Happy New Year, and welcome to Haile’s Healthy Swaps! Don’t worry, I’m still “mixing it up” in the kitchen and sharing my creations, but now readers get even more yummy recipes to try, as I’ve accepted the challenge to share healthy swaps for typically not-so-healthy meals. I present these recipes as yummy alternatives for anyone hoping to follow through on New Year resolutions to eat a bit healthier without sacrificing flavor.
My first swap is for breakfast. Cheesy scrambled eggs, meat-filled omelets, and pancakes are typical favorites, but they often come with cholesterol and saturated fat that we could all do without. I’ve come up with an equally delicious and flavorful Tofu and Brussels Sprouts Wrap. Tofu is naturally gluten-free and low in calories, contains no cholesterol, and is an excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium. Not only can tofu be nutritious, but it’s extremely versatile too. Season or marinate it in any of your favorite seasoning blends and the tofu will absorb the flavor. Give this recipe a try for a quick and nourishing way to break your fast.
My second swap is for snack time! It’s been a few hours since breakfast and you want a quick pick-me-up. You could grab a bag of chips. The crunch and salt of potato chips is definitely enjoyable—but as for healthy, many brands are not! They can be high in fat and sodium, and filled with empty calories. So how about a better option? Make your own Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips. This recipe is a yummy healthy swap, because not only do you control the salt, oil, and flavor, but also these are baked, not deep-fried. The saturated fat and trans fat in deep-fried foods increase your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. Making your own chips is a whole lot better and delicious.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Rinse and dry sweet potatoes and thinly slice. If you have a mandolin, use it—if the chips are too thick and uneven, they won’t crisp all the way. Toss the potato slices in olive oil to lightly coat, and then sprinkle with sea salt. Spread coated slices on a baking sheet and bake for about 1-1 ½ hours, flipping chips halfway to ensure even cooking. Remove once crisp and golden brown. Let them rest for 10 minutes to crisp up before enjoying.
Lunch is all about refueling to get through the rest of the day before dinner. Typical lunch favorites like burgers and sandwiches often come full of processed, high fat, and nutritionally empty ingredients. So I’ve created a vibrant, delicious, and nutritious Udon Noodle Salad to enjoy instead. This recipe is filled with fiber-filled veggies and spices to keep you fueled, full, and satisfied!
Haile Thomas is an eighth grader at The Gregory School, a motivational speaker, and a young chef featured on the Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off. Haile is also the founder of the HAPPY Organization, which partners with the YWCA to offer kids’ cooking classes, fun physical activities, and nutrition education. Follow along at TheHappyOrg.org. ✜