guests. See recipe below.

There are many foods that people often think must be included in a meal, such as bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or tortillas. While these might seem like healthy choices, they tend to be filler foods that are high in calories and carbohydrates, and low in nutrients. Skip them, and replace as follows:

Substitute / Add Vegetables 

As a rule of thumb, at least half, if not 2/3 or 3/4 of your plate should be vegetables. Try these ideas to add more veggies:

  • Add more vegetables to your family’s favorite soup or casserole. It’s amazing how well veggies cook down and you can add lots of vegetables without changing the dish. Soon your family will like it better this way. Note: This could mean adding more of the same vegetable that the recipe calls for or others that you have on hand.
  • Remove the bread, and replace with greens, like spinach. Your sandwich becomes a salad. Similarly, replace tortillas with greens to make taco salad!
  • Replace pasta with spaghetti squash, spiralated squash, or other veggies.
  • Replace rice, mashed potatoes, or pizza crust with cauliflower rice or mashed cauliflower, or cauliflower crust . This may sound strange but it’s a GREAT way to substitute a food with little nutrients to one that is more nutrient dense and still tastes great!

Make it from Scratch

It is easy to get in the habit of using packaged products because it is easier or you don't know how to make it from scratch. Actually, it's often not that hard to make it from scratch, you just need to be brave, find a recipe, and try it.

  • Make homemade mayo – Replace those, processed vegetable oils with healthy fats and natural ingredients. Use your mayo as a base in salad dressing or chicken/tuna/egg salad.
  • Replace the canned "cream of xyz" soup in your family favorite casserole and make the real stuff – like this recipe.

Healthified Brownies

In this brownie recipe, the flour, sugar, and vegetable oil are replaced with avocados and bananas.


  • 2 Avocados
  • 2 Bananas
  • 2 Eggs
  • ½ Cup Cocoa Powder
  • ¼ Cup Raw Honey
  • 1 Tsp Baking soda
  • ½ Cup Dark Chocolate chips (Optional)


Blend avocados, bananas, eggs, cocoa powder, honey, and baking soda – an immersion blender or food processor work well. Stir in chocolate chips if desired Pour into a greased (I use coconut oil) 8x8 baking dish. Bake at 350 for 25-30 min.

This week, use these tips to “health-ify” one of your favorite meals.

Let us know how it goes and share more ideas on our facebook page!

Joelle Kurczodyna, NTP