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5 Easy Veggie Alternatives to Processed Foods

Whether you are trying to get in shape for summer or just eat more whole foods, you can’t go wrong with swapping high carb processed foods for fresh veggies!

We often times fall into a rut with “pasta nights” or always trying to include a carb component to every meal. While carbs can definitely be friends (not enemies), we sometimes forget that there are healthier alternatives to get more nutrients into everyday meals. Swapping these processed foods for low carb veggie nights a couple of times a week can help you reach your veggie and health goals.

Zucchini Noodles

You’ve probably seen these referred to as “zoodles” because they look just like spaghetti! There are many kitchen tools available to make zucchini noodles ranging from spiralizers to handheld noodle peelers. You can’t go wrong with either option. Zucchini noodles are a great substitute for regular spaghetti with a hearty veggie tomato sauce, simply sautéed in garlic and olive oil for a nice side to any meal, or in a curry soup instead of rice noodles. They even make a great raw spaghetti option with a cashew cream sauce!

Spaghetti Squash

You won’t get the same length of each spaghetti strand, but you will get the al dente texture! Spaghetti squash is very filling and easy to make: just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast face down at 375 degrees for about 30–40 minutes until tender. Then take a fork and gently pull out the insides and you’ll see it resembling noodles! Spaghetti squash is great with a classic tomato sauce, sautéed with olive oil and basil, and even makes a great base for some veggie meatballs or a lentil ragout.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Ever wonder if it’s possible to eat an entire head of cauliflower? I promise if you make them into cauliflower mashed potatoes you definitely will! You can either boil or roast the cauliflower florets, then simply add them to a food processor until they are completely smooth. If you want the classic mashed potato flavors, add some vegan butter, salt, pepper, and unsweetened almond milk. Or, mix it up with fresh herbs and sun-dried tomatoes!

Cauliflower Rice

A 10-minute side dish is just around the corner with cauliflower rice. Simply add raw cauliflower florets to a food processor and pulse until you get a “crumbly” texture. Dump them into a pan with a little bit of olive oil and cook for about 5–7 minutes. From here, the options are endless! Turn it into “fried rice” with the addition of soy sauce and veggies, add fresh herbs, turn it into “rice” and beans, or just serve as is!

Root Vegetable Hash

Can you think of anything more divine than a huge plate of hash browns for breakfast? It’s a comfort food classic for breakfast. However, if you’re trying to eat more veggies, try using root vegetables mixed in, or instead of potatoes! Beet, parsnips, rutabaga, and even carrots are great to use. Either grate them by hand or use a food processor to get the hash brown desired texture. Then sauté in a pan with a little bit of olive oil. You may have to cover the pan to let them cook all the way and then uncover to crisp them up. Not only are they hearty and nutritious, but they are a colorful addition to any breakfast table!

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