10 Ways To Make Your Recipes Healthier
Last reviewed by Faculty of Harvard Medical School on January 16, 2013
By Sarah Flinn, Dietetic Intern
You can make many of your favorite recipes lower in fat and calories, and higher in fiber by simply swapping out some of the ingredients. When you cook for yourself and your family, you control what goes into the recipe.
Try these 10 simple substitutions to make your meals healthier. Try the recipe from Brigham and Women's Hospital that is included here as well.
Instead of: Oil in cakes and brownies
Use this: Substitute applesauce for half of the oil called for in cake and brownie recipes. You'll cut down on calories without losing flavor or texture. Unsaturated oils, such as olive, canola, safflower and corn oil, are heart healthy, but high in calories. By reducing the amount, you cut back on some of the calories.
Instead of: Whole eggs
Use this: A 1/4 cup of egg substitute or two egg whites can replace each egg in recipes. This can cut the calories and cholesterol from your recipes.
Instead of: All-purpose flour
Use this: Substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour to increase the fiber in your recipes. Start slowly by using 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 all-purpose flour. If you want to go all whole wheat, substitute 7/8 cup whole wheat flour for every cup of white flour.
Instead of: Cream in soups
Use this: Try using fat-free (skim) milk in cream-based soup recipes or when baking. One exception: With homemade whipped cream, the fat is important!
Instead of: Pasta
Use this: There are so many tasty and nutritious whole wheat pastas on grocery shelves. Some brands even add omega-3 fatty acids an essential, heart-healthy fat to their whole wheat pastas for added nutrition.
Instead of: Ground beef
Use this: You won't be able to tell the difference when you substitute extra-lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey breast in chili, burgers, meatballs or lasagna. Think of all the calories and saturated fat you'll be cutting out!
Instead of: White rice
Use this: Brown rice has more fiber and nutrients than white rice. Try it in stir fries or any recipes that call for rice. It's more filling because of the fiber.
Instead of: Cheese
Use this: There are a lot of delicious reduced-fat cheeses available today. Replacing full-fat cheese with these lower fat versions will cut back on calories and saturated fat without compromising flavor.
Instead of: Sour cream
Use this: Substituting fat-free yogurt for sour cream won't change the flavor or texture of your recipes. It will cut the calories and saturated fat in your dish, and make you feel better about eating your meal!
Instead of: Salt
Use this: Put away the garlic salt, onion salt or any other herb-salt combination and use fresh herbs and spices whenever possible. If you can't use fresh, dried herbs and spices are great alternatives! The only thing you lose is the sodium, not the flavor.
Pineapple-Cranberry Oat Twist
Nutrition Facts per 1/2 cup serving:
Sarah Flinn is a Dietetic Intern at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston