It’s a new year and one resolution on many people’s minds is to eat better by cooking healthy recipes. Selecting your favorite meals and learning a few tips and tricks on how to upgrade it to be part of your resolution is really easy. Low-calorie recipes can be full of flavor and you might discover you prefer some of these healthy substitutes to the traditional tastes.
1. Slice This with Starches
Next time you want to make mashed potatoes or loaded baked potato soup try subbing out ½-¾ of the potatoes the recipe calls for with mashed or pureed cauliflower. With a mild flavor that’s rich when roasted, cauliflower melts into these recipes without any noticeable “vegetable” taste. Blended with a bit of butter or olive oil and the baked potatoes, you’ll get a smooth texture and at half the calories and with added essential nutrients.
2. Creamy and Lower In Calories
Fettuccine alfredo, chicken pot pie, potatoes au gratin–all of our favorite comfort foods can be had guilt-free by adjusting the creamy elements. If a recipe calls for heavy cream you can substitute 1-2% milk and immediately cut your fat content. Reduced on the stove top or mixed with flour/cornstarch, milk can have the same delicious, thick texture as cream.
When making macaroni and cheese combine this healthy idea with also adding some pureed butternut squash into your cheese sauce. The color blends seamlessly and you can use a sharp cheddar and jack to pair with the squash’s sweetness.
3. Mix These with Meat
When you’re planning for meatballs, tacos, or sloppy joes try mixing your ground beef with chopped mushrooms or eggplant. If a recipe calls for 2 lbs. of ground beef you can sub in a ½-1 lb of that for cooked portobello, cremini, or button mushrooms, or eggplant. Both of these vegetables have a naturally meaty texture and also a deep flavor when pan seared or roasted. Blend them up to cook with your beef and spices to make your recipe healthier with less cholesterol and fewer calories.
4. The Skinny on Fats & Frying
Fried chicken, eggplant parmesan, sweet potato fries, and crab cakes all need that signature crunch that breading and oil supply but we can scale down fat and calories by swapping the deep fryer for the oven and changing the coating. Panko breading has a rougher surface than regular bread crumbs which will give your chicken and eggplant a better crisp and you can use less. For french fries slice them evenly so they cook together, then toss in egg whites and spices before putting in the oven for a sharp, outer crunch.
If you want to make a healthier dip, try swapping in greek yogurt for mayo or sour cream. When making guacamole try blending your avocado with spinach or asparagus, the vegetables will disappear into the creaminess of the avocado.
What’s one of your personal tricks to make a recipe healthier?