The next time you cook, remember these three R's and give them a try—you may be surprised at how much you can change a recipe without noticing a difference.
Many recipes contain "optional" ingredients, which are often things like nuts that have lots of fat and calories. Remove them! It's the easiest way to make a recipe healthier. You also don't have to put frosting on cakes or cupcakes. Try to remove mayonnaise whenever possible. And for breakfast foods, see if you can do without the syrup.
The next time you bake something that does not require yeast, reduce the amount of sodium by half. It's not an integral part of the recipe. Just don't try that if the recipe does call for yeast, since then the salt prevents the food from ending up dense and flat. And if you really want to indulge in something that you know is bad for you, then reduce the amount you eat by watching your portion sizes.
Experiment with quantities in other recipes too. For instance, you might be able to use fewer eggs (or only use egg whites), or if the recipe contains cheese you may not need as much as the recipe indicates. Soy sauce is another easy ingredient to reduce without altering the flavor.
In many recipes, you can easily replace some of the fat, sugar, and sodium without drastically changing the flavor of the food. Again when baking, try using only half the recommended amount of butter. Replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana. For a low sugar recipe, you can take out one-third to half the sugar, adding in its place spices or flavoring. Cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and almond flavoring all work well.
About our Savvy Advisor: Laura Horwitz
Laura Horwitz has worked as a freelance writer and researcher for nine years in both London and the US, focusing frequently on dieting, exercise, and health advice. Laura is a featured contributor to the "Recipe Makeover" series which serves up recipes with all of the flavor and half of the guilt!