Healthy-Up Your Recipes
In addition to using healthier cooking techniques, swapping ingredients in your recipes for leaner ones can healthy-up your meals. Small changes within a recipe can make big difference in the nutritional outcome. You may need to use less of an ingredient, substitute an ingredient, add a new ingredient, or completely leave something out. It will take some trial and error to get your recipes to your liking, but the extra effort will be well worth it.
Take a look at your recipes before you get started, and think about what individual ingredients may contribute to a dish that's higher in fat, cholesterol, calories, or sodium. Decide which ingredients can be substituted or reduced as well as added for additional nutritional value. Adding shredded carrots or zucchini to your lasagna, for example, can add a load of extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your dish. Make changes to your recipes gradually by changing one or two ingredients at a time each time you make it.
Use some of these substitutions to cut fat and calories while cooking or baking:
Use fat-free or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
Use low-fat yogurt, ½ cup cottage cheese blended with 1½ teaspoon lemon juice, or light or fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream.
Use evaporated fat-free milk or fat-free half-and-half instead of cream.
Use 3 tablespoons cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon oil instead of 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate.
Use low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat or nonfat ricotta cheese instead of regular ricotta cheese.
Use chocolate sauce instead of fudge sauce.
Use nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt or reduced-fat mayonnaise instead of regular mayonnaise.
Use pureed fruits such as applesauce to replace anywhere from a third to half of the fat in recipes.
For pies and other desserts, use a graham-cracker crumb crust instead of a higher-fat pastry shell.
Use pureed cooked vegetables instead of cream, egg yolks, or roux to thicken sauces and soups.