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Published on November 18, 2016

dish of applesauce

Don’t Ditch That Dish: Healthy Substitutes for Your Favorite Recipes

Think you have to say goodbye to your tried and true recipes now that you’re eating healthier?

Not so fast.

With a few tweaks and substitutions many recipes can be made healthier. Hy-Vee Dietitian Anna Schroeder has a few of the more common substitutions to keep your favorite recipes in rotation.

Every recipe is different, so be sure to make notes of what works and what doesn’t. It may take a few tries before you get the results you want.

Easy Conversions

  • 1 cup oil = 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tbsp. margarine = 3 tbsp. ground flax
  • 1/2 cup pecans = 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup whole milk = 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup blenderized low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup wine = 3/4 cup water, 3 tbsp. lemon juice and 1 tbsp. sugar

Decrease Fat

To reduce fat in a recipe, cut the amount by half and substitute for the missing fat with unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas or pureed prunes.

Sugar Shakedown

To reduce the sugar, just leave out one-third to one-half the amount called for in the recipe.

Slash the Sodium

To reduce sodium, reduce the amount by half, or eliminate it altogether. The exception: the recipe uses yeast. Salt is necessary for the leavening process, so it must be left in these recipes.

Quick Fixes

You can save on calories, fat and sodium by trying some of the following substitutions:

  • Use skim (non-fat) milk instead of 2 percent, whole milk (homogenized), whipping cream or heavy cream
  • Use light or non-fat sour cream instead of regular sour cream
  • Use lower-fat cheese instead of regular cheese
  • Use less oil than the recipe calls for
  • Replace onion salt, garlic salt, celery salt and seasoning salt with onion flakes, garlic powder and herbs

Forgo Frying

If you’re looking for ways to slim down fat intake, think about your food preparation. Instead of frying, try braising, broiling, grilling or steaming. For an added bonus, use non-stick pans so you can use less oil.

Reviewed by Avera News Team

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