Healthier Eating

The following information is courtesy of one of my professors: Ms. Anne Keller

Modifying recipes for a heart-healthy diet

You don't have to abandon all your favorite recipes to eat healthier. Several small modifications in your current recipes can often greatly decrease the calories, fat, saturated fat, and/or cholesterol in your diet for a heart-healthy makeover.
Modify a Recipe
You'll experiment with one of your favorite, (but likely high-fat or less than nutritious) recipes. By using the recipe modification suggestions you'll take your calorie-laden, decadent recipe and transform it into a lighter, more nutritious, and hopefully still delicious, treat.
Note:  For this assignment you must make several (3 or more) significant changes to a recipe.  Some students in the past have submitted very simple changes to convenience foods (macaroni and cheese from a box or salad dressing packet) and this does not qualify for this assignment.  You must use a "real" recipe!  Do not use "reduced serving number or size" as a recipe modification.
Step 1
Search your recipe files for a favorite meal, snack or dessert.
Step 2
Use the recipe modification, substitute the lower-fat and lower calorie ingredients for the higher-fat, higher-calorie ingredients in your recipe. Also, look for ways to make your recipe more nutritious, and not just lower fat, as well.  For instance, could you substitute some or all of the whole wheat flour for white flour?
Step 3
Create your lower-calorie, lower-fat version of the recipe. How does it taste? Is the flavor still good? How about the texture? Would you make it again? Which ingredients did you modify from the original recipe to make the new, lighter recipe?
Step 4
Evaluate each recipe for nutritional value on the form provided titled "Making Recipes Healthier."  On a separate page, write a brief summary of the recipe changes that you made and the effect on the nutritional value of a single serving from your recipe. 
Be conscientious of recipe modifications each time you cook.  Remember there are often numerous creative ways to trim down the fat and calorie content of a recipe and still add flavor.  Also, be conscientious about how to increase the nutritional value of a recipe.  For example, try whole-wheat flour for ½ the amount of white flour required.  There are many things you can do to make a recipe lighter and healthier.

These small changes in your current recipes can make a big difference in your intake of fat and calories without significantly affecting the taste or enjoyment of your favorite meals. Some suggestions for making heart-healthy substitutions in your recipes are given below. Notice the difference that minor recipe alterations (such as slightly reducing amounts or using lower-fat versions of ingredients) can make in the amount of fat you consume!
Recipe modifications
Instead of:
To cut out this many grams of fat:
1 cup shortening/lard
¾ cup oil
1 cup oil
¼ cup oil and ½ cup applesauce
2 Tbsp oil (for sautéing)
2 Tbsp wine or broth
1 cup whole milk
1 cup nonfat milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup evaporated skim milk
1 cup sour cream
1 cup nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup low-fat cheddar cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. light cream cheese
or 4 oz. skim ricotta and 4 oz. tofu blended
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can low-fat, low-sodium cream soup
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground turkey (read the label to be sure skin is not included) or 1 lb diet lean ground beef
6 oz tuna in oil
6 oz tuna in water
2 eggs
4 egg whites
1 cup walnuts
½ cup walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
½ cup chocolate chips
Additional tips for reducing fat in recipes
  • Reduce the amount of fat in the recipe by half (this can often be done without having a major effect on the final product).
  • Use non-stick pans and non-stick cooking sprays to cut down on the amount of fat used in cooking.
  • When stir-frying, use a small amount of canola or olive oil. If foods begin to stick, use water, wine, broth, or tomato juice to add moisture rather than adding more oil or other fat.
  • When making pies, omit the high-fat pie shells or choose a reduced-fat version, such as graham cracker crust.
     Modifying Recipes
Use the following table as a reference guide to help you make healthier substitutions for common ingredients in everyday recipes. These substitute ingredients are lower in fat and/or calories than the original ingredients. Therefore, trying these substitutions will greatly reduce the calories and/or fat per serving. Many substitutions sacrifice little in the way of flavor. However, you will need to experiment a bit to see how much your taste buds will sacrifice in the name of calorie reduction.


