We've all been there... that moment when you've tried to keep up with eating healthy and out of nowhere comes a craving for pizza. Or cake. Or pizza with a side of cake. I HEAR YOU. It's a struggle for me as well. When I first started cooking and baking with a healthy mindset, some of my recipes were ROUGH. Goodness gracious I'm shocked my family still trusted me after those catastrophes. There were many trial and errors that have led me to a pretty lengthy pendaflex of recipe alternatives. Yes, this does include pizza and cake! I'll be honest with you. Nothing is as good as the original. This is simply a quick guide on how to meet in the middle. You can compromise some without compromising all.
In addition to alternatives, I do recommend allowing yourself a cheat meal now and again. Otherwise you'll eat the entire pizza... and cake... by yourself. You should indulge here and there. Portion control is KEY folks. If I eat "clean" for 6 days out of the week, I'll allow myself a slice of pizza or two on the 7th day. Keep a strategy like this in place. Reward yourself with one food at at time. Be mindful not to undo the progress you've achieved throughout the week prior!
Here are quick replacements in meals that cut SO MANY calories but help meet you in the middle of the cravings crossroad.
Let's start with the food that's clearly on my mind....
Pizza- I have two alternatives for this, depending on my mood. The first alternative to pizza is Pizza Pie. I use THIS recipe for colder, casserole kind of nights. Make sure to use sugar free sauce and yes, I do sprinkle some mozzarella on there. Pizza isn't the same without mozzarella. I'm not a monster. Don't be afraid of using spaghetti squash. This recipe really does incorporate the flavors wonderfully. Another alternative is Pizza with cauliflower crust. I really don't like cauliflower but THIS brand is delicious. You can't tell it's cauliflower. I never lie when it comes to my feelings for pizza.
Spaghetti- Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles with sugar free marinara. Don't try and zoodle the zucchini by yourself. By the frozen ones, it'll save SO much time and effort. If the sauce is too bland for you, use those spices! Spices are key to flavoring any healthy dish.
Chicken Fried "Rice"- Use cauliflower rice instead of white rice. I know... this one is tough to swap but make that commitment and do it! I use sesame oil in the pan before I throw in the vegetables and it brings way more flavor to the table (see what I did there!?). Also, use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce. Don't worry, it doesn't taste like coconut at all. The great thing about cauliflower rice is it's like a flavor sponge. Whatever you add to the dish like the sesame oil, the cauliflower will absorb. You can take a shortcut and buy the frozen veggies as well as the frozen cauliflower rice! Don't try and rice the cauliflower yourself... trust me...
Sweets, like CAKE! I've made many cupcakes, cakes and pies during my health journey. I have so many alternatives that really have cured my sweet tooth, all while keeping me on the path of eating clean. For sweeteners, I use raw honey or maple syrup. Yes, these contain a ton of sugar. However, it's natural sugar so overall better compared to the white table sugar. For flour, I use almond flour OR coconut flour. When adding chocolate, I'll use cocoa or dark chocolate chips. Craving whipped cream? Try whipped coconut cream. It's AMAZING with pineapple and/or strawberries. Take any chance you have to incorporate fresh fruits in these little delights.
Almond Butter and Banana Ice Cream- This one is GOLD people. GOLD. This recipe single handedly got me through my first ever fitness challenge and has been a staple in my house ever since. Super convenient for a summertime snack and a great way to use those ripe bananas! Take the ripe banana, peel that sucker and stick in to a ziplock freezer bag to freeze overnight. When you're ready to eat, place on the counter for about 3-5 minutes but no more! You'll only want it to be slightly defrosted. Place the semi frozen banana in a bowl with one cup almond butter. If you're allergic to almonds, use sunflower seed butter! Mix, smash or dance your way to achieve creamy goodness in the bowl. Top with fresh blueberries and remember to thank me later. Kidding. Kind of.
Gravy and/or Sauces- I've become quite accustomed to making my own sauces and gravy. The base I typically use is Coconut milk for the "alfredo" or "country gravy". Use the white chunky part, not the watery part in the can. Full fat works best! Find your creation a little watery? Please don't use corn starch. Just don't. Use Arrowroot powder to thicken it up! Be sure to use a little at a time because it will sneak up on you after it simmers for a bit.
I use THIS brand a lot, and for several reasons. First, everything I've eaten has been delicious. Second, they use a lot of alternatives that I myself have used for healthier recipes. Third, they sell this brand at Costco. It's never a bad idea to have some frozen options stocked in the freezer after a long work week.
If you have a recipe or craving that needs a healthy swap, leave a comment below!