This time of year is tough. Everyone will bring you sweets to try and you are surrounded by not so good for you food. While this is great on certain days, every day can get you in trouble! I like to think of this time of a year as a challenge. I love taking unhealthy recipes and adding small changes to make it somewhat healthier. It doesn’t mean these are recipes that you can go crazy on, but every little bit counts! I make it a point to eat something sweet every day to help avoid bingeing and these are great substitutions. I wanted to talk today about some easy substitutions to use when cooking to help make your recipe just a little healthier.
First and foremost you want to focus on the fat that the recipe calls for. It many cases this is butter or something similar. This is probably the first ingredient you will want to try to substitute out. Often you can substitute the fat in the recipe for: Greek yogurt, sweet potatoes, or applesauce. It is not an exact 1 x 1 conversion so you often have to play with it and keep some of the original fat in the recipe. Another option is to focus on healthy fats: soybean, olive, and canola oils are still fats but they are healthier fats and can be used when needed.
The next battle is sugar. We all know so many of recipes around this time of year call for lots and lots of sugar. Again, it is not an exact 1 x 1 conversion but I like to use things like applesauce, bananas, or honey. These are natural sweeteners, which can be used to substitute out some of the sugar in the recipe to make it healthier for you to eat. You can also try using honey as sugar in your coffee if you need a sweetener that is natural and better for your body!
One thing to keep in mind when you are making substitutions is that a lot of time you are taking away some of the flavor. Most of the time the flavor comes from the fats so instead try adding low calorie flavorings: mustard, ketchup, balsamic vinegar, olives, tomatoes, really anything that will match the flavor of the recipe you are making.
A lot of substitutions are trial and error and some won’t work, but if you keep at it you will find some awesome, tasty, and healthy recipes that still help your battle your sweet tooth this time of year!