The healthy eating trend has people scrambling to remake their favorite recipes into more healthy and still delicious
versions. Culinary magazines feature Recipe Makeovers each issue to meet this need. It's easy to do it yourself and is only
a matter of knowing what can be changed.
Food scientists discovered most people don't notice a significant difference or accept the difference resulting from
the following kinds of changes.
- Reduce sugar by one-third -- Example:
If a recipe says 1 cup, use 2/3 cup.
This works best in canned and
frozen fruits and in making puddings and custards. In cookies and cakes try using 1/2 cup sugar per cup of flour. For quick
breads and muffins, use 1 tablespoon sugar per cup of flour. To enhance the flavor when reducing sugar, add vanilla, cinnamon,
- Reduce fat by one-third -- Example: If
a recipe calls for 1/2 cup use 1/3 cup.
This works best in gravies, sauces,
puddings, and some cookies. For cakes and quick breads, use 2 tablespoons fat per cup of flour.
- Omit salt or reduce by one-half -- Example:
If a recipe says 1/2 teaspoon, use 1/4 teaspoon.
This may be more acceptable if
you gradually reduce the amount each time you make the recipe. Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning mixes can enhance flavor.
Do not eliminate salt from yeast bread or rolls. It is essential for flavor and proper texture.
- Substitute whole grain and bran flours
Whole wheat flour can replace
from one-fourth to one-half of all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe has 3 cups all-purpose flour, use 1 1/2 cups whole
wheat flour and 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
Oat bran or oatmeal (ground to
flour consistency in a food processor or blender) can replace up to one-fourth of all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe
has 3 cups all-purpose flour, use 3/4 cup oat bran or ground oatmeal and 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour.
Bran cereal flour is made by
grinding a ready-to-eat cereal such as Bran Buds or 100% Bran in a blender or food processor for 60 to 90 seconds. It can
replace up to one-fourth of the all-purpose flour. Example: If a recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose flour, use 1/2 cup bran
flour and 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour.
Reduce The Fat
All fats and oils are high in calories and provide lots of flavor but you can make a healthier choice by choosing those
with less saturated fat. Likewise, when you use lower fat milk products, you reduce fat, calories, and cholesterol.
Canola, safflower, sunflower, corn, peanut, olive and soybean oil, contain the lowest amount of saturated fat (6%-15%).
Coconut oil, butter, palm oil, animal fat and lard contain the most (41-54%).
Use reduced fat sour cream, low fat or nonfat yogurt, or cottage cheese instead of regular sour cream in sauces and
dips. Skim milk can replace whole milk in most recipes. Evaporated milk can substitute for whipping cream, and evaporated
skim milk can replace regular evaporated milk in some recipes.
Other (Healthy) Ingredient Substitutions
- Instead of butter try a 60/40 butter
blend or reduced calorie margarine.
- Instead of sour cream try light or mock
sour cream (recipe follows)
- Instead of 2 whole eggs try 1 whole egg
plus 4 egg whites
- Instead of 2 egg whites try homemade
egg substitute (recipe follows)
- Instead of whole milk try 2% or skim
- Instead of cream try evaporated or evaporated
- Instead of cream cheese try light cream
cheese or Neufchatel
- Instead of whipped cream try homemade
non-fat whipped topping (recipe follows)
- Instead of cottage cheese try non-fat
- Instead of 1 ounce baking chocolate try
3 tablespoons powdered cocoa plus 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- Instead of mayonnaise try half light
mayonnaise and half non-fat yogurt
Remake Recipes By Increasing Fiber Intake
- Top casseroles with crushed bran cereal*
instead of Chinese noodles, canned onion rings or croutons.
- Use crushed bran cereal instead of bread
crumbs for coating chicken and fish.
- Use a mixture of half chocolate chips
and half raisins for chocolate chips in cookie and bar cookie recipes.
- Substitute brown rice for white in soups
- Try barley or wheat kernels instead of
white rice in stir fry and side dishes.
* Try All Bran, Bran Buds, 100% Bran, Fiber One. Raw bran
is less expensive but some people object to the texture and note a metallic flavor.
Remake Sauces And Gravies
Fat separates the flour or starch granules in sauces and gravies preventing
lumpiness. Fat also enhances flavor. To make no-fat, smooth sauces and gravies, blend starch or flour with cold liquid. Add
herbs or bouillon granules to heighten flavor.
Did You Know?
When using a regular, not light or microwave, brownie or cake mix
you can substitute 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt for the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup oil.
- 1 cup
low-fat cottage cheese*
- 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon
Combine all ingredients using blender
or food processor. Yield: about 1 cup
Has 14 calories and 0 fat grams
per tablespoon as opposed to 26 calories and 2.5 fat grams in a tablespoon of regular sour cream.
tablespoon unflavored gelatin
tablespoons boiling water
cup nonfat dry milk powder
cup ice water
tablespoons lemon juice
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
In a thoroughly chilled small bowl, beat milk and ice water. Beat in lemon juice. Add sugar and vanilla and beat to soft peaks.
Add gelatin mixture and beat. Yield: about 1 1/2 cups. Calories: 12 per tablespoon
Because this recipe contains raw eggs, do not use it in uncooked products such as eggnog and ice cream.
cup nonfat dry milk powder
teaspoon vegetable oil
Combine all ingredients using a
blender or electric mixer until smooth. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 2 days. Or freeze in 1/4 cup
portions. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Yield: 1 cup; 1/4 cup
is equivalent to 1 egg