Healthy Food Subtitutions forums

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May 3, 2004
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Use the following tips to trim fat in your favorite recipes. Experiment to determine the type and amount of substitutions that can be made without compromising flavor. <TABLE cellPadding=5 border=0><TBODY><TR><TH align=middle bgColor=#cccc99>If the recipe says:</TH><TH align=middle bgColor=#cccc99>try this instead</TH></TR><TR align=left><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Whole Milk</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Skim or 1% milk</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Light cream</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Equal portions of 1% milk and evaporated skim milk</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Heavy cream</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Equal portions of half-and-half and evaporated skim milk</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>1 ounce baking chocolate</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>3 tablespoons cocoa (if you need to replace fat in chocolate, add 1 tablespoon or less of vegetable oil)</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Fudge sauce</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Chocolate syrup</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Nuts, coconut</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Reduce amount called for in recipes; toast to enhance flavor</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Whipped cream</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Whip chilled evaporated milk or use reduced-fat, whipped toppings</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Sour cream</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Low-fat or non-fat sour cream, low-fat yogurt, or blend 1 cup low fat cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon skim milk and two tablespoons lemon juice</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Mayonnaise</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Reduced-fat or fat-free versions, low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Mayonnaise on a sandwich</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Reduced-fat or fat-free versions, mustard, fruit and vegetable chutney, salsa</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Butter, lard, margarine, shortening</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>To cut total fat, reduce amount called for in recipes by 1/3. In baking, replace some fat with fruit purees.</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Oil (in baking)</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Equal amount of applesauce</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>1 whole egg</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>2 egg whites</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Cream cheese</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Reduced-fat (often called "Neufchatel cheese") or fat-free versions</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Ricotta cheese</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>1% cottage cheese, skim or non-fat ricotta</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Whole-milk cheese</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Skim-milk mozzarella or low-fat or fat-free versions</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Higher-fat cuts of meat labeled "choice" or "prime" grades</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Leaner meat cuts labeled as "select" grade, such as round, sirloin, top loin, lean and extra-lean ground beef</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Luncheon meats</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Low-fat versions of higher-fat luncheon meats, skinless turkey or chicken breast, lean ham or roast beef</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Sausage</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Ground skinless turkey breast</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Bacon</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, lean ham</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Avocado, olives, coconut, etc. as salad garnishes</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Decorative fruit and vegetable garnishes that are lower in fat, such as cucumber slices, orange segments or twists, carrot curls and tomato roses</TD></TR><TR><TD bgColor=#ffffcc>Higher-fat frosting</TD><TD bgColor=#ffffff>Sifted confectioner's sugar, sifted cocoa or flavored marshmallow cream</TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

Simple Low Calorie/Fat Substitutions

Here are a few suggestions for simple changes you can make in your daily diet that can add up to big savings around your waistline. Take little steps. If you can't imagine coffee without cream, try it with less, or use half cream and half milk.

Remember: Every little bit helps!

In your coffee:

Instead of: Two teaspoons sugar (30 calories)

Try: Two teaspoons sugar-free sweetener (0 calories)

Instead of: Two tablespoons half-and-half (40 calories)

Try: Two tablespoons reduced-fat milk (15 calories)

On a sandwich:

Instead of: One tablespoon mayonnaise (100 calories)

Try: One tablespoonlow-fat mayonnaise (50 calories)

Or One tablespoon mustard (15 calories)

On a bagel:

Instead of: 2-teaspoons butter (72 calories) or 2-teaspoons stick margarine (66 calories)

Try: Two teaspoons cream cheese (33 calories)

Or Two teaspoons nonfat cream cheese (25 calories)

OrTwo teaspoonsall-fruit jam (35 calories)

On a salad:

Instead of: One tablespoon creamy dressing (80 calories)

Try: One tablespoon vinaigrette dressing (40 calories)

Or One tablespoon fat-free dressing (10 calories)

Sweet snacks:

Instead of: One candy bar (150 calories per ounce)

Try: One granola bar (110 calories per ounce)

Or One banana (26 calories per ounce)

Salty snacks:

Instead of: potato chips (140 calories per ounce)

Try: Baked chips or pretzels (110 calories per ounce)

Or unbuttered popcorn (80 calories per ounce)

Here are some substitutions that we use while cooking, and we don't notice a difference with any of these! Besides watching fat and calories, we also try to watch sodium since my husband's family has a strong history of heart disease.

Chicken broth -- 98% fat-free, reduced sodium chicken broth

Canned tuna -- reduced sodium canned tuna

Soy sauce -- reduced sodium soy sauce

Cheddar cheese -- 2% milk cheddar cheese (you can also find fat-free cheddar cheese, but sometimes it doesn't melt properly!)

American cheese -- 2% mild American cheese (I actually like this better than original!) They also make fat-free American which isn't too bad

Mayo on sandwiches -- mustard or BBQ sauce

Salad dressing -- fat-free yougurt mixed with your choice of fresh or dried herbs, such as dill, rosemary, oregano, lemon pepper, etc. (We actually haven't tried this one since we don't eat much salad.)

White bread -- whole-grain wheat bread. It's recommended that you get 3 servings of whole grain products a day for heart health. Other sources include cereals made with whole grain, brown rice, and whole-grain pasta.

Plus some random tips:

You can use low-fat or fat-free versions of many other condiments, such as sour cream, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. But be sure to check the label because sometimes the low-fat versions have only slightly fewer calories than the regular, because they may add things like salt or sugar to make up for the reduced fat and improve the taste. However, if you're a smart shopper, small substitutions like this can really add up!

Whenever you can, pan-fry your meat and veggies using cooking spray instead of vegetable oil or butter, and when you use oil, make sure to use canola or virgin olive oil. (Using no-stick skillets makes it easier to use just a spray.) It amazes me how much oil two chicken breasts can soak up in the skillet!

I'm sure a lot of us don't get the recommended 5 minimum servings of fruits and veggies a day. Try throwing extra veggies into casseroles, stir fries, soups, etc. We added broccoli to my mom's tuna casserole recipe and it tasted great!

Plus, you can reduce or eliminate the salt in many recipes without a noticeable difference in the taste! Sometimes you can reduce other unhealthy ingredients without a noticeable difference -- we have a soup recipe that calls for 6 tbs of butter, but it tastes fine if we use half that amount!

Thanks Tess! I've always wanted to do the apple sauce substitution but never had the guts to. Now that I'm trying to eat healthier, I'll be giving it a shot.

These are some really good tips Tess!!! Thanks!

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