Transform your favorite recipes into healthier meals

When it comes to eating healthy, people think that they have to “diet” in order to eat better.

Dried blueberries.

blueberries are a healthy addition

This is not the case. It is about more than just what you eat. How much you eat and how you prepare it can make all the difference.

Eating healthy is about many things. For one, you can eat anything you want, as long as you eat the proper portions. The truth of the matter is that most of us eat with wild abandon and count the calories later. Unfortunately, later is too late.

Just about any meal that you eat can be morphed into a healthier version. It only takes a little know how about ingredients and substitutions. And, creating your meals at home is a good way to cut out a lot of the fat and calories that you would encounter in the same meal at a restaurant or pre-packaged in the grocery store.

Know your substitutions

Here are a few tips to help you substitute a healthier ingredient for ones called for in recipes.

Applesauce - When baking, plain unsweetened applesauce can be substituted for a portion of the oil. You will have to combine the applesauce with water to achieve the same moistness. In some recipes they call for a shorter cooking time to achieve this.

Low fat dairy – Dishes with sauces are a favorite for many families. It adds cohesiveness to the meal when you can use it to bring all the parts together. For example, beef stroganoff wouldn’t be the same without the gravy. But, you can make it healthier by substituting fat free sour cream into the dish. Also, choose leaner cuts of meat and whole wheat noodles to round out the dish. Skim milk and light cream also make good substitutions.

The other “white meat” - Ground turkey breast is lower in fat that ground beef. If you are making meatloaf, combine lean ground beef with ground turkey for a lower fat meal. You can try this trick with burgers on the grill and lasagna as well.

Baked breads - White flour contains a lot of sugars that can lead to extra pounds on your body. If you make your own bread and muffins, lower the amount of white flour in the recipe and substitute it with wheat flour. Wheat flour makes for chewier dough so combining the two makes a better taste.

Toasted bread or crackers - Believe it or not, bread crumbs are full of sugar. If a recipe calls for them, use whole wheat crackers, toasted loaf bread (cut into cubes) or whole grain cereal. These have less sugar and do the same job of coating your food.

Lettuce - Instead of using flour tortillas for wrap sandwiches, try a large piece of iceberg lettuce. It takes a little getting used to but when the ingredients are flavorful, the outside doesn’t matter as much. And, you will really put a dent in your calorie count.

Just because you want to eat better doesn’t mean you have to give up eating good food.