Grandmother’s Recipes – What to Avoid and What to Improve

You love your grandmother’s cooking, but her recipe calls for 1 stick of margarine, 3/4 cup of oil, and 4 eggs. Just reading these ingredients can raise your cholesterol level and cause you to put on weight! What is the solution? Redo the recipe by switching or reducing problem ingredients.
Most recipes can undergo a makeover without altering the taste or texture of the food. So if you are trying to enjoy your favorite foods while sticking to a healthy eating plan, try these changes to make your recipes tasty and healthy. You will be surprised how easy it is to stay on a diet once you can eat the foods you love that still have great flavor.

When looking over your recipes, decide what to change, what to keep, and what to save for once in a while. Make notes on your recipe cards of healthy changes, so you will not forget them the next time you prepare a dish. You may have to make the recipe a few times to find which changes work for you that keep the taste while cutting down the fat, sugar and salt. But your end product that is healthy and tasty too, will be well worth the trouble. So get creative and start experimenting with your favorite recipes!

Instead of a pastry or a piece of cake with breakfast, try these fabulous whole wheat hazelnut popovers. They are quick and easy to make and they are low sodium, low cholesterol, low fat, and of course low calorie. By using mostly egg whites, you lower the fat and cholesterol content of this tasty snack.


1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and sodium 
With most recipes, you can reduce the amount of fat, sugar and sodium without altering the flavor. By reducing fat and sugar, you also save calories.
Fat. Use half of the oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce. You can also use 1 cup of apple sauce instead of 1 cup of oil or margarine. Many reduced fat foods such as cheese, yogurt, cream cheese and milk, have the same taste as the full fat versions with less calories and fat.
Sugar. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. When you use less sugar, add spices like cinnamon, or flavorings such as vanilla or almond extract to enhance the sweetness of the food. You can also use half sugar and half baking Splenda for a lower calorie but sweet taste.
Sodium. Cut the amount of salt in half for baked goods that don’t require yeast. For foods that require yeast, do not reduce the salt. Without salt, the food will become dense and flat. For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can cut the amount of salt in half or eliminate it completely. Try using low sodium soy sauce. It has the same taste with a fraction of the sodium.

2. Make healthy changes 
Healthy substitutions will reduce the amount of fat, calories and sodium in your recipes, and at the same time, boost the foods nutritional value. For example, use whole-wheat pasta to add fiber, magnesium, iron and B vitamins (niacin, thiamin and riboflavin) to your meal. When preparing pasta dish put in a bag of frozen vegetables as well. Each portion will now be bigger but have fewer calories. It will also be full of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.

3. Change the method of preparation 
Healthy cooking such as braising, broiling, grilling and steaming can retain the flavor and nutrients of your food without adding extra fat. If your recipe calls for frying the ingredients in oil or margarine, try a different method of preparation such as baking or broiling… If that doesn’t=t work, instead of frying in oil try sautéing in a nonstick pan or spraying the frying pan with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Eat the main course on salad plates 
No matter how much you reduce or switch ingredients, some recipes may still be too high in sugar, fat or salt. For those foods, reduce your portion size. Smaller portions have less fat, calories and sodium and allow you to still enjoy your favorite foods. Moderate do not eliminate your favorite foods. By eliminating your favorite foods, you are more likely to feel deprived and go off your diet altogether.

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