Some basic tips for making your favorite meals healthier include:
- Decrease the meat and increase the vegetables called for in stews and casseroles.
- Choose whole-grain versions of pasta and bread; substitute whole-wheat flour for bleached white flour when you bake.
- Serve imaginative whole-grain side dishes like bulgur or kasha instead of white rice or pasta. Cook with less fat by using non-stick skillets.
- Blot all fried meats on paper towels. Or better yet, try baking instead of frying.
- Avoid cooking with soy or Worcestershire sauce and products that contain monosodium glutamate (MSG).
- Use garlic or onion powder instead of garlic or onion salt, and use unsalted or low-salt vegetable broths and products.
- Buy reduced-fat cheese or use mozzarella, which is naturally lower in fat.
- In recipes calling for milk or cream, substitute reduced fat versions or try using other “milks” such as rice milk, nut milk, or soy milk. Also use low-fat cream cheese, yogurt, and mayo.
- Unhealthy fats like certain oils, butter, or margarines can usually be cut by 1/3 to 1/2 in recipes. At first try a small reduction and then use less and less over time; you'll hardly notice the difference.
- You can also use fat substitutes like prune purees and applesauce in baked goods.
- Use fresh-frozen fruit without added sugar if fresh is unavailable.
- Cut the sugar called for in most recipes by 1/3 to 1/2.
- Sweeten waffles and quick breads with cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or almond extracts in order to cut the sugar content.
- Try salsa on a baked potato or salad rather than high-fat dressing or butter.
— Jaime Brenkus Health Tip 22