I love to cook. I'm not always the greatest at it, but I absolutely love trying my hand at new recipes and creating concoctions in the kitchen. But my problem is this: many of the recipes that I love tend to have lots of sugar, oil/butter, white flour, and cream. So what's a girl to do?
Surprisingly, adapting recipes to make them healthier is easier than one might think. Making recipes healthy can be done by making some very basic changes.
Cut back on the sugar. If you're baking something sweet then try reducing the sugar called for by about a fourth. If you're used to putting sugar in your coffee or on your oatmeal then try switching to a more natural sweetener like honey. Y.S. Organic Bee Farms, Raw Manuka Honey 12 oz is a great way to get sweetened flavor without completely compromising health (raw Manuka honey has healing benefits)
If you haven't already, switch to extra virgin olive oil. Once olive oil is in the body it reduces the bad types of cholesterol and raises the good types of the cholesterol. Regular ol' canola oil, butter or lard don't have the same benefits. If you need to use butter in a dish than consider an olive oil and butter blend. These blends can be found at the grocery store and work perfectly in dishes, but have considerably less fat than regular butter.
When using flour in dishes consider using wheat flour instead of processed white flour. The best way to make this switch is to start by doing half wheat and half white. Certain dishes lend themselves better to the nutty taste of wheat flour than others. Depending on your preference, you can switch over entirely to wheat or keep the ratio at 50/50. Just remember that fiber-rich wheat flour has a shorter shelf life than white flour and usually requires more water and kneading when used in bread recipes.
If a recipe calls for cream then it is difficult to make healthier. Substituting light cream for heavy cream is an option, but the creamy-ness of the dish may be compromised. Your best bet is to limit creamy dishes altogether. If you're making pasta - then try more tomato-based sauces. When the craving for creamy sauce is too much, then allow yourself a small indulgences.
Even if cooking isn't your favorite thing to do, making small changes in the kitchen can lead to lasting results. You don't have to be a culinary wiz-kid to pull off these recipe substitutions. Start making your recipes healthier today!
What are some of your tips and tricks? How do you make recipes healthier?