Healthy Soul Food Exchanges that Work! | The Black American Kitchen


Soul Food is good.

Cooking and eating are quite important aspects of American Black Culture.

Cooking has been a social activity that has carried over from Africa, through 400 years of slavery until today. Soul food is a part of our culture that pulls us together and one of the few things that just about ALL of us Black people love.

The bad news is that Soul food is also partially responsible for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and a host of other diseases that are consistent with Soul Food diets. Our food can kill us because of the cooking processes and high amounts of salt and sugar.

Healthy Soul Food is Better

I have compiled 5 of my favorite Soul Food Exchanges so that you can maintain ethnic flavor when cooking Soul Food but not take in all of the sodium, fat or calories!

I hope that these exchanges work for you!



  1. Instead of using a pork hambone when preparing greens or other veggies I suggest using smoked turkey. The more flavorful parts of the turkey tend to be the wings, legs, tail or neck. Your greens will still have rich flavor without the sodium and natural salt that pork has. Switch up!
  2. Pasta is a carb rich food that is a staple in the Black diet, because we love to make Spaghetti. Spaghetti is not as traditional as Greens and Pigs feet, but we are eating it-a lot. However pasta can pack on the pounds and make us sluggish. Because pasta is so heavy we also know that we cannot enjoy this food often. By using Spaghetti Squash you can enjoy spaghetti more often and by increasing the veggies and red sauce and swapping out the ground beef for turkey you have a very Atkins style dish!
  3. Cauliflower instead of potatoes! I know this does not sound tasty! But if you mash this potato “swap out” you are going to avoid the spikes in blood sugar that potatoes cause. Just steam the Cauliflower and add a little bit of butter!
  4. Instead of greasy pan frying, try oven frying! Fried foods are a cornerstone of Black Foods. It simply is. However if you are frying foods regularly, you are not going to be as healthy as you should be. You will age faster and will be more susceptible to heart disease! Baking your foods instead of frying them on the stove may increase your carb count, but it will also increase your life line! I love using Kraft Fresh Take, They make the juiciest and tastiest chicken! And of course there is the old school Shake N’ Bake.
  5. Use honey instead of sugar. Honey is a natural product that has less calories and more health benefits than sugar does. If you cannot swap sugar at all, make sure that you are using Sugar in the Raw, this is a more pure sugar.

For the Sugar to Honey Conversion Click Here:

I am all for cooking and enjoying my food but not in exchange for a healthy and long life.

Let’s start some new Black American cooking traditions.

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