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Clever Dieting
Remastering Grandma's Recipes

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Making healthy snack choices ensures a healthy family.....

Traditional recipes are a big part of Family Heritage but many of our old-fashioned favorites contain too much fat and too many calories.  But don't toss out Grandma's family favorites just yet!  

The following tips will help subtract fat and calories without subtracting too much tasty goodness.

Keep in mind that the bulk of calories in a recipe stem from the fat and sugar added to the heirloom recipe.

Ingredient Substitute Suggestions

1. Substitute unsweetened applesauce, fresh pureed fruit, baby food or dried fruit for oil, butter, shortening and lard in recipes.

This will assist in reducing the dietary fat gram content - and we know what happens then, don't we? By reducing fat, we are naturally reducing caloric values in the recipe. And that unsweetened applesauce or fresh mashed fruit will add tons of natural flavor to the recipe - yes, without all that fat.

Foods that mash well are those that are at their fully ripened stage - which will also ensure a good dose of sweetness. Mashed banana, peaches, strawberries, mango, nectarines, plums - both purple and black, and even papayas all work well to add moistness and unique flavors to the recipe.

Some dried fruits such as prunes, dates and figs also work well without fat calories.

Using Smarter Sweetening Ingredients

2. Substitute no calorie sugar, less sugar or natural honey for the recommended amount of sugar in a recipe. If you don't comfortable in slashing sugar by half, then remove one-third - or even one-fourth of the recommended amount. At about 800 calories per cup, removing 1/4 cup can save about 200 calories.

You can combine this cooking tip with the first tip as the ripened fruits are capable of adding some sweetness to the recipe.

Healthier Nut Substitute

3. Substitute Grape Nuts cereal for nuts in recipe. Nuts are delicious; they are a healthy plant protein with some like the English Walnut holding impressive Omega 3 health benefits. But they are also extreme in calories.

While one pecan contains about 25 calories, it only takes four of these babies to shove us over the 100 calorie mark threshold. Caloric values can add up very quickly.

The Grape Nuts aren't skinny-Minnie's when it comes to calories, but they are excellent in the area of minimal fat content and can make a healthier choice. And if you don't have nuts on hand, what a great way to add crunch.

Skim & Low Fat Dairy Selections Over Regular

4. Substitute skim or reduced fat dairy products for whole-milk products.  Although fat-reduced cream cheese might taste yucky by itself, it's quite divine when baked or used in recipes where other ingredients set the main notes of the dish.

Whole Grain Goodness

5. Substitute lower calorie whole grain breads for those exceeding 60 calories per slice. There are a couple of diet friendly breads on the market that taste pretty good. Two slices equal about 70 calories - so the dieter can enjoy almost two times the slices of bread for about the same number of calories.

6. Substitute white bread, pasta and rice with whole grain wheat bread, whole grain wheat pasta and whole grain brown rice. As we can see, when it comes to our good health - whole grain goodness is difficult to beat where benefits are concerned.

Monitoring Fats

7. Although mashed potatoes taste heavenly when packed with real cream cheese, real butter and real cream - they are really dangerous to the old arteries.

Mashed potatoes prepared with reduced fat milk, fat reduced butter, minimal sea salt and a good blast of cracked pepper can be just as tasty, leaving us around this big old earth to enjoy them just a little bit longer.

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