Recipe makeovers tips for healthier dishes

Can you count your grandmother’s beloved bread pudding as a healthy recipe? Scrumptious as it may be with four cups of whole milk, one stick of butter and four eggs, you probably wouldn’t find it on a list of healthy recipes. But you don’t have to remove it from your recipe box. Just modify that bread pudding with a few simple change-ups, and you’ve got another healthy recipe for your collection — not a fat and calorie disaster.

Here are three techniques you can use to help create healthy recipes. Remember, these are just some examples. Use your imagination and experiment to find other ways to create healthy recipes — maybe you can even serve them to Grandma!

Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt

You can often reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt without sacrificing flavor in healthy recipes. Use these general guidelines:

    • Fat. For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. You can also use commercially prepared fruit-based fat substitutes found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.
    • Sugar. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half. Instead, add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavoring to boost sweetness.
    • Salt. For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can reduce the salt by half or even eliminate it. You can reduce salt by half in baked goods that don’t require yeast too. For foods that require yeast, you may need to experiment: Some salt may be necessary for leavening to keep baked goods from being too dense or flat.

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