Recipe substitutions you can Live with.
It is estimated that an astounding 75% of killer diseases, are directly related to what we consume (how we eat). Too much sodium, fat, cholesterol and sugar and not enough fiber, lean protein, fruits and vegetables are the major contributors of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and certain types of cancer. This however doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to a lifetime of dieting and deprivation. Simply substituting certain key ingredients can pack a wallop in terms of making the foods you eat more nutritious as well as help with disease prevention while having little effect on taste. I can give you the tools to make smarter healthier choices.
Fat: There are 4 basic types of fat: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, saturated and Trans fat. The majority of fat we consume should be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat. Less than 10% of the fat we consume should be saturated fat because it raises total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol and creates artery clogging plaque Saturated fat is found in animal products such as meat, poultry (mainly in the skin) and dairy. Trans fat should be avoided because it raises LDL and lowers HDL increasing heart disease risk. Trans fat is fat that is solid at room temperature and is found in margarine as well as processed cookies, crackers and chips. (Listed as” partially hydrogenated” in the ingredients.)
- Chose olive and canola oil, over vegetable oils, butter or margarine for cooking. Olive and canola oil lower LDL (bad) cholesterol without lowering HDL (good) cholesterol. Improving cholesterol ratios reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Every cell in our body requires fat so the goal is not to eliminate it entirely but to reduce the amount of fat in our diets to less than 30% of total caloric intake and making
sure that most of it comes from polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.
To reduce Fat and Cholesterol as well as Calories:
- Instead of using butter or oil, sauté vegetables in chicken or beef broth, Worcestershire sauce or cooking wine to add flavor without the fat and calories.
- In baking, substitute up to half of the oil called for with equal parts applesauce and low-fat buttermilk, or in chocolate confections, substitute baby food prunes (which also adds fiber) and save over 900 calories and 100 grams of fat per ½ cup of oil.
- Use 2 egg whites or ¼ cup of egg beaters for each whole egg in your recipes and save 10 grams of fat and a whopping 426 milligrams of cholesterol.
- In most recipes nonfat Greek yogurt can be substituted for sour cream to save over 350 calories and 48 grams of fat per cup. And as an added bonus, yogurt is much higher in calcium and protein than sour cream.
- When a recipe call for cream or heavy cream switch to evaporated skim milk to save up to 600 calories and 80 grams of fat per cup.
- Use low-fat cheeses instead of their whole milk counterparts. Opt for sharp cheddar instead of mild cheddar and decrease the amount used to increase the flavor while still saving on fat and calories. In cooked dishes grate the cheese finely to help it melt more evenly.
Fiber: Most Americans eat less than half the recommended 30-35 grams of fiber per day. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of fiber and rich in antioxidants but less than 25% of Americans eat their recommended 5-9 servings per day. Research has shown that those who eat higher amounts of fruits and vegetables have lower rates of cancer and heart disease. Other good sources of fiber are beans and wholegrain bread, and wholegrain cereal.
- Substitute whole wheat pasta for white pasta to add fiber.
- Choose brown rice instead of white for another painless way to up your fiber intake. Puree beans in a blender and substitute for up to ½ the meat called for in chili, casseroles, or meat sauces using ground beef (this will also help to stretch your food budget). Beans are nutritional powerhouses. They are high in protein, iron, folic acid, and complex carbohydrates: and beans contain high amounts of soluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol. They are also low in fat and sodium making them one of the best foods around. Just be sure to use dried beans that have been cooked or, if using canned beans, rinse thoroughly to remove most of the salt that’s added during the canning process.
- Look for whole wheat and whole grain bread instead of white for another way to add fiber to your diet. If you have a few pieces at the end of the loaf that don’t get eaten grind them up in a food processor for use in recipes that call for breadcrumbs.
- When making casseroles, soups, etc. increase the amount of vegetables called for in the recipe. If your family balks at eating vegetables puree them in the blender before adding to sauces and stews, they’ll never know they’re there.
Sodium: A diet high in sodium causes high blood pressure. Most Americans exceed the 2,400 mg limit of recommended daily intake of sodium. Read labels and you will be shocked how much sodium you are consuming without realizing it.
- To reduce sodium in your diet choose frozen vegetables or low sodium canned vegetables where available. Frozen vegetables are lower in sodium than canned.
- When using canned vegetables or beans rinse before adding to your recipe to remove even more of the sodium.
- Omit the salt called for in your recipes and for every teaspoon you don’t add you’ll save almost 2400 mg sodium. Flavor your recipes with herbs and spices then sprinkle just a bit of salt on at the table if needed. In most recipes salt is not integral to the success of the finished process. (Homemade yeast bread is an exception to this, the yeast needs the salt to ferment and rise so it cannot be omitted.)
- Eating more nutritiously is not a diet but a way of life that, with a few painless modifications, can be maintained, and enjoyed forever. Look Good, Feel Good, Live Better!