EDITOR's NOTE: Welcome Dr. Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD to the Gainesville Lunch Out Blog Staff as our resident expert on all important food information that is healthy, smart, and good for your body, mind, stomach and waistline. Dr. MC will share smart food advice with us on a regular basis and looks forward to answering, discussing any food questions you might have.
I have compiled a list of 8 healthy and easy substitutions that you can use while you are cooking, without sacrificing on taste.
Here are 8 easy substitutions for healthier cooking without sacrificing taste. Bon Appetit!
Black beans for flour
Making brownies? Swap 1 cup of flour for 1 cup of black bean puree (about a 15 oz can). It will cut down on carbs and add an extra dose of protein. Plus, the taste is amazing! It really works!
Avocado puree for butter
Avocado is a fat, but primarily monounsaturated fat, which is a good fat!. At room temperature, avocado is almost the same consistency as butter. My favorite recipe for this substitution is a chocolate mousse recipe that you can find on my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/michellecardel). Generally, use 1 cup of avocado puree for 1 cup of butter, but a little experimentation may be needed depending on the recipe.
Marshmallow fluff for frosting
I am not recommending marshmallow fluff as a health food. However, we all need a little treat sometimes, so why not make that treat a little bit healthier? Marshmallow fluff has a consistency similar to frosting but a LOT less calories. Two tablespoons of marshmallow has 40 calories, 6 grams of sugar, and 0 fat. The same amount of store-bought frosting has about 100 calories, 14 grams of sugar, and 5 grams of fat. Pass the marshmallow please!
Air-popped popcorn for potato chips
Popcorn will satisfy your craving for something salty without all the calories and fat of potato chips. Use an air-popper or put 2 tablespoons of popcorn kernels in a brown lunch sack and microwave till the pops are within 1-2 seconds of each other. Season with olive oil, parmesan cheese, freshly ground pepper, and truffle salt. You can also try fun flavors like cinnamon, chili powder, curry.
Evaporated skim milk for cream
Evaporated skim milk has the same consistency as cream but a lot less fat. Substitute 1 cup cream for 1 cup evaporated milk.
Cacao nibs for chocolate chips
Did you know chocolate chips start out as cocoa nibs? That's before additives and sugar get mixed in. Switch to cocoa nibs in your favorite recipes that call for chocolate chips. It's an even swap with more antioxidants but less sugar!
Non-fat Greek yogurt for sour cream
This swap is easy and will save you half the fat and calories. Bonus: This swap is also kid-friendly because the two taste exactly the same, but yogurt provides an extra dose of protein. Children who do blind taste tests of these two ingredients in my nutrition and cooking classes can never tell them apart.
Instead of a substitute, this is a healthy additive. Try putting fresh spinach into smoothies, soups, sauces, or hummus. It gives an extra punch of vitamins and fiber without changing the flavor!