3 Whole Food Substitutes that Will Make Your Diet Healthier this Fall

3 Whole Food Substitutes that Will Make Your Diet Healthier this Fall

With Fall just arrived, the most nourishing, colorful and hearty harvest is on its way to our tables. From pumpkin to parsnips and apples to arugula, Fall brings an abundance of color and flavor. And while the season often brings on cravings for comfort foods, this does not need to be translated to high fat, high calorie dishes. This season offers up some of the most slimming substitutions for your plant-based recipes. Here are three ways to use this season’s harvest to your advantage.

1. Swap traditional pasta with spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash only contains 42 calories and 10grams of carbs per cup vs. the 220 calories and 42grams of carbs per cup that pasta contains, making it a great slimming substitution! Spaghetti squash is also high in fiber, keeping you fuller for longer, plus is loaded in antioxidant vitamins A, C and E. With the cooler months ahead, these vitamins can help to prevent free radical damage and keep the immune system healthy during the colder months. Click here for other gluten free pasta substitutes or check out this zucchini noodle pad thai.

2. Swap out your taco shells for swiss chard. 

Instead of using regular taco shells to wrap your favorite filling, cut out the steam of the chard, fill with taco filling, and wrap up! Swiss chard is one of the healthiest greens around. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, coupled with high fiber content help ward away many illnesses and keep blood sugar in check. Rich in energy boosting chlorophyll, bone-building vitamin K and immune boosting vitamin C it’s no wonder swiss chard is touted as the new kale.

3. Swap our your traditional pie for buttnernut squash and apple crumble.

When baked, the natural sweetness of butternut squash and apples makes for the perfect pairing. Both are low in calories and high in fiber helping to satiate while keeping the waistline in check. This simple recipe to be enjoyed as a side dish – or as a dessert! It’s the perfect plant-based fall comfort dish.


  • 1 butternut squash peeled and cubed into 2inch pieces
  • 1 apple, cored and sliced (keep skin on for extra fiber and nutrients)
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 water
  • Sprinkle of coconut palm sugar (optional)

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 400degrees. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl then pour into a large casserole/baking dish. Ensure all pieces of squash are exposed (ie. None are overlapping). Bake for 30-40min – until squash is tender and cooked throughout.

As a pie/crumble substitute:

Transfer to small dessert bowl or martini glass, top with 2 Tablespoons of granola. Optional: add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for a special treat!

Looking for other slimming substitutions? Take a look at the Vega Recipe Center for more from Peggy.

Peggy Kotsopoulos