11 Awesome Healthy Food Hacks: Zoodles, Cauliflower Rice and More!

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 24 September 2014

Parents have been trying desperately to sneak extra veggies into their children’s food since the beginning of time.  The good news is, there are some awesome new veggie food hacks that have children and adults alike licking their lips and begging for a second helping!

1. Zoodles (Zucchini Noodles)

We CANNOT get enough of this recipe – we can’t believe how great a substitute it is for pasta (and we absolutely LOVE our pasta!) It will revolutionize the way you eat 'pasta'! Zucchini noodles is a fantastic way to get extra veggies into your daily diet, plus they are a very low in calories which is easier on the hips and the lips!

Making zoodles is incredibly easy – all you need is a few zucchinis and a julienne peeler or spiralizer, which you can find from most home wares and kitchen stores. Just run the julienne peeler down the zucchini to create your zoodles, fry in a pan for a few minutes or boil in hot water to soften- not for too long, otherwise they’ll go soggy - or just have them raw! Then stir them in with all your usual spaghetti and pasta favourites – whether you’re a bolognaise fan, or more of a pesto aficionado – they all go spectacularly well with zoodles! As for the pesto, one of our favorites is Roza's Dairy Free Pesto

2. Mushroom Burgers (Using Portobello Mushrooms)

Want a tasty alternative to burger buns? Weather you are looking for a gluten free option, need to use up mushrooms in the fridge, or just want to try something new and exciting, Portobello mushroom burgers are the way to go! Simply swap the bread for large Portobello mushrooms, they pack a meaty punch and hold together really well! Roast or grill them with a smattering of olive oil for the best results. You can still put in all your favourite fillings – beef patties, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion – and the mushrooms are so big that the burgers will still be standard size.

3. 2 Egg and Banana Pancakes

 make easy and delicious pancakes with nothing but eggs and banana

2 eggs and a banana- that’s honestly all you need to make these delicious pancakes. You might think we’re crazy, but blend these two ingredients together and you get the golden goodness of a normal pancake, as they taste just as good- maybe even better!

Jazz them up with some tasty goodies like berries, caramelized bananas, honey, maple syrup…the family will gobble them up just as fast as normal pancakes. Why not make the switch during your Sunday pancake breakfast and see who notices.

4. Eggplant Lasagne Sheets

Lasagne is a classic family favourite that everybody loves, but it  isn't exactly the greatest food for the waistline. There are some great veggie substitutes for pasta sheets, our favourite is eggplant, which pairs superbly with the tomato and cheesy goodness of a traditional lasagne recipe.

5. Beetroot Brownies/Sweet Potato Brownies

Don’t screw your nose up – these brownies are moist, chocolately and gooey – everything a good brownie should be! Got some sweet potato on hand- peel and steam them until soft and then blend them in with the other ingredients. The same method should be applied with the beetroot, with the added step of draining the excess liquid before it’s blended in with the other ingredients. Seriously – you won’t believe how good it tastes. Who needs all that refined flour and sugar when you can use good ole' vegetables! Cheaper, tastier, healthier.

6. Avocado and Chocolate Mousse

Not many people realise that avocado is a great ingredient to add to your desserts and smoothies to make them deliciously creamy! Plus, the taste is definitely not as strong as you think – which is why it pairs so well with chocolate.

Adding ripe avocado with some cacao, stevia and coconut oil will give you an incredibly chocolatey, creamy mousse that you will make over and over again.

7. Banana Ice Cream

blended banana is a perfect substitute for fatty ice cream

Banana is the most magical, versatile fruit – like the 2 egg and banana pancakes, it makes a great substitute for ice cream- plus it’s the only ingredient you need!

Grab some ripe bananas, peel them, cut them into slices and pop them in the freezer for two hours. After they’re frozen, blend them until they have an ice-creamy consistency, then freeze it again until their solid. Our hot tip? Add some choc chips or cut up dates for an extra hint of sweetness. Best enjoyed on a hot summer’s day!

8. Cauliflower Fried Rice

We tested this recipe on our nearest and dearest and they honestly couldn’t tell the difference! Instead of using white rice to make your favourite Chinese dishes, cut some small chunks of cauliflower up and pulse them in a blender until they’re chopped into tiny pieces. Then, fry in a pan along with all your other fried rice favourites – it tastes brilliant, and is a lighter alternative that everyone will love.

9. Sweet Potato Chips

sweet potato chips are a healthy alternative

Sweet potato chips are sweeping restaurants worldwide as a tastier, healthier alternative to the normal starchy potato chips our burgers usually come with. If you want to keep your chips egg-stra healthy, bake your sweet potato chips in the oven instead of frying them. If you really want them to crisp up, slice them thinly. Many people like sweet potato way better than regular white potato – so it’s a win-win for both your taste buds and waistline! Add some tasty herbs and spices and use them in place of your regular chips – no one will miss them!

10. Pumpkin Oatmeal

Pumpkin is one of the brilliant vegetables that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes. Pumpkin oatmeal is an absolutely divine way to start the day – the best part is, you can slow cook it in a crockpot all day, and let the pumpkin-ey, cinnamon-ey smell make its way through your house- no one will ever want to leave!

11. Green Smoothies

All the A-listers seem to be constantly photographed downing their green smoothies whilst out and about – that’s because they’re a tasty and efficient way to drink down some great nutrients!

The idea of vegetables in a smoothie might not sound immediately appealing, however when the right veggies are blended with the right fruits, the texture and taste is absolutely delicious - especially with avocado! Again, don’t be put off by the inclusion of avocado – the flavour is virtually undetectable, and it’s the key ingredient that makes the texture so lusciously creamy.

Sources and further reading