Dr. Joey’s Top 10 Food Swaps

Easy and delicious food swaps for healthier meal options!

1. Vegetable noodles instead of traditional pasta

To lower your carbohydrate count, consider swapping your spaghetti noodles for a zucchini or beet noodle in your next pasta or stir-fry dish!. Investing in a spiralizer is a great idea, as this kitchen tool will allow you to turn veggies like zucchinis and carrots into noodles. In addition, many grocery stores now sell spiralized vegetables in the produce section, making this swap even easier!

Pesto Zucchini Noodle Dish


  • 4 zucchinis
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach
  • 1 medium avocado
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Use a spiralizer to create zucchini noodles.
  2. Place the noodles in a colander and toss them with some salt until the strands are lightly coated. Place the colander in the sink to drain.
  3. Add all the pesto ingredients to a blender and blend on high until well combined.
  4. Warm olive oil in a pan over medium heat then add zucchini noodles. Sauté until at desired softness, then pour the pesto over the zucchini noodles and toss to coat. Season to taste with sea salt.

Serves: 4

2. Cauliflower mash instead of mashed potatoes 

Cauliflower is an amazing grain-free alternative to mashed potatoes. Cauliflower offers a great source of vitamin K and C, as well as fiber, B vitamins and potassium.

Cauliflower Mash 


  • 1 head cauliflower florets, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, ghee or olive oil
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt
  • Fresh black pepper, to taste
  • Chopped chives or parsley for garnish


  1. Boil the cauliflower with salted water to help season the florets while cooking.
  2. Drain the cooked cauliflower well, so it doesn’t become too runny.
  3. Puree the cauliflower in ablender, hand blender, or food processor with butter and salt until very smooth. Garnish with herbs if desired.

Serves 2-3

3. Avocado instead of mayonnaise

Most types of store-bought mayonnaise are overly processed and contain additives and unhealthy oils that can be inflammatory. Next time you are making your egg, tuna or chicken salad – use avocados instead. Avocados are a superfood packed full of heart healthy fats, including oleic and linoleic acid, which can help to lower cholesterol levels. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamins E and B, and minerals like potassium.

Quick Avocado Chicken Salad


  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 small avocado, mashed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Paprika, to taste (optional)
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder (optional)


  1. Combine chopped chicken and avocado in a bowl.
  2. Gently mash the avocado into the chopped chicken.
  3. Mix in salt and pepper, to taste, plus any additional optional seasonings

4. Coconut aminos instead of soy sauce 

Coconut aminos are an excellent soy-free alternative to soy sauce, with almost the same taste and appearance. Simply made from coconut sap and sea salt, coconut aminos are also gluten free and can be used in the place of soy sauce in marinades or sauces. Available at most health food stores and some grocery stores.

Maple Salmon


  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 salmon fillets
  • Cooking spray (avocado or coconut oil)


  1. Combine coconut aminos, garlic, lemon juice, maple syrup and pepper in a bowl.
  2. Preheat oven to 425F and spray a lined baking sheet with oil.
  3. Place salmon on prepared sheet and pour sauce over fish, ideally allowing to sit for 20 minutes.
  4. Bake (uncovered) for around 12-15 minutes, basting as necessary. Remove from oven when salmon is golden.

Serves 4

5. Grain free flours instead of wheat flour 

Using a grain-free substitute when baking is now easier than ever with so many options now on the market. Try making these delicious muffins that use coconut and almond flour instead of a grain based flour. Both of these flours are quite tasty, gluten free and provide additional fiber!

Grain-Free Chocolate Banana Muffins


  • 4 large organic eggs
  • 2 pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ pure Grade A maple syrup
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • ½ coconut oil, melted
  • ⅓ coconut flour
  • ⅓ almond flour
  • ⅓ raw cocoa powder
  • ½ salt
  • ½tsp baking soda
  • ½ baking powder
  • 3 raw cacao nibs
  • Optional toppings – shredded coconut or pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a muffin tray with muffin cups (or grease each with a coconut oil spray)
  2. In a large bowl combine eggs, vanilla, maple syrup, banana, and coconut oil. Beat on low speed with a mixer until just combined.
  3. In a separate, bowl combine the coconut flour, almond flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
  4. Gradually add dry ingredients into the larger bowl of wet ingredients. Mix by hand until just combined after each addition then mix in cacao nibs by hand until just combined.
  5. Fill each muffin cup with equal amounts of batter.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 22-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Yields 12 muffins.

