April 25, 2013

Great substitutions for everyday healthy eating

cooking-and-kids

If you encounter ingredients in your culinary school programs that might not be the best for a diet and exercise plan, you’re in luck: It’s often pretty easy to find substitutions that won’t impact taste or texture. As you learn to cook, keep this list handy to know where you can cut calories for a healthier, more wholesome meal:

Instead of sugar …
Use dates. If you’re trying to sweeten baked goods, smoothies or shakes, dates add clean, natural sugars and fiber.

Instead of sour cream …
Go for Greek yogurt. You will be able to make your dips with the proper texture while cutting down on fats. If you’re making tuna or chicken salad, Greek yogurt is also a great substitution for mayonnaise.

Instead of oil or butter …
You can bake with applesauce! Start experimenting by replacing half of the oil with applesauce and adjusting the ratios as needed.

Instead of bread crumbs …
Make crunchy chicken with rolled oats. You’ll cut down your sodium intake while packing your meal with healthy carbs, fiber and nutrients.

Instead of mayo …
Try avocado. This star superfood is laden with healthy fats, and will give you the creaminess you desire without the extra calories of mayonnaise.

Instead of artificial pudding …
Use silken tofu. It has the smooth, palate-pleasing texture you’re looking for, but adds more protein than traditional varieties.

Instead of flour …
Bake brownies with pureed black beans! You’ll be surprised how fudgy they can be. The best part? Your brownies will be healthier without even tasting like beans.

Instead of eggs
Look to chia seeds for a vegan alternative. When you mix one tablespoon of chia seeds with one cup of water and let it sit for 15 minutes, you’ll have an ideal one-to-one vegan egg substitute that is perfect for baking.

Instead of rice
Give cauliflower a try. When it’s steamed then grated, the texture and taste are very similar to rice without the extra carbohydrates.

Instead of cream …
Puree some potatoes. It’s an easy substitution to thicken soups and stews while keeping them healthy and dairy-free.

Instead of pasta …
Try spaghetti squash. It’s a great low-carb alternative to noodles, and adds extra flavor to your favorite dishes.

Instead of frosting …
Cover your baked goods with marshmallow fluff. It’s just as sweet, but has a lower fat and sugar content.