Whether you have a health problem that can be aided by cooking healthy or you simply like to make your cooking recipes as healthy as they can be, it’s relatively easy to turn any recipe into something that’s better for your body. Here’s how to do it.
Often it’s possible to reduce the amount of sugar in a recipe by 1/3. For example, if the recipe calls for 1 cup of granulated sugar, use only 2/3 cup. This method works best for puddings, custards, and frozen and home canned fruit.
When baking cakes or cookies, use ½ cup of sugar for every cup of flour called for. For muffins and quick breads, try 1 tablespoon of sugar for every cup of flour.
In order to “make up” for the lack of sweetness in a recipe, try adding a little extra spice – especially nutmeg, cinnamon, or vanilla.
In sauces, gravy, pudding, and most cookies, you can reduce the fat by 1/3. For instance, if a recipe calls for 6 tablespoons of butter, use just 4. When baking quick breads or cakes, use 2 tablespoons of fat for every cup of flour.
You might also consider what type of fat you’re using. For example, butter has 33 mg of cholesterol per tablespoon and is 54 percent saturated fat. Vegetable shortening, such as Crisco, has 0 mg of cholesterol and is 26 percent saturated fat. Therefore, it might be a healthier choice for your cooking recipes
In almost all cooking, you can completely omit salt. If you’re used to cooking with salt, you might wean yourself off of it by gradually reducing the amount of salt you use each time you cook a meal. In addition, it will help to use more seasonings.
If you’re baking anything with yeast, reducing the amount of salt may cause the baked goods to not rise.
The easiest way to add more whole grains to your cooking is to use whole wheat flour. Whole wheat white flour tastes and bakes more like all purpose white flour, so it’s a good place to start. When baking, never replace all the white flour; the result will be too heavy and dense.
Instead, substitute up to ½ the white flour with whole wheat flour. For example, if the recipe calls for 2 cups of all purpose flour, use 1 ½ cups white flour and ½ cup whole wheat flour.
Other Healthful Alternatives
Replace sour cream with yogurt or low fat cottage cheese, especially in sauces and dips.
Use low fat cheese in place of full fat cheese.
Use skim milk.
Use yogurt or unsweetened applesauce to replace the fat in baked goods.
Yogurt is also a good replacement for heavy cream.
Use nonstick pans, so you can reduce the amount of butter or oil used in cooking. Line baking sheets and pans with parchment paper and muffin tins with paper muffin cups for the same reason.
Before eating, chill stew, chili, soup, and stock. Skim the fat off the top, then reheat and serve.