Healthier alternatives to your favorite menu items

By Staff Writer Michaella Lesieur.

Eating healthy does not always have to be boring; it can be fun and delish! Most of your favorite dishes if not all can be modified to a healthier recipe for your body. These are just some of the options you can make in a pinch.

Skip: Buttery Shrimp Scampi Try: Zucchini Noodles with Shrimp

If you are a seafood lover and find yourself diving into heaping pasta bowls drowned in butter or high in sugar sauces, try this healthier alternative.

Zucchini noodles with shrimp will be your new go to. You can make your own zucchini noodles or find this in your local grocery store.

Once you have your noodles, cook up some shrimp with some chunks of garlic.
After that is cooked together add your shrimp and garlic to the noodles and melt down some Brummel (a healthier alternative to real butter) with some garlic powder and black pepper) and pour over.

Last but not least garnish with parsley, tomatoes and enjoy. A perfect, fine dining option without all the extra calories.
You can also substitute the zucchini noodles for spaghetti squash for another great recipe.

Skip: The All-Star Burger
Try: The Turkey Burger Wrap
Your typical layered burger with the works and fries is great once in a while; however, it can be easily substituted with this fun twist. Start off by cooking up a turkey burger and cutting it into strips.

Next, take a whole wheat wrap and layer on your favorite low-fat shredded cheese and place your turkey burger strips on top.

Then wrap it and place it in the oven for 5-10 minutes to melt the cheese.
Once done let cool and unwrap to add all the extras: shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes and onions, pickles and your favorite condiments (ketchup, mustard, mayo, and relish).
Serve with baked sweet potatoes as a side dish and you have your favorite game day food made healthy.

Skip: The Pizza Lovers Delight
Try: Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Pizza is a comfort food all ages love, so why not make it healthier? Cauliflower crust is a yummy alternative and adds extra flavor. You can buy a cauliflower crust or make it on your own, then add your favorite toppings.

My suggestion: olives, fat free feta cheese, tomatoes and onions. The best part is you can make it any way you want; the options are endless.
Craving peperoni or a meat lover’s delight you can do that too. Don’t forget the ranch dressing for dipping.

Skip: The Mozzarella Sticks
Try: Fresh Mozzarella Stacks

These doughy cheese sticks can be substituted for something a bit different. This summer themed dish can be enjoyed all year long. Start by slicing fresh mozzarella and grilling up some eggplant slices and crusty bread.
Once done you can start stacking; start with a slice of the mozzarella and then a slice of eggplant on top, then add a basil leaf and repeat so you have two layers. Finally, add your grilled crusty bread slices to the side and add a light drizzle of olive oil over the stacks. A great lunch or light dinner for in between classes.

Skip: The Bread Bowl
Try: Butternut Soup

The bread bowls you get at Panera are a nice treat; however, if you are craving soup why not make a big pot of your own? How does a creamy steamy bowl of butternut soup sound on a cold fall day?

To me this is the perfect way to warm up. Butternut soup in packed with nutrients and rich with color. This is best served at room temperature. Add your favorite cheese crackers on the side to compliment and you have a great dinner.

Skip: Chinese Out
Try: Lo Mein with Soba Noodles

Instead of ordering Chinese every other week substitute it with your own lo mein using soba noodles. Soba noodles add a great crunch and from here you can make your own healthier sauce too.

Add extra veggies such sliced peppers, carrots, bean sprouts and chives for garnish. Feeling like a seafood one add seafood salad crab chunks or chicken breast cubes if you are wanting a meatier taste.

Skip: Bagel and Cream Cheese
Try: Smoked Salmon Bagel Flats

A bagel is one of my favorite lunch or breakfast items. These bagel flats are fantastic for dinner. All you need is fat free cream cheese, smoked salmon, capers and dill for garnish. Pick your favorite type of bagel flat and toast it to perfection.
Next, add cream cheese and your smoked salmon layers. After this top with capers and add a stem of dill for a tasty delight.


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