There are many easy ways to alter recipes so that they are healthier while maintaining their wonderful tastes, flavors, and textures.
Some basic tips for making your favorite meals healthier include:
- Decrease the meat and increase the vegetables called for in stews and casseroles.
- Choose whole-grain versions of pasta and bread; substitute whole-wheat flour for bleached white flour when you bake.
- Serve imaginative whole-grain side dishes like bulgur or kasha instead of white rice or pasta. Cook with less fat by using non-stick skillets.
- Blot all fried meats on paper towels. Or better yet, try baking instead of frying.
- Avoid cooking with soy or Worcestershire sauce and products that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt, and use unsalted or low-salt vegetable broths and products.
- Buy reduced-fat cheese or use mozzarella, which is naturally lower in fat.
- In recipes calling for milk or cream, substitute reduced fat versions or try using other “milks” such as rice milk, nut milk, or soy milk. Also use low-fat cream cheese, yogurt, and mayo.
- Unhealthy fats like certain oils, butter, or margarines can usually be cut by 1/3 to 1/2 in recipes. At first try a small reduction and then use less and less over time; you’ll hardly notice the difference.
- You can also use fat substitutes like prune purees and applesauce in baked goods.
- Use fresh-frozen fruit without added sugar if fresh is unavailable.
- Cut the sugar called for in most recipes by 1/3 to 1/2.
- Sweeten waffles and quick breads with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or almond extracts in order to cut the sugar content.
- Try salsa on a baked potato or salad rather than high-fat dressing or butter.