Jul2011 Volume 8‎ > ‎

July Fuel

There's nothing worse than being elbow-deep in an exciting recipe, only to realize it calls for an ingredient you don't have. You contemplate running to the grocery store or going next door to a neighbors house to see if they will lend you some, but the reality is you probably have something in your pantry that will work just fine as a substitute. Ingredient substitutions are mainly used when baking or cooking dishes and you realize at the last minute you’re out of stock of the necessary food item, but they are also used when attempting to make a healthier version of a recipe. There may be a taste or texture change when using food substitutes, but the results are generally acceptable and many won’t notice the difference at all.

At Fuel Good, we have made ingredient substitutions or partial substitutions in our menu items on purpose to increase nutrition, but not compromise taste.
For instance, our muffins are made with half white flour and half whole wheat flour, along with using a combination of whole eggs and just egg whites, and cutting back on oil by using unsweetened applesauce. If you have tasted our muffins, you probably would have had no idea if we wouldn’t have told you!

Here are some other healthier switches that we put into practice daily at Fuel Good:
Whole wheat pasta for regular pasta
Ground Turkey for ground beef
Arugula, romaine, and spinach for iceberg lettuce
Yogurt for mayo (in chicken salad)
Herbs or citrus juice for salt
Turkey Bacon for Bacon
Low-fat Mayo for Regular Mayo
Nuts for croutons (in salads)

Cooking healthier dishes is easier than you may think. Most people have some favorite recipes that they make that they are known for, and they may have even been handed down from generation to generation. They are usually a calorie and fat nightmare, but with a few easy tweaks most of these recipes can become somewhat healthier. According to the Mayo Clinic, here are 5 easy ways to give your favorite recipe a healthy makeover:

1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt
  • Plain and simple.......you often can reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt without sacrificing flavor in healthy recipes

Make a healthy substitution

  • Pasta. Use whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta
  • Milk. Prepare a dessert with fat-free milk instead of whole milk to save 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup.
  • Meat. Scale back on meat, poultry or fish and increase the amount of vegetables.

Cut back some ingredients

  • Toppings. Eliminate items you generally add out of habit or for appearance
  • Condiments. Cut condiments, such as pickles, olives, butter, mayonnaise, syrup, jelly and mustard, which can have large amounts of salt, sugar, fat and calories.
  • Cheese. Try using half of what the recipe calls for.

4. Change cooking and prep techniques

  • Cooking method. Healthy cooking techniques include braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sauteing and steaming.
  • Basting liquid. If the directions say to baste the meat or vegetables in oil or drippings, use a small amount of wine, fruit juice, vegetable juice or fat-free vegetable broth instead.
  • Nonstick cookware. Using nonstick pans or spraying pans with nonstick spray will further reduce the amount of fat and calories added to your meals.

5. Downsize the portion size

  • No matter how much you reduce, switch or omit ingredients, some recipes may still be high in sugar, fat or salt. You can help your diet by cutting back on the portion size instead.

Now don’t go changing every ingredient in every recipe all at once, but slowly and slightly start tweaking your recipes and make sure to jot down notes as to what you change so when your next dish is a healthier masterpiece you will know how to recreate it. By doing a search online you can find tons of healthier ingredient substitutions....some may work for you, some may not, but it doesn’t hurt to give them a try. You may find that you actually like your lighter version better.  Just found a recommendation for using black beans in place of flour in brownies......can’t wait to give that one a shot! Fuel good to feel good!  

Subpages (1): July Recover