Tricks and Tips for Making Just about Everything a Little Healthier in 2021

Sure, we all want to eat healthy BUT we also want to enjoy favorite (maybe NOT so healthy) foods now and then. Anything we can do to lower the sugar and salt is a PLUS for our health. Adding in the good stuff such as vegetables, whole grains, fruit, nuts, beans and healthy oils is ALWAYS a good idea. Almost any food may be turned into something a little more on the healthy side (or at least a little LESS un-healthy!).

Healthy Tweaks for Favorite Foods:


A hot slice of pizza, dripping with melted cheese is a family favorite. Turn pizza night into something WAY more healthy!

Order extra thin crust (whole grain if possible). This is a great way to reduce white (refined) carbohydrate. If making your own pizza, sprinkle the extra thin crust with ground flaxseed before adding the toppings.

Load it with veggies. Onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach are amazing on pizza but don’t stop there. Sautéed eggplant, tomatoes and artichoke are also delicious.


Nothing says “It’s the weekend” quite like a batch of home - made pancakes or waffles. There ARE some healthier ways to enjoy this popular breakfast meal.

Think about healthy additions to stir into the batter such as chopped nuts, whole oats, grated apple or carrot, ground flaxseed, Greek yogurt, etc.

Top your creation with unsweetened applesauce or a tiny drizzle of honey, or pure maple syrup. DO NOT drown it with a pancake syrup containing high fructose corn syrup.


This popular whole grain snack has a good amount of fiber, but is often NOT healthy. Many brands of microwave popcorn are loaded with salt and heavily processed ingredients. Homemade popcorn is super easy to make and YOU control what goes into it.

This is a simple stovetop recipe for making popcorn from whole kernels.

With a paper lunch bag, whole kernels may also be prepared in the microwave.


What is not to love about a juicy burger with all of the right toppings? Give burgers a healthy upgrade AND help the environment by stretching the ground beef with plant- based add-ins.

Finely chopped mushrooms and green onions and/or grated carrots and zucchini blend nicely into ground beef. Wheat germ, cooked bulgur, ground flax seed and minced tofu are other plant-based options to add to your next batch of burgers. What a delicious way to make the ground beef go further!

Ramen Noodles

It is no surprise that these salty noodles are NOT a health food. They ARE cheap and easy to prepare though, and many people love them. Put a healthy spin on ramen by trying these tips.

Lower the salt by losing all or most of the seasoning packet. Instead, add garlic, dried herbs, pepper and just a bit of salt.

Add protein by stirring in bits of leftover chicken, fish, scrambled egg, tofu, etc., or by topping it off with grated cheese.

Give it the “very – veggie” touch by stirring in chopped cooked celery, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms, spinach, etc.

Get creative and come up with your own healthy makeovers for foods you love!

Written by Jenny Favret, M.S., R.D., L.D.N.

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