Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Cut Calories, Fat and Sugar with 10 Simple Recipe Swaps

You probably know that applesauce is the perfect swap for cooking oil.   But how do you eliminate cooking oil when you're sauteing yet still retain a recipe's flavor?  Easily. 

There are certain tips and tricks that can help cut calories and fat while cooking.  Many of these are well-known while others might be new to you.


The applesauce swap is one of my favorites.  I use it in place of oil in a brownie recipe.  The double bonus is that it makes your freshly baked goods moister than if you used oil.

The cheat is simple for sweet recipes:
  • When a recipe calls for fat in the form of butter, margarine or oil, use applesauce in a one-to-one ratio.  Yep.  Simple as that.  
  • You could also cut the amount of fat in half and use applesauce for the other half.
Here are some other great swaps from The Program by Kelly Traver and Betty Kelly Sargent.  That book doesn't seem to be in print in any more but you can get their updated book, The Healthiest You: Take Charge of Your Brain to Take Charge of Your Life. 
  • For sour cream, use nonfat sour cream or nonfat yogurt (or a mixture of the two).
  • For mayonnaise, use light or nonfat mayonnaise.
  • If cream is called for, use low-fat or nonfat milk or evaporated skim milk. You may need to decrease the amount of milk slightly, depending on the recipe.
  • If you are watching the number of eggs you’re eating, you can substitute two egg whites for every one egg that is called for. Or you can cut down on the number of whole eggs you would otherwise use by alternating every whole egg with two egg whites.
  • When you sauté, you can use a nonstick cooking spray. If you are stir-frying, try putting just a little oil in the pan and then adding other liquids such as water, broth, tomato juice, fruit juice, or wine for added moisture.
  • If cheese is in the recipe, use low-fat or nonfat cheese or select a cheese with 5 or fewer grams of fat per ounce. If you want the flavor of the real thing but not all the extra fat and calories, use only half the amount of cheese called for.
  • If ground beef is in the recipe, use lean ground turkey (it should contain approximately 3 grams of fat and 55 calories or less per ounce). If you choose lean ground beef, reduce the amount by half and increase other items such as vegetables, pasta, or rice to bulk up the meal.
  • If a recipe calls for baking chocolate, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of water or oil for every ounce of chocolate in the original recipe.
I would also suggest this: 

  • When a recipe calls for sugar, just use half to 3/4 of the amount suggested.  The final product will still be sweet and you won't miss that added sugar.
Do you have a favorite swap?  Please share it! 

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