Food Friday: Healthy Substitutions

Eating well is not about dieting or deprivation. It is about understanding food and physiology. It is also about taking a little extra time to obtain and prepare great tasting and healthy food. Some people worry about all the things they would have to give up to eat healthfully. But I’d rather think about all the substitutions that both taste better and are better for you. 

Here are some specific examples to make this easier: 


  • Instead of cheap caffeinated coffee, use water process decaf made strong in a french press. Or, for lower cost, try decaf Earl Grey tea. 
  • Instead of sugary or artificially sweetened soda, use club soda, plain Pellegrino or Perrier with a light splash of pure fruit juice and citrus wedges. 
  • Instead of a milkshake, have a smoothie with real fruits, plain yogurt, and ice. 



  • Instead of forgetting snacks for work, bring a week’s worth on Mondays. Include easy things, like raw nuts, cheese, and long lasting vegetables. 
  • Ditch the granola bars in favor of sweets like fruits with plain yogurt or cheese. 
  • Steer clear of office sweets by having your own vegetables, dips and nuts. 


  • Instead of an Egg McMuffin, saute mixed veggies like peppers, onion and tomato then cook with a couple eggs and a little cheese. 
  • Instead of a sugary cereal, have a low sugar whole grain high fiber cereal with skim milk and piled with fresh berries or even slivered almond. 
  • Instead of no breakfast have the very quick banana and a glass of milk. 


  • Have a breadless sandwich. We call it a salad with meat. 
  • Keep things like salad dressing at work so your lunch salads are more appealing. 
  • Watch cafeteria soup… it is full of fillers like starch and sugar. Make a big batch from scratch and bring it all week long.


  • Instead of main dish, salad and starch, have main dish, salad and cooked vegetable. 
  • Instead of pasta or rice, have Zoodles, meaning noodles made from vegetables such as zucchini. 
  • Broil, grill or bake rather than fry. These methods require less tending and cleanup anyway. 



  • Make a crustless or nut crust pie and reduce the sugar. 
  • Have plain yogurt or cheese with fruit for dinner. 
  • Make a conventional dessert but halve the portion size and make it beautiful. 


To learn more about the principles behind these modifications, see the following sections on our website: