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This Vs. That: Healthy Substitutions To Satisfy The Most Common Cravings

Being successful with your weight loss goals doesn’t mean that you have to ignore your cravings altogether. There are some good swaps that will satisfy your craving while allowing you to stay on track. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite recipes from Ideal Protein that work great when you are having one of those cravings!

While planning ahead is really important, finding out a few of your favorite substitutions to keep in your back pocket when cravings strike is a great tool and is key to long-term success.

Take a look below and let us know what your favorite swaps are!

Swap 1: Swap Tacos for Turkey Taco Salad


  • 2 tsp avocado oil

  • 1 portion ground turkey

  • ½ tsp dried oregano

  • ¼ tsp salt

  • 1/2 Roma tomato, deseeded and chopped

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped fine (or less if you prefer it less spicy)

  • 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 lime, cut into quarters

  • 2 leaves romaine lettuce, chopped

  • ½ bag Ideal Protein Dorados, crumbled


Heat oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat and swirl. Add ground turkey, oregano, and salt. Cook until browned slightly; 2-3 minutes. Add Roma tomatoes and jalapeno and sauté until turkey is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Stir in cilantro. Place romaine leaves in a bowl and top with turkey mixture. Crumble IP Dorados on top and serve with lime wedges.

Swap 2: Swap a Burrito for a Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl


  • 1 packet Ideal Protein Vegetable Chili Mix

  • 1¼ cups cauliflower florets

  • 1 teaspoon sunflower oil or other select oil

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped

  • ½ teaspoon chili powder

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ cup Pico de Gallo

  • 1/4 cup sliced red onion

  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


Prepare the chili mix according to packet directions. Set aside. Place the cauliflower in a food processor and process until finely chopped, or place it on a cutting board and chop. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and salt. Cook, stirring, just until tender and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, cover, and keep warm. Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon oil. Add the garlic, chili powder, and cumin and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the prepared chili mix and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes. Pour over the cauliflower rice and top with the Pico de Gallo, onion, and cilantro.

Swap 3: Swap Pizza for Pizza Marina with Arugula


  • 1 packet Ideal Protein Mashed Potatoes Mix

  • 3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1/4 teaspoon dried

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1/2 cup canned drained chopped tomatoes

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning or oregano

  • Pinch red pepper flakes, plus more for serving

  • 1/2 cup baby arugula or mixed Italian greens

  • 2 tablespoons Ideal Protein Classic Balsamic Dressing

  • 1 cup steamed rapini (broccoli rabe), asparagus, or other select vegetable


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a small sheet pan with parchment paper Stir the mashed potatoes mix, rosemary, and water together in a small bowl. Scrape the mixture onto the prepared pan. Moisten the back of a spoon (this will keep the dough from sticking) and spread the dough out to make a circle about 5 inches in diameter. Bake until very browned on top and bottom, 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the tomatoes, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and red pepper flakes. Place over medium heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until flavors are combined and most of the liquid has evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Spread the tomato sauce over the crust. Top with the arugula and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the dressing. Cut in half. Serve with the select vegetable on the side (or some on top of the pizza), drizzled with the remaining dressing.

Swap 4: Swap Traditional Jalapeño Poppers for Ideal Protein Traditional Jalapeño Poppers


  • 1 packet Ideal Protein Veggie Meatless Mix

  • 1 green onion, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish

  • 3 large jalapeños or 3 mini bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out

  • 2 tablespoons (about ½ ounce) grated pepper Jack or other hard cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Cook the meatless mix according to the packet directions. Crumble and place in a small bowl. Stir in the green onion and cilantro. Place the pepper halves on the prepared baking sheet; cut side up. Spoon the filling into the peppers, pressing down gently and mounding it slightly. Sprinkle the cheese over the tops. Bake until the peppers are tender and the filling is nicely browned; 10 to 12 minutes. Serve sprinkled with more cilantro.

Swap 5: Swap Traditional Beef Stroganoff with Ideal Protein Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff


  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 12-16 oz sirloin steak cut into 1 1/2” cubes, pat dry

  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 200 g torn mixed mushrooms (about 2-3 cups)

  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 1 tbsp tamari

  • 2 tsp onion powder

  • 1 1/2 cup fat-free beef broth

  • 1 cup whole wheat fusilli pasta

  • 2 oz cream

  • fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


Turn instant pot to high sauté setting. Drizzle in olive oil. Add in steak cubes and season with salt and pepper. Add in mushrooms. Brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add in garlic, thyme, tamari, and onion powder and sauté for 30 seconds. Pour in beef broth and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes. Quick release, remove the lid, and add in the pasta. Stir. Close the lid and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Natural release for 3 minutes. Remove the stalk of thyme and optionally sauté to reduce the sauce. Stir in cream, garnish with optional parsley, and serve.

Swap 6: Swap Chili for Turkey and Bean Chili


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil

  • ½ pounds ground lean turkey

  • 2 cups diced bell pepper

  • 2 cups diced turnip

  • ¾ cup sliced green onion, white and light green parts only

  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin

  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes (about 3¼ cups)

  • 2 cups canned drained kidney beans or other beans (or a mix of beans)

  • ½ cup water

  • 4 ounces (about 1 cup) grated pepper Jack or Cheddar cheese


Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook, breaking it up with the side of a spoon, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil to the pot. Add the bell pepper, turnip, green onion, and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and salt, and cook for 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, beans, cooked turkey, and water. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld and the vegetables are tender, at least 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes. Ladle the chili into bowls and top each serving with ¼ cup cheese.

Swap 7: Swap Chicken Parmesan with Ideal Protein’s Chicken Parmesan with Zoodles


  • 1 slice whole grain bread

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

  • 5-7 oz chicken breast, pounded to ½” thick

  • 1 ½ tbsp Ideal Protein Tomato Soup Mix, divided

  • 1⁄8 tsp salt

  • 1 whole egg

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • ¼ cup fat-free chicken broth

  • 2 zucchini, spiralized or cut into thin strips

  • 1 tsp dried basil

  • 1⁄8 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • 1 oz parmesan, grated


Place a slice of bread in a small food processor and add Italian seasoning. Pulse until it forms fine crumbs. Sprinkle on a plate. Whisk egg in another plate. Sprinkle chicken breast in with ½ tbsp soup mix and salt evenly on both sides, then coat in whisked egg and then place on the plate with the bread crumbs. Press one side in, flip, and press the other side. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl olive oil in the skillet and carefully place coated chicken in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes per side or until golden. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining tomato soup mix with ¼ cup of chicken broth. Heat in a small saucepan, stirring until thickened. Set aside to cool. Toss zucchini in a large bowl with basil, salt, and olive oil. When the chicken is done, place it on a large parchment paper-lined baking tray. Spoon tomato soup sauce over chicken. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of the tomato sauce. Place zucchini around the chicken. Bake for 10-15 minutes.


Successful weight long-term means developing a toolbox of tools and having the right support to keep you on track and meeting your goals. Nashville Weight Loss Solutions specializes in helping our patients do exactly that. For over 15 years, Dr. Houston and his team of staff have been helping thousands of patients successfully achieve their weight loss goals with tools like coaching, medication, surgery, and more. Whether you want to lose 20 pounds or 200 pounds, no other program has the variety of tools offered at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions. The team at Nashville Weight Loss Solutions will work with you to develop a comprehensive, personalized plan to help you achieve results based on your unique weight loss needs.

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