Making Recipes Healthier

·         Reduce fat by ¼ to 1/3 in baked products.  This works well for quick breads, muffins, and cookies.  It may not work as well with cake.
·         Substitute half the fat with equal parts fruit puree in baked products. Use applesauce, mashed prunes or bananas.
·         Thicken sauces and gravies with cornstarch rather than a flour – butter mixture.
·         Reduce cheese by ¼ to ½ in recipes which call for cheese.  Use low-fat cheese where possible.
·         Use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
·         Do not fry foods – bake, broil, grill, poach, meats, poultry, or fish.
Saturated Fat and Cholesterol
·         Use 2 egg whites in place of 1 egg.
·         Use vegetable oils in place of solid fat. If a recipe calls for 4 Tbsp. solid fat, use 3 Tbsp. oil.  These substitutions may not work for cakes or pie crusts.
·         Use trans-fat-free margarine in place of butter.
·         Reduce sugar by ¼ to 1/3 in baked products and desserts.
·         Increase the amount of cinnamon or vanilla in a recipe to give the impression of sweetness.

Sodium or Salt
·         Reduce or eliminate salt in most recipes.  Start by cutting the salt in half, until you get used to the less salty flavor.
·         Use herbs and spices in place of salt.
·         Choose reduced sodium ingredietns for cooking, such as: low sodium soy sauce, low salt canned tomatoes.
·         Use garlic or onion powder in place of garlic or onion salt.

·         In baked products, substitute up to half of the white flour with whole wheat flour.
·         Choose whole grain ingredients where possible.
·         Use wheat germ in place of bread crumbs.
·         Add extra fruits and vegetables to recipes, where appropriate.

To meet the dietary guidelines
during food preparation…


·         Use cooking methods that avoid or minimize fat.  Saute or stir-fry with little or no added fat.  Broil, grill, bake, or cook in the microwave, allowing fat to drain.
·         Use low-fat or no-fat milk, cheese, and yogurt, instead of higher fat dairy products.
·         Use lean meats and trim visible fat.  Remove skin from poultry.
·         Cook meat, poultry, and fish without fat or with very little added fat.
·         Use small amounts of fats and oils in preparation.  Use margarine instead of butter.
·         Use vegetable oil instead of margarine or shortening when possible.
·         Use less salt.  Add herbs and spices for flavor instead of salt or sodium-comtaining seasonings.  Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt.
·         Use reduced-salt or no-salt added products when possible.
·         Use less sugar and honey in recipes.  Add flavor with fruits and spices.  Use unsweetened canned fruits.
·         Add fruits to recipes and menus by using them to satisfy the sweet tooth. Add them to baked products.
·         Use fewer eggs or substitute two egg whites for one egg.


·         Use rolled oats, bulger, and other whole grain foods.  Substitute whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour in baked products.
·         Add ground flax seed.
·         Emphasize rice, pasta, potatoes, and other starchy foods.
·         Add dry beans, peas, and lentils to recipes.
·         Add vegetables to foods and menus by combining them with dry beans, grains, pasta, lean meat, and poultry.

Grocery List
Based on the rundown of your grocery aisles above, here is what a basic, healthy shopping list might look like (keep in mind that this is not an all-inclusive list - just a guideline of some very healthy foods to help keep the nutritious aspects of your diet in check):
·         Fruits -- oranges, grapefruit, honeydew melon, cantaloupe, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, papaya, guava, kiwi, tangerines, apricots
·         Flavorings -- fresh or dried herbs, fresh or dried spices, flavored or herb vinegars, garlic
·         Dairy -- skim milk, low fat cheese, fat free yogurt, light cream cheese, fat free sour cream, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy cheese
·         Vegetables -- Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, green peppers, red peppers
·         Canned and Frozen – Vegetables (look for low sodium in canned), Fruits (look for “packed in juice” in canned), tomato sauces
·         Grains -- whole wheat bread, whole wheat bagels, whole wheat flour, wheat or bran cereal, whole wheat pasta, brown rice
·         Proteins -- extra lean ground beef, pork tenderloin, Canadian bacon, chicken breasts, salmon steaks, trout (or any other fish), tuna packed in water, shrimp, eggs, peanut butter (go easy!), nuts (go easy!), black beans (any other bean too), kidney beans, garbanzo beans, black-eyed peas, tofu
·         Oils and Fats -- Brume & Brown margarine, No-trans, or light margarine spread, olive oil, canola oil
·         Beverages -- green or black tea (these have lots of good-for-you anti-oxidants!), water/seltzer water