6. Crushed nuts or seeds instead of breading

Next time you’re thinking of making any breaded meat, fish or chicken dish, try swapping out the panko or breadcrumbs for crushed nuts, seeds or nut meal. Almond meal is a great option, as it is full of mono and polyunsaturated oils, antioxidant flavonoids and many vitamins and minerals. The dish below makes for a tasty alternative to the typical breaded chicken!

Lemony Almond Chicken Breasts


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • ½ cup almond meal


  1. Heat oven to 350F and place plain chicken breasts on a prepared lined baking tray.
  2. Mix together almond meal, lemon juice, olive oil, oregano and parmesan in a bowl, then spread mixture over the chicken, making sure each piece is covered.
  3. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, until golden and chicken is properly cooked through.

Serves 2

7. Cinnamon instead of regular sugar 

Cinnamon is a naturally sweet spice that offers some impressive health benefits due to the essential oils in the bark. Cinnamon helps to balance blood sugar, has antibiotic properties and also aids digestion. Try adding cinnamon to your morning coffee or to a yogurt parfait to add that sweet taste you may be craving.

Caffeine-Free Chai Cinnamon Tea


  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (unsweetened vanilla works great)
  • 1/2 teaspoonground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8teaspoon ground ginger
  • Dash of cardamom (optional)


  1. Combine all ingredients in a small pot over medium-high heat. Continue stirring until mixture is hot.
  2. Adjust any spices to your preferences and enjoy!

Serves 1

8. Lettuce wraps instead of buns or tortillas

Trying to reduce grain intake? A lettuce wrap is a great swap instead of a regular bun or tortilla! They are a perfect fit for tacos and burgers, and make for an easy way to take in some extra greens.

Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps


  • 5 oz lean ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon feta cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp guacamole
  • Tomato, pickle and onion slices (to top burger)
  • Head of romaine lettuce, separated into lettuce wraps


  1. Preheat grill on medium-high heat.
  2. In a bowl, mix the turkey, feta, oregano and pepper to taste.
  3. Form into patty or into a few small sliders. Lightly oil grate and place patty onto grill. Cook for approximately 10 minutes or until turkey is cooked through, flipping hallway through.
  4. Enjoy on a lettuce bun, covering with guacamole and desired toppings.

Serves 1

9. Matcha instead of an afternoon coffee

Matcha is made of pure freshly ground green tea leaves and packs a large punch in terms of its antioxidant properties. Matcha helps to boost metabolism and is a source of chlorophyll, which has a great cleansing effect on the body. Instead of reaching for a second coffee in the afternoon, try a cup of matcha for a bit of a boost.

Matcha Latte


  • 1 ½ teaspoons matcha powder
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 1 cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk, heated
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Place matcha into a mug and pour in the hot water.
  2. Whisk with a small whisk (ideally a matcha whisk), until small bubbles begin to form on the surface.
  3. Froth the milk by adding it to a jar. Shake until bubbles form. Then, microwave the milk for approximately 45 seconds. Once hot, add the milk to the tea.
  4. Dust the top with cinnamon if desired. Enjoy!

Serves 1

10. Kale chips instead of potato chips

Regular potato chips are riddled with unhealthy and inflammatory oils along with excess sodium, so why not continue to enjoy a bit of that salty crunch while also consuming a nutrient-dense vegetagle? Kale chips can satisfy that craving and provide you with extra fiber, carotenes, vitamin C, and many minerals. Kale is also another member of the cabbage family, boasting cancer-preventing properties.

Kale Chips


  • 200g green kale, washed and dried
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp Himalayan salt


  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Rip the leafy part of the kale from the stalks then tear into small pieces (about 1.5”) Discard the stalks.
  3. Place kale on two large oven trays lined with baking paper. Combine garlic and oil, drizzle half over each tray of kale, then toss well to combine. Spread kale out in one layer.
  4. Bake 8 minutes, turning kale and swapping trays from top to bottom, halfway through cooking time, or until the kale becomes crisp.
  5. Season with Himalayan salt and feel free to sprinkle with additional spices such as chili powder, paprika, or black pepper, depending on preference.

Courtesy of www.drjoey.com