9 Clean & Hungry Swaps

May 4 2016
Question@2x Hi Hungry Girl,

I've been trying to clean up my eating, and your new book is just what I need! Do you have a cheat sheet for commonly used ingredients/swaps? I'd love to stock up and even update some of my old go-to recipes.

Clean & Hungry Too
Answer@2x Hi C&H2,

I'm so glad you like Hungry Girl Clean & Hungry! I can definitely help you out with the ingredients. Here's a list of the most common Clean & Hungry swaps in the HG arsenal...

Instead of regular dairy milk, use unsweetened almond milk. Unsweetened almond milk is perfect for breakfast recipes and baked goodies. The swap has less than half the calories of fat-free dairy milk and, as the name suggests, it's basically sugar-free (which means low SmartPoints® values). If you're allergic to almonds, try unsweetened varieties of cashew milk, flax milk, or coconut milk. And if you're concerned about carrageenan (a plant-derived natural additive linked to stomach issues), go for carrageenan-free products like refrigerated Silk and So Delicious almond milk.

Instead of whole eggs or egg substitute, use real egg whites. It doesn't get much more natural than real, fresh egg whites. Plus, they're lower in calories than whole eggs. And while there's nothing wrong with a little fat, there are more delicious ways to get it (like cheese, nuts, and avocado!). If you don't want to waste time cracking and separating whole eggs, look for 100 percent natural liquid egg whites. Perfect for egg mugs, pancakes... even lean 'n clean meatloaf.

Instead of mayo or sour cream, use fat-free Greek yogurt. There are so many places you can use fat-free Greek yogurt instead of higher-fat condiments. It's crazy creamy, and it's packed with protein rather than fat. Try it in yogurt bowls, smoothies, and even savory dishes, like the sauce in this Shrimp & Avocado Z'paghetti. I even add it to my mini egg bakes for a fluffier texture. Stick with all-natural brands like Fage and Chobani.

Instead of oil or artificial sprays, use natural nonstick spray. People assume nonstick spray is artificial, but there are plenty of natural picks on shelves. If you avoid aerosol containers, check out Pompeian's non-aerosol sprays -- I love these! Or DIY: Just fill a food-safe mister bottle with your favorite oil.

Instead of rice, make cauliflower rice. Even if you wouldn't consider yourself a cauliflower fan, please try cauliflower rice. It has a fraction of the calories of traditional white rice, and it truly does take on the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. To make it, just pulse roughly chopped cauliflower in a blender until reduced to rice-sized pieces. Or pick up premade varieties, like the kinds by Trader Joe's and Green Giant Fresh. FYI: For each cup of roughly chopped cauliflower called for in an HG recipe, you'll only need about 3/4 cup of ready-made cauliflower crumbles/rice.

Instead of cornstarch, use arrowroot powder. This one's a matter of personal preference. While cornstarch is technically natural, some clean eaters avoid it because it's often made with genetically modified corn. That's where arrowroot powder (sometimes called arrowroot starch) comes in. It works exactly like cornstarch, and the two can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Find it at select supermarkets and natural food stores, or order online. Then use it to make sweet sauces and baked treats.

Instead of standard sugar or artificial sweetener, use natural no-calorie sweetener. It's a misconception that stevia is artificial; the plant-based sweetener is actually completely natural. It's usually blended with other natural calorie-free ingredients for texture and taste. If you prefer to avoid those, stick with liquid pure stevia or 100 percent stevia powder. Otherwise, stock up on both packets and spoonable varieties: My go-to brand is Truvia, but SweetLeaf and Stevia in the Raw are great too.

Instead of pasta, use spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles. You'll forget all about regular pasta once you start using these veggie-based swaps. You get the satisfaction of noodles, but with fewer carbs and calories. And since they're pure veggies, you know these pasta swaps are totally clean. Click here for the need-to-know info on spaghetti squash, and get your zucchini-noodle know-how here.

Instead of peanut butter, use powdered peanut butter (and some regular PB, with no sugar added). Once you go powdered, you'll never go back. Powdered peanut butter is made from defatted peanuts, which means that it's just peanuts with all the excess oil squeezed out. Natural, of course, and a serving has less than half the calories and fat of regular peanut butter. Stick to clean brands: I love Just Great Stuff Powdered Organic Peanut Butter by Betty Lou's and Jif Peanut Powder. Some of the recipes in Clean & Hungry also mix in a bit of regular peanut butter, with no artificial ingredients and no sugar added, to get the perfect texture and flavor.

There you have it… Happy swapping!

Chew on this:

May the 4th be with you! Today, May 4th, is known among fans as Star Wars Day… If you need an at-home movie snack, try baking up some healthy French fries.

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SmartPoints® value* not what you expected? We follow the same method as Weight Watchers when calculating the SmartPoints® value* for a recipe: We add up the SmartPoints® values* of the individual ingredients. (Many foods have a value of zero and remain zero in recipes.)

*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints® trademark.