Enjoy Your Favorite Foods with Healthy Recipe Substitutions
Written by: Carol Bradley, PhD, RDN, LD, BCBA, FAND
Healthy eating doesn’t mean giving up all the foods you love! Smart substitutions can help you maintain an overall healthy eating pattern, even when dining out. Whether you are trying to make changes on your own, or you have been told by your physician that you need to make some changes, try the following:
For Recipes
These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated or trans fats, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.
• Instead of whole milk (1 cup), use 1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil.
• Instead of heavy cream (1 cup), use 1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese.
• Instead of sour cream, use low-fat unsalted cottage cheese plus low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or just use fat-free sour cream.
• Instead of butter (1 tablespoon), use 1 tablespoon soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) or 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil.
For Snacks
You can snack healthier by substituting snacks that are high in saturated fats and/or trans fats with these sensible snacks:
• Instead of high-fat cookies and crackers, enjoy fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers (such as graham crackers, rice cakes, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps and molasses cookies).
• Instead of regular baked goods, enjoy baked goods, such as cookies, cakes pies, and pie crusts made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites or egg substitutes, and fat-free milk.
• Instead of devil’s food cake, enjoy angel food cake.
• Instead of pudding made with whole milk, enjoy pudding made with fat-free or low-fat milk.
• Instead of ice cream bars, enjoy frozen fruit bars.
When eating out, try choosing lower-fat foods instead of “the usual.”
For High-Fat Items at Restaurant
• Instead of cream-based soups, try broth-based soups with lots of vegetables
• Instead of buffalo chicken wings, try peel-and-eat shrimp.
• Instead of muffins, or croissants, try pita bread, or whole-grain rolls.
• Instead of a fried chicken sandwich, try a grilled chicken sandwich.
• Instead of French fries, try baked potato, brown rice, or steamed vegetables.
• Instead of potatoes and gravy, try potatoes without gravy or a baked potato.
• Instead of a hot fudge sundae or ice cream, try nonfat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice.
For Fast-Food Restaurants
• Instead of a Danish, try a small bagel.
• Instead of a jumbo cheeseburger, try a grilled chicken sandwich, a sliced meat sandwich or a regular hamburger on a bun with lettuce, tomato and onion.
• Instead of fried chicken, try a grilled chicken and a side salad.
• Instead of fried chicken pieces, try a grilled chicken sandwich.
• Instead of French fries, try a baked potato with vegetables and/or low-fat or fat-free sour cream or margarine on the side.