• Family health care, 
including diagnosis 
and treatment of major 
and minor illness
    Family health care, including diagnosis and treatment of major and minor illness
  • Family health care, 
including diagnosis 
and treatment of major 
and minor illness
    Family health care, including diagnosis and treatment of major and minor illness

Substitution tips for the healthy holiday cook

December 01st, 2015

Try these alternatives in your favorite recipes


So, you're trying to put together your menu for your next holiday meal, but not sure what to leave out or put in to make it a healthier dish for loved ones? Check out these substitution ideas!


When baking, use three mashed ripe bananas in place of of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil. You can also substitute one cup of applesauce (or other fruit puree) per one cup oil or butter. 

CREAM CHEESE (full fat)

Try usinhg fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, instead, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth.Or replace with evaporated skim milk.


Egg yolks are quite costly in cholesterol, so it's good to limit them in your diet. When baking, try subbing eggs with only two egg whites, or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg.


Bread crumbs are most usually white bread - which does nothing for us but raise our blood sugar unnecessarily. Instead, you can use rolled oats, crushed bran cereal, raw quinoa, raw polenta, or panko. 


Let's face it - the holidays mean a truckload of carbs everywhere you turn, from sweets to our favorite mashed potato recipe or buttered rolls. To cut down on one more source of carbs, cut your sugar by half in your next cookie or cake recipe or exchange it with honey. You can actually accentuate the sweet taste of the sugar by adding vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon. Supplement some of that sugar with fresh fruit or fruit sauces on top of your baked goods instead of powdered sugar or sugary frosting.


Cream, while tasty, is extremely fatty. Try using fat-free half-and-half, or evaporated skim milk instead.


These are great tasting items - but again, high in fat. In your next recipe asking for either of these ingredients, try exchanging it with plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt instead.


Red meats like beef have been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. Extra-lean or lean ground beef is a healthier choice, but ground chicken breast or turkey breast (without the skin) is even better. 


If you've never heard this before, let me be the first to tell you that iceberg lettuce is as nutritious as eating air. For your next holiday get-together, spruce up your salad with nutritious greens such as arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress.


Sometimes we think we are being "good" because we are eating "low calorie" or "low fat" salad dressing - and decide we can be a little more liberal with our servings. But the fact is that many of these "low" anything foods are supplemented with additional salt, sugars or fats to make up for the perceived loss in flavor. Instead, use olive oil and apple cider or balsamic vinegar - and a little fresh parsley, dill, or cilantro for flavor. A little flavor can go a long way with fresh herbs!


Most foods have such wonderful taste - but sometimes, we like to add "just a little something" to accentuate the flavors. Instead of salt, try putting aromatic herbs or spices on your dining room table for guests (such as garlic or onion flakes), citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, or other salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends such as Mrs. Dash.


So many canned fruits are stored in syrup. Either look for fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or the real deal by purchasing the fruit fresh from the produce department.


If you are trying to cut down on the amount of fat in your diet, switch out oil marinade for wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth.

So try out these great tips to help you kick off your next family holiday function in style - and with fewer calories! 

~ Happy Holidays! ~

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