It’s hard to say no to our favorite indulgences, but snacking on high-sugar cookies, high-carb pastas and high-fat dips is no good for healthy diets. If you’re not afraid of the kitchen, cooking and baking your meals can not only give you a better understanding of what you’re eating, but it gives you a chance to make the dish you’re craving a bit healthier. Thanks to some creative thinking and simple swaps, you can make some of your favorite foods healthier.

Here are some of our ingredient alternatives.

Swap in Applesauce for Oil

Not only is applesauce naturally sweet, it makes the perfect substitute for high fat oils in baking. When swapping for oil, use a 1:1 ratio of what your recipe calls for. Choose a natural applesauce with no added sugars. This swap is fat-free and a great source of fiber. It will also make your muffins and cookies nice and moist.

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Swap in Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream

A dollop of sour cream often increases the yum-factor on dishes like tacos and chili. Luckily for dairy-lovers, Greek yogurt makes for a wonderful substitute. You’ll pack in more protein and the consistency is often similar to that of sour cream, just make sure to use unflavored Greek yogurt. If you’re having people over, whip up a quick appetizer, like French Onion Dip, and swap the fattening sour cream for the yogurt—no one will know the difference.

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Swap in Zucchini Noodles for Pasta

Pasta dishes are comfort foods for many, but these heavy entrees often leave you feeling guilty afterwards. To make that Beef Bolognese guilt-free, try swapping the pasta for homemade zucchini noodles. Simply spiralize zucchini and sauté it on the stove. The vegetable’s high water content will sizzle in the pan and leave your noodles cooked and ready to eat. Top with your favorite sauce and you now have a low-carb fix for that pasta craving. It’s also an easy way to sneak more vegetables into your diet.

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Swap in Cauliflower for Rice

Much like pasta, rice is a great base for a wide range of dishes. If you’re looking for a healthier alternative, try swapping for riced cauliflower. Rinse and cut up a head of cauliflower and then pulse it in a food processor until the consistency becomes rice-like. Now that you have the base, cook on the stove and add whatever flavors you’re craving. Fried rice is a recipe that tastes great with the vegetable swap. Throw the riced cauliflower on a high-heat wok and add veggies of choice, egg and soy sauce. Pair it with your favorite teriyaki chicken and your healthy dinner awaits.

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Author: Allison Klibanoff