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Just because a recipe calls for a specific ingredient doesn't mean you must use that ingredient. Your favourite recipes can be modified to make them more nutritious or lower in fat by reducing or substituting ingredients that are more acceptable. This fact sheet will show you a few ways to decrease the amount of fat, calories, sugar and salt in your recipes. It will also tell you how to increase the fibre in your recipes to make your food more nutritious. Remember that recipes are only guidelines - not rules - for preparing food. Don't be afraid to experiment!

Instead of modifying your existing recipes, you can also find other recipes that are similar to your recipes but have less fat or sugar and more nutritious ingredients. Another way to control the amount of fats you consume is to reduce the amount of food you eat. Remember: fat should be 30% or less of your overall calorie intake.

To decrease your total fat and calories

Reduce fat in baked products

Reduce the amount of fat in baked products by 1/4 to 1/3. For example, if a cookie, quick bread or muffin recipe calls for 1 cup oil, use 2/3 cup instead. (Do not use this method for yeast breads and pie crusts.)

Use vegetable oil instead of solid fats

Instead of using solid fats such as shortening, lard and butter, use vegetable oil in your recipes. Types of vegetable oils include corn oil, canola oil and peanut oil. To substitute liquid oil for solid fats, use about 1/4 less than the recipe calls for. For example, if a recipe calls for 1/4 cup shortening or butter (4 tablespoons), use 3 tablespoons oil instead.

Use plain low fat or non-fat yoghourt instead of sour cream

In baking, use plain low fat or non-fat yoghourt in the same proportion as sour cream and save on saturated fat calories. You can also substitute buttermilk or blended low fat cottage cheese. This method produces a savings of 44 grams of fat!

1 cup sour cream = 495 calories = 48 grams total fat = 30 grams saturated fat

1 cup low fat yoghourt = 145 calories = 4 grams total fat = 2.3 grams saturated fat

Use skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk or half and half

Another way to decrease the amount of fat and calories in your recipes is to use skim milk or 1% milk instead of whole milk or half and half. For extra richness, try evaporated skim milk. This method produces a savings of 25 grams of fat!

1 cup half/half = 315 calories = 28 grams total fat = 17.3 grams saturated fat

1 cup 1% milk = 100 calories = 3 grams total fat = 1.6 grams saturated fat

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