Eating healthy does not have to mean you have to give up your favorite sweet or savory dishes. An indulgence every once in a while or even once a day is fine when in moderation. Being a nutrition nut, I can’t help but thinking about what foods are made of. When I’m cooking certain dishes I often try to figure out how I can make them healthier without compromising the taste and texture. This isn’t a hard task when baking and there’s several substitutions I make on a regular basis, such as applesauce or pumpkin in place of some or all the butter/oil. I’ve decided to compile a list of ingredients, for my benefit and yours, that can be substituted to cook healthier.
Instead of shortening, butter, or oil in baked goods use applesauce or other fruit puree for half the amount.
Instead of whole milk, half & half, or evaporated milk use skim/1% milk, fat-free half & half, evaporated skim milk, soy/almond milk.
Instead of cream cheese use Neufchatel cheese or low-fat cream cheese.
Instead of sour cream, cottage cheese, or ricotta cheese use non-fat/reduced fat sour cream or fat-free plain yogurt (Greek or regular), low-fat cottage cheese, part-skim ricotta.
Instead of all-purpose white flour use whole wheat flour for up to half.
Other healthy cooking tips
- Bake, roast, broil or grill foods instead of frying
- Use spray oils in pans instead of pouring the oil into the pan
- Add vegetables to bulk up meat sauces or pasta dishes without adding many extra calories
- Use more spices, less salt to season food
- Use low-fat dairy products, such as cheese and cream
- Pay attention to portion size when serving meals, try to make half of your plate vegetables
More questions? Feel free to ask!