by Delina Rahmate – Clinical Nutritionist.Silly season

Bonus recipe at bottom of blog.

Healthy food substitutes for common ingredients

As Christmas is approaching we can start to panic about parties, gift baskets, alcohol and snack foods being readily available. We may have worked hard to be healthy and then it all goes out the window once the drinks and snacks start to flow.

Socialising is important and most likely inevitable and there is a good chance that we will most likely over indulge. To stay on track in the silly season here are a few tips to help you substitute more processed foods and drinks for healthier options.

If you do overindulge don’t beat yourself up! Just get back on track the following day and move on, it is completely ok, we are allowed to have a bit of fun.


Processed Food Healthy Food Substitute
Burger Bun Quinoa, oats, mozzarella cheese, eggs salt and pepper – stirred and fried use as a burger

Portobello mushrooms – grilled

Soft Drink and or Alcohol Soda stream or soda water with lemon or lime wedges


Coconut Water

Cheese, biscuits, dips and snack platters Limit cheese to a few small pieces

Choose olives and veggie sticks over crackers (see the platter comparison picture for ideas)

Make your own hummus or guacamole (see hummus recipe below)

Salted nuts, beer nuts and roasted nuts often have added bad oils and table salt Raw nuts are better. The very best are soaked nuts – soak in salted water overnight, rinse well and then you can dehydrate them (these are what are known as “activated nuts”). Dehydrate in a food dehydrator or oven at a low temperature until completely dried out so they don’t go mouldy.
Wrap bread Sprouted whole wheat or wholegrain, large green leaves or seaweed nori sheets to wrap
Canned fish Choose BPA lined packaging (look on the label) and wild caught
Beans BPA free can, or cook your own beans. Soak for 8-10 hours overnight and then cook. Place in a mason jar with filtered water (2/3rd full) with salt. Rinse well prior to use.
Canned Foods or Vegetables Try to use fresh seasonal is the best option.

Snap frozen if fresh is not available.

BPA free cans. Watch for other additives. Heat sealing to protect from contamination such as botulism also destroys a lot of the nutrients.

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kim-chi and you get the benefits of the good bacteria (probiotics)

Soy Sauce Tamari, coconut aminos or Miso paste (for Miso reconstitution- add a Tablespoon and in warm water, do not boil water as this will destroy the fermented goodness).
Stock Choose organic low sodium stock with no MSG.

Make your own stock- The cheaper options are to buy a whole chicken take apart to use meat and then use the carcass to make stock or bone broth.

Homemade or bought bone broth (can make in a large batch and simmer for 24 hours) full of immune boosting properties and very good for gut healing.

Table Salt Choose Himalayan and Celtic sea salt have higher mineral content then other salts.
Chips and Corn Chips Corn chips choose organic, no artificial colours flavours- these still can be cooked in bad oils (read the labels).

Homemade kale chips and nori or seaweed chips are the healthiest. Cut into shapes slight moisten add salt and bake until crisp.

Sugar, syrups and agave nectar have a high glycemic index Pure maple syrup is a better choice or pollinated raw honey. Try to limit added sugar where possible to 1 teaspoon per serve.


Homemade hummus and vegetable sticks (serves 8)


• 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
• 1-2 Tbspns tahini
• 1-2 teas garlic- minced
• ½ teaspoon of sea salt
• ½ teaspoon cumin
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• ½ cup lemon juice
• 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
• Pinch of paprika
• Optional: Add cayenne pepper for a metabolic boost.

1. Blend together until smooth and creamy
2. Serve a ½ cup sized portion with vegetables sticks of your choice.
3. Refrigerate the remainder.

Calculated per single serve (1 cup of celery and ½ cup of carrot sticks are added to the calculation)



Carbs g Fat g Protein g Sugar g
151.5 16.25 6 8.5 4.4