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5 healthy alternatives to your favourite foods


As the warmer weather approaches, you’re probably thinking about taking charge of your health and improving your lifestyle. When wanting to introduce such changes, you need to set up strategies to make them sustainable.

A common mistake in the healthy food arena is to rule out many coveted foods, that supposedly contain too much fat, sugar, or salt, without considering substitutes. This restrictive approach will only increase the risk of compulsive behavior and harm your chances of long term change.

So here are a few healthy substitutes for five of your favourite foods.

French fries

Reinvent this classic favourite and transform it into a perfect accompaniment for all meals. Take a potato, sweet potato, zucchini, or turnip, cut it into strips and spread them on an oven tray. You can enhance the flavour of your vegetables with a wide variety of seasonings, like Cajun spices, smoked paprika, or onion powder. To make your “fries” even crunchier, place them about one inch apart.

Chocolate or sweet desserts

Try replacing some of the fat and sugar in your recipes with a sweet potato purée, pumpkin purée or bean purée made from chick peas, black beans or others. Have you ever tried the amazing Sweet Potato Brownies recipe by Christina Timothéatos?


Sausages add a lot of fat to a meal and you’ll be better off if you wisely replace this popular cooked meat product. Soy based sausages like Tofurky® or Yves Veggie products are good substitutes for your European-style hot-dogs!


When croquettes are homemade and baked in the oven, they become a versatile food choice that is pleasing to everyone’s palate. In fact you get your starch as well as your meat or alternative in the same food choice. Add veggies to your plate and your meal will be perfectly balanced. Choose a whole grain crumb covering for more fibre. Try this Cajun-Style Breaded Fish recipe on page 154 of Zero Diet, a cookbook by Karine Larose. Your family is sure to ask for seconds!

Ice cream

Do you miss your ice cream, such a refreshing comfort food? Well, there are lots of alternatives that contain less sugar and fat. If you have some frozen fruit in the freezer, there’s nothing easier than throwing some in the blender: frozen peaches with yogurt, strawberries with a few sprigs of mint or cubes of frozen water melon are just a few suggestions among many. Or you can let yourself be tempted by this Rainbow Frozen Yogurt recipe on page 201 of the Zero Diet cookbook, and why not try Homemade Peanut Butter, Banana, and Chocolate Ice Cream!

Let me know what you think!

Marilyne Petitclerc, P.Dt. Nutritionist


Marilyne Petitclerc

Holder of a degree in nutrition from Université Laval, Marilyne has worked as a nutritionist for Nautilus Plus since 2010. Passionate about healthy eating and sports nutrition, she also gives lectures and hosts cooking workshops. With her clients, Marilyne makes extensive use of the instinct diet approach and the Mediterranean diet model. Furthermore, she has attended classes on live nutrition at the Hippocrates Health Institute. Maryline ran the Quebec City Marathon des Deux Rives - Half Marathon in 2010 and 2012. She also took part in the Staircase Challenge, another event held in Quebec City in June 2012. Marilyne also plays in an Ultimate Frisbee league and trains regularly at the Nautilus Plus branch where she is employed.

5 healthy alternatives to your favourite foodsis a post from I'm taking charge. I'm taking charge is a blog that aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
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