Monday, 15 April 2013

Substitutions and Sacrifices

Part of my journey has involved learning how to sacrifice and substitute to make cooking and baking healthier. Using a canola spray and a good non-stick pan or baking/grilling food instead of using a heap of oil is a great way to reduce unnecessary added fat to your diet. However a small amount of good monounsaturated fats is good so don’t be completely scared of using oils, just be mindful that they have a high number of calories for such tiny amounts. I have even tried roasting vegetables in a stock...Low-fat Roasties

If you want to try baking things, but healthy, it is certainly a huge learning experience as baking is a science and if you start messing with the tried and true, then the results can be disastrous. Here are some pretty fail-safe substitutions that you can use in you cooking/baking to make things a bit better for you:

Baking and cooking subs and tips:

  1. All-purpose flour can be replaced with whole wheat flour. Since whole wheat flour is light, add only half the required amount.
  2. Substitute margarine and butter with apple sauce or prune puree. Plus it adds flavour to the dough. You can even use baby food or puree cans of pears, peaches etc. that you have lying in the back of your pantry. For best results, sometimes it works better if you only substitute about ¾ of the necessary fat.
  3. Refined sugar has absolutely no nutritional value, why not replace it with honey, stevia, xylitol, brown, raw or Demerara sugar to sweeten the goodies?
  4. Whole eggs definitely hold the dough together and cannot be replaced. But you can use egg whites instead of whole eggs.
  5. Or you can absolutely replace half the amount of eggs with nut butter, bean or fruit substitutions. You can also use a vegan flax-egg substitute which involves dissolving 1 tablespoon of freshly ground flax/linseed with 2-3 tablespoons of water – which then is the equivalent to 1 egg.
  6. Instead of using whole milk, try the low fat, fat free milk, coconut and almond milk; the benefits are fruitful. In fact there is so many low fat or reduced fat options for most things nowadays… I have even found that Meadow fresh low fat yogurt has more calcium and protein than the full fat versions and I love Mainland’s reduced fat feta – it means that I can have more!
  7. Oatmeal is a healthy ingredient for breakfast and for a healthy substitute for bread crumbs. Now you can also use oatmeal in cakes; replace half the flour with oatmeal.
  8. Everyone loves cheese cake…Now you can opt for low fat cream cheese and still have the same decadent taste.
  9. When you see cream used in soups, you can opt for skim milk plus a tablespoon or so of flour. Or some light evaporated milk.
  10. Sour cream in your stroganoff or cakes can be replaced with unsweetened natural yogurt.

Good luck with your experimentation…I would love to hear about anything you try and feel free to ask about healthy swaps on this page or on Facebook. Also you may be interested in my Pinterest recipe board which is where I pin all of the great healthier recipes that I find – the link is on the left of the blog page.

xx Anna :)


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