Recipe Substitutions Make for Healthier Meals
Melissa Tennen, HealthAtoZ Writer
Using the right ingredients in your meals can help you create the recipe for a healthier life. Recipe substitutions can help subtract calories, sodium and saturated fat from your meals while keeping them tasting great.
Here are some ideas for substitutions:
When the recipe calls for: Whole milk
Use: Fat-free milk, 1 percent milk or evaporated nonfat milk
When the recipe calls for: Sour cream (1 cup)
Use: 1 cup of low-fat yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese or low-fat buttermilk OR Low-fat cottage cheese with low-fat yogurt for flavor
When the recipe calls for: A whole egg
Use: Two egg whites or 1/4 cup of an egg substitute
When the recipe calls for: Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)
Use: 3 tbsp of cocoa powder and 1 tbsp of oil OR 3 tbsp of carob powder plus 1 tbsp of oil
When the recipe calls for: Shortening, lard and butter
Use: Vegetable oil (corn oil, canola oil or peanut oil). Use about 1/4 less than what the recipe calls for. If the recipe suggests 1/4 cup of shortening or butter, use 3 tbsp of oil.
When the recipe calls for: Cream or whipping cream (1 cup)
Use: 1 cup evaporated nonfat milk OR 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
When the recipe calls for: Vegetable oil
Use: Equal measurement of applesauce
When the recipe calls for: Butter (1/2 cup)
Use: 1/2 cup of polyunsaturated margarine OR 3/4 tbsp of polyunsaturated oil (sunflower, sesame, corn or soybean)
If using butter for baking, switch it to applesauce. Be sure your margarine says trans-fat free.
When the recipe calls for: Mayonnaise (for salads and salad dressings) 1 cup
Use: 1 cup yogurt
When the recipe calls for: Cream cheese
Use: 4 tbsp of margarine blended with 1 cup dry, low-fat cottage cheese
When the recipe calls for: Ricotta
Use: Low-fat cottage cheese
Here are some other tips:
- Top casseroles with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
- Choose reduced-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.
- Use low-sodium or unsalted ingredients, such as herbs and spices. (Do not eliminate salt in yeast breads.)
- If your recipe suggests 2 cups of flour, use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 1 cup of whole wheat to boost the fiber content.
- Reduce sugar by 1/4 to 1/3 in cookies and cakes, and use flour to take the place of the omitted sugar.
- Use meat substitutes like tofu for lasagna, or use lean meats like turkey and chicken.