Recipe Substitutions Make Your Holiday Favorites a Little Healthier
When the holidays roll around at the end of the year, many of us give in to all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to the food we eat.
Finding balance is a challenge with all the holiday parties and family gatherings that fill our calendars. And who can resist a favorite dessert or an extra big scoop of a beloved comfort food, like Aunt Myrtle’s sweet potatoes? After all, the holidays only come around once a year.
All-or-nothing thinking leads to unrealistic goal-setting, said Micca Donohoo, RD, LDN, bariatric surgery program coordinator with the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center.
People go to parties and decide that they won’t eat anything, for example. When they succumb, they say to themselves, “I’ve already blown it. I’m just going to go ahead and stay off of it altogether.”
One way to help yourself is to make scaled-down versions of your favorite holiday foods and treats. There are a lot of recipe substitutions that will help you cut back on calories, fat content or both. Then you can make your own version of Aunt Myrtle’s sweet potatoes and have them anytime of the year.
Here are several swap-outs you can try to make your recipes a little healthier:
|INSTEAD OF …||TRY …|
|1 egg||2 egg whites
1 tablespoon ground flax seed plus 3 tablespoons water
¼ cup egg substitute
|All-purpose flour||½ whole wheat flour plus ½ all-purpose flour
Whole wheat pastry flour
Splenda baking (½:1 ratio)
|Brown sugar||Splenda brown sugar (½:1 ratio)|
|Oil, butter, margarine||Flax seed (3:1 ratio)
Plain nonfat yogurt
Decrease fat amount by half and replace with fruit puree or yogurt
Use only half of the fat amount in the recipe
|Evaporated whole milk||Evaporated skim milk|
|Sour cream||Nonfat sour cream
Light sour cream
Greek-style plain yogurt
|Regular cheese||Fat-free cheese
Light or 2% cheese
|Chocolate chips||Half the amount of mini-chocolate chips|
Soy sausage crumbles or patties
|Mayonnaise or salad dressing||Light or nonfat versions|
|Heavy cream||Equal parts half-and-half and fat-free evaporated milk|
|Cream cheese||Nonfat cream cheese
Laughing Cow light cheese wedges
Light cream cheese
|Bread crumbs||Ground high-fiber cereal, such as Fiber One
Ground high-fiber crackers
Ground whole-grain breads
|Ground beef||Ground turkey breast
Meatless soy crumbles
|Whole milk||1% milk
Light almond milk
Light soy milk
|Peanut Butter||PB2 powdered peanut butter
Better’n Peanut Butter
Natural peanut butter
|Powdered sugar (or dusting)||1 cup Splenda plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
(Blend in blender for 1 minute, scraping as needed)
|Salt (for seasoning)||Mrs. Dash
If you’d like to brush up on your cooking skills, the Memorial Weight Loss & Wellness Center is offering cooking classes in the professional teaching kitchens at Lincoln Land Community College. Each class lasts two hours, with 30 minutes of preparation, 60 minutes of cooking and education and 30 minutes of delicious,healthy dining.
For more info or to register, call 217-786-2292 or visit Lincoln Land’s website here.