Making over a recipe is basically “playing detective” in your kitchen!
Get to know your spices, fruits, veggies and whole grains. Taste ingredients by themselves and then try blending/puree, roasting or grilling to get different flavors.
You know how the recipe should taste, the question is now “how do I get that same taste with different ingredients?” Some simple changes can make a big impact on fat and calories but very little on taste.
Here are some simple steps to get you going:
Step 1: Look for ingredients that you think could be adding extra fat/calories into the recipe.
You may see ingredients like these…
Think about what could be used instead, may be different depending on flavor you are trying to achieve. Savory recipes do well with less oils or butter while sweet recipes may need a sugar substitute (prunes, applesauce).
Butter: Omit, cut down or substitute with healthier oil. For baking you can replace half with prunes or applesauce. With rice and pasta you can omit the oil all together.
Oil: Cut down amount or substitute with prunes/applesauce for sweet recipes. With other recipes, change to a heart-healthy oil such as olive or canola oil. Cut back on savory recipes, use chicken/vegetable stock if you need moisture. For example, if stir frying use a teaspoon of oil and add stock to cook and soften veggies.
Egg: Use egg whites instead of whole eggs use 2 egg whites for each egg. If a recipe calls for more than 2 eggs can use 1 yolk and the rest whites.
Sugar: Cut back on sugar approximately 1/3 to 1/2 amount. Use vanilla or other extracts to sweeten recipes.
Dairy: Substitute for the light versions. For cheeses you can use “part skim” or “low-fat” versions. If a recipe calls for cream you can substitute skim milk or fat free condensed milk. With sour cream and cream cheese you can substitute the fat free versions.
Step 2: Think about whole grains.
Does your recipe call for flour, rice, pasta or bread? Consider using whole-wheat products instead of white. Scared to use all whole wheat flour? You can use 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 white flour.
Step 3: Use low fat proteins.
If making a recipe that uses red meat, substitute chicken, turkey or fish. Make it vegetarian by using soy products (tofu, tempeh) or beans. Make sure when buying ground turkey that you purchase “ground turkey breast.”
If it says “ground turkey” it may have dark meat turkey as well as white meat. Believe it or not, the fat content of combination “ground turkey” is just as high as lean ground beef.
Step 4: Use a healthy cooking method.
Bake, broil, grill or poach instead of pan frying or deep frying. For example: traditional meatball recipes call for frying the meatballs before putting in sauce, instead use ground turkey and bake the meatballs at 400 degrees. They will brown up and taste just as good!