HEALTHY SWAPS FOR YOUR CHILDHOOD FAVES

Have you ever stopped to think about what is on “kids” menus at restaurants? Grilled cheese, chocolate milkshakes, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken fingers and fries and MORE. I won’t go on because we’re all gonna get hungry. BUT the point is that so many of these super indulgent meals are what we used to eat (and enjoy, of course) as little kids. It is part of growing up, but at least for me has not lasted. I do not know many adults who can eat like this every day while feeling good and functioning well day to day. I personally cannot.

As I have grown in my health journey and started to get more creative in the kitchen – I have found that there ARE ways to enjoy these types of foods in a way that is good for us. My healthy eating habits do not feel restrictive, boring, unflavorful and bland.  We do not need to feel guilty for treating ourselves or try to save all the indulgent foods for a “cheat day” (I hate that term by the way). We can enjoy the day to day and the pleasure of food while still keeping our health in mind. Today I am going to share my 5 favorites swaps for eating like a “kid” again – but this time with adults – and eating well – in mind.

  • Spaghetti and Tomato Sauce. You guys – I am absolutely not lying when I tell you that this was the only thing I ordered at restaurants for YEARS. No matter what – I would order pasta and tomato sauce and probably a caesar salad. My brother and I basically lived off of this combo for dinners. I was not an adventurous eater at all. At 28, I would not regularly eat white, enriched pasta with sugar-filled tomato sauce. Here is the swap:  fiber-rich and protein-packed pasta (I love lentil pasta, chickpea pasta, and black bean pasta) with homemade or quality tomato sauce (I love Victoria’s Fine Foods and Rao’s Homemade) filled with real vegetables, healthy oils and ALL the flavor. If you are trying to go for a lower carb option – zoodles are delish too!
  • Chocolate Milkshakes. I’ll admit – I have no idea if McD’s still sells milkshakes, but back in the day these were my fave. We used to go to McD’s after swimming lessons every Sunday for a treat. I also loved the Frosty’s from Wendy’s! I can only imagine the stomach ache that would go down if I had one of those today. Here’s the swap: Chocolate Smoothies! I LOVE making chocolate smoothies for breakfast (recipe here) or from Blendtopia and load it with toppings (I see you Health Warrior Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bar), secret veggies, and get my fiber, protein and healthy fats first thing. The best part is that is legit tastes like a milkshake.  On this chocolate smoothie, I added cacao nibs and the NEW Health Warrior Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Chia Bar. This is the newest flavor of my fave chia bar collection! It legit tastes like cookie dough (another childhood fave while we are at it) and it has all the goodness of chia seeds, is low in sugar and hits the spot. I legit have already got another box on the way because I am obsessed.
  • Grilled Cheese and Ketchup. At my summer camp, grilled cheese was one of the most exciting meals! I remember hearing the buzz that it was grilled cheese for lunch and going like 20 minutes early to the dining hall to make sure I got first dibs. At the time, grilled cheese was white bread (aka sugar) and processed american cheese. Actually, if it wasn’t melted, it would probably feel like rubber. Oy! Here’s the swap: buy a quality bread made of whole, sprouted grains (of gluten-free if your GF) as the base. I personally love Alvarado Street Bakery and Silverhills Bakery. Use olive oil (instead of butter) and opt for a quality, organic cheese that comes from grass-fed cows OR goat cheese and sheep’s milk feta  (easier for people to digest). If dairy is not your friend there are some amazing cheese alternatives out there that get super melty are still super satisfying (I love Kite Hill Foods and Miykonos Kitchen). There are also some amazing unsweetened kinds of ketchup (I love primal kitchen foods) you can get these days with no high fructose corn syrup and sugar!
  • Ice Cream. Nothing was better than free scoop night at Baskin Robbins every summer. We would plot out the ways to get a second “free” scoop of gold medal ribbon (just to add even more sugar, right!?). It was the best! Today, even though I can tolerate yogurt and some cheeses – I cannot do ice cream. When I do, I pay for it! It just makes my stomach turn. Here’s the swap: there are some incredible dairy-free ice creams out there. Or better yet, make your own “nice” cream with bananas, a little bit of almond milk, cinnamon and a date. Blend it up and voila! It’s kinda like homemade frozen yogurt – except not yogurt. YUM!
  • French Fries. Oh man – french fries! So here and there I will enjoy some french fries when I am out to dinner or feel like a treat, but for the most part, the deep fried life did NOT choose me 🙁 I cannot tolerate it! This does not mean that I do not enjoy healthy fries! Here’s the swap: BAKED sweet potato fries. They are sweet and salty and actually one of my fave side dishes! I cut up a sweet potato wedges or sticks – drizzle some avocado oil, pink salt and paprika  – and bake for 35 minutes on 400 in the oven. SO GOOD!

That’s it that’s all for now. I hope you enjoyed reading about healthy swaps for your childhood faves. It is so much easier than you think to enjoy deliciously healthy food that reminds of being kids and better yet are good for our tummies.

With love,

Sari

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