Healthy Substitutes for the Most Unhealthy Ingredients

Source: Lifehacker.com

Source: Lifehacker.com

Some people wants to be health conscious, but it takes a lot of work to do to be successful with it. If you want to ease into it, there are healthier substitute for your favorite unhealthy staples.

 

Use Reduced Fat Milk, Half-and-Half, or Milk Alternatives in Place of Whole Milk

It might seem obvious that replacing whole milk with the alternatives cuts back on calories, but it’s worth pointing out because it doesn’t really affect the flavor in most cases. The difference is pretty notable: whole milk has around 150 calories in an 8 ounce serving, where skim milk only has 80 calories.

You can also use the milk alternatives for baking too, but you might need to experiment a little to find the substitute that works best in each meal.

 

Use Half the Amount of Bolder Flavored Cheeses in Place of Mild Cheese

Just like milk, switching to a reduced-fat cheese is a simple way to cut the fat and calories from a meal without sacrificing too much flavor. Still, you can get the cheesy flavor.

If you plan your recipes out right when you can get the flavor punch you want from the full-fat cheese and only use a little bit of it. It is recommended using the full-fat cheese on top of baked dishes instead of it in the middle for the biggest flavor impact. That way, you still get the flavor, but you’re not eating as much of it.

Likewise, simply substituting bolder cheese (aged cheddar, asiago, or smoked cheese) for recipes that calls for mild cheese. When you use a cheese with a stronger flavor, you only need to use about half the amount of what the recipe needs.

 

Use Applesauce or Oils Instead of Butter

Butter is one of the catch-all staples of the kitchen that’s used for everything from frying to baking. Even though it tastes great, it’s also high in calories and saturated fats. Butter likely isn’t as bad for you as you might think, but you don’t need to use butter all the time.

The most obvious butter replacement is oil. For recipes that call for you to butter a pan, a fat-free non-stick cooking spray works just as well. For frying and boiling, olive oil and canola oil make great substitutes. While both oils have about the same calories as butter, they have fewer saturated fats. An even closer replacement is coconut oil. While coconut oil is still a blent of fatty acids, it is a little better than butter, and easy to cook with even at high temperatures.

For those cakes that require butter, a common (and odd) substitute is applesauce. It is recommended to replace butter with half the amount of applesauce. You can replace all the butter if you want, but you’ll get a sweeter taste. If applesauce isn’t available, you can do the same substitution with greek yogurt.

 

Use Vanilla, Nutmeg, or Cinnamon Instead of Sugar

Sugar is one of the easier ingredients to substitute for because you’re really just looking for something that tastes sweet. Cutting sugar out of your diet, you can reduce body weight a little, and cut back on a lot of other negative effects.

In many baked goods, you can cut sugar in half, and add a pinch of either vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon. Cutting sugar is a pretty simple solution that doesn’t sacrifice the sweet flavor. But it’s not going to work all the time, but it’s worth experimenting with it.

 

Use Other Herbs and Spices for (Too Much) Salt

Whether or not salt is actually bad for you, but health experts still think high sodium diets increase the risk of heart disease to some extent.

The Harvard School of Public Health suggests that salt’s just not that great of a flavor to begin with, you can substitute them with spices to make food tastes better.

 

Mix Whole Wheat Flour with White Flour

White flour just isn’t as beneficial as wheat flour because white flour is typically refined and stripped of nutrients and fiber. That means you’re just getting empty calories and sugars.

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Substituting it with whole wheat flour tastes significantly different than white flour, and you’ll notice the difference if you bake with it. This adds in vital fiber and other nutrients without significantly altering the taste.

 

Use Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream or Mayonnaise

Sour cream or mayonnaise isn’t that unhealthy when used in moderation, but you’ll be getting a ton of fat and calories if don’t use them in moderation at all.

It is suggested to use the same amount of yogurt as you would sour cream, and add a little corn starch to thicken it up. As it turns out, yogurt also makes a great substitute for mayonnaise as well, you’ll have plenty of uses for it.

You might still need a full-blown overhaul of your diet and eating habits. Once you’re in gear, you can add a few more healthy ingredients into the mix to keep it going.

 

Source: Lifehacker – The Effortless Diet: Healthy Substitutions for the Most Unhealthy Cooking Ingredients

 

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