Healthier Versions Of Your Favorite Foods


Healthier Versions Of Your Favorite Foods

Years ago, I developed a dinner rotation of 16 dinners. It was a real life saver for my family to have this go-to list for delicious, easy dinner ideas.

I still use that rotation to this day. But lately, I’ve been focused on how to make the dinners on this list, as well as many of my other favorite foods, more healthy and nutritious. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of the nutritional values of the foods that I eat and feed my family. I pay attention to calories, sugar, carbs, and protein. 

Over the past several months, I’ve been looking for the best substitute recipes I can find so I can share them here with you. Here are the best substitutes I’ve found for four of my favorite foods: 

Chai Tea Latte 

I absolutely love a good chai tea latte, until I look at the calorie count. Unless it’s a special occasion, I usually can’t justify 250 calories for a drink. But here’s how I make a low calorie version with only 55 calories:

Ingredients (per serving):

8 oz hot water

1 spiced chai tea bag

2 tbsp collagen powder

1 tbsp half and half

zero calorie sweetener to taste (I like Stevia)

Heat the water in the microwave, then mix in everything else and steep the tea bag for a few minutes and enjoy!


Who doesn’t love a good plate of pasta? Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make it guilt free. Lately, I’ve been using Banza pasta for the added protein and my whole family loves it. I also like to use spaghetti squash in lieu of noodles sometimes too. This version has 410 calories per serving.

Ingredients (per serving):

2 oz. Banza pasta

1/2 cup sugar free spaghetti sauce

4 oz ground turkey

Brown the turkey (you can also use ground beef, but I like turkey better), then mix in the sauce and let it simmer. Add in some fresh mushrooms and herbs if you’d like. Cook the pasta per the instructions on the box, then serve it up and enjoy!


I love pizza so much, but I always feel bloated and guilty after I eat several pieces. This version leaves me feeling satisfied without the guilt. And the more veggies, the better!

Ingredients (per serving):

1/4 cup sugar free pizza sauce

1 oz. light mozzarella cheese

1 cauliflower pizza crust

7 pieces pepperoni

Veggies to taste

I start by cooking the crust in the air fryer for a few minutes. This helps make it crispy. Then I add the sauce, cheese, and toppings, and cook in the air fryer again. Super yummy and only about 300-400 calories depending on your toppings!


Sometimes I crave a burger, and nothing else will do. Luckily I found this recipe for a burger in a bowl that tastes exactly like a McDonalds big mac, without all the carbs and grease. This whole bowl is only about 300 calories.

Ingredients (per serving):

1 cup shredded Lettuce

4 oz ground turkey

1/4 cup diced tomatoes

chopped red onion to taste

10 dill pickle chips

1/4 cup light Mexican blend cheese

2 tbsp light thousand island dressing

1 tsp sesame seeds

Brown your ground turkey (or ground beef if you prefer). Assemble all the veggies, pickles, and cheese in a bowl, then top with the ground turkey. Finish it off by drizzling the dressing over the top, and sprinkling with the sesame seeds.

I hope you enjoy these healthier versions of some of my favorite foods!

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Haley McManigal
Hi there! I’m Haley, a middle-aged-momma to Lukas and Laney, and wife to Dan. I’ve lived in East Tennessee my whole life, and I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. After moving all over Knox County and surrounding areas, my family has settled in Hardin Valley where we intend to stay at least until the kids graduate from high school. My son was born in 2017, changing my life forever, and my daughter completed our family in 2020. I work as an architect and project manager at a global design firm. I think it’s pretty cool that I get to meet with people from all over the world from my home office on a daily basis. I am happiest when I’m able to strike just the right balance between home and work life. But my family is my greatest treasure and my most fulfilling role in life so far is Mommy. My favorite things are reading, writing, cooking, exploring, and making things. I don’t have much free time these days but when I’m able to squeeze in a few of these activities it really pays off. I love being a part of Knoxville Moms and I cherish the opportunity to share this journey of motherhood here with you!



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