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Check out these essential substitutes for healthier southern cooking

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Southern cooking is known for its rich flavors, whether sweet or savory. Many times, those flavors come from some of the most unhealthy ingredients we could possibly consume. But that doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite comfort foods. Check out this list of substitutions that will have you enjoying your favorite guilty pleasures, minus the guilt.

Almond milk

healthier southern cooking
healthier southern cooking
Photo: nutritionsecrets.com Want to make great gravy or cream-based sauce? Soy milk or rice milk might lack the consistency you need, but almond milk hits it on the nose. For many of us who are lactose intolerant (and ignoring it), southern cooking is often followed by a stomachache. Avoid the pain and sub in this dairy-free milk.

Vegan butter

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Photo: veganbaking.net Southern cooking requires butter for almost everything, but again, if lactose is your enemy, butter can do you in after a large portion. Grab some vegan butter for no changes in taste, but better feelings after consumption.

Turkey bacon

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Photo: dvo.com I know you bacon lovers are giving me the evil eye right now, but turkey is a much leaner option than pork. If you'd like to spare yourself some fat and caloriesit smells and tastes just as good.

Goddess dressing

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Photo: ohsheglows.com This is a great alternative for fatty dips and dressings. It's traditionally made with tahini, lemon, garlic, chives, and sometimes avocado, which means that you can make your own at home! Feel free to also use it as a substitution for mayo on sandwiches. Check out this quick and easy recipe from Thug Kitchen.

Nuts and Raisins

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Photo: colourbox.com I would say that this is a great substitute for southern snacks like huge slices of pound cake, but since we both know that we're going to eat the cake anyway, we can at least add some ingredients of substance to our southern sweets. Nuts and raisins are great additions to cookies, with nuts adding healthy fat and raisins giving you a boost of sweetness without the processed sugar.

Honey

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Photo: twobearshoney.com We know how addictive processed sugar is, yet we're white sugaring our tea like no tomorrow. Let's stop this! You can sweeten your tea, your baked goods, and even your cereal with a little honey, and it's much better for you. There are also processed versions of honey that aren't as good for you, so your best bet is to look for raw honey.

Quinoa

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Photo: compassionatewomen.org Substitute quinoa the next time you're cooking some delicious rice and (almond milk-based) gravy. Rice isn't a pure protein, but quinoa is, and it will fill you up much faster. Throw in some of your favorite herbs or veggies and you've just recreated a super healthy southern meal!  
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