Applesauce for Sugar in baking
Applesauce is a healthy baker’s best friend. Not only does it add sweetness to recipes, but it does so with significantly fewer calories than sugar. And without butter, you’re cutting the saturated-fat content of baked goods like muffins, breads and brownies. Not to mention the added dietary benefits of apples’ fiber.
Non fat Greek Yogurt for Mayo or Sour Cream
Nonfat Greek yogurt has far fewer calories and fat than mayonnaise or sour cream, but its consistency is quite similar. Next time a recipe calls for either of those fattening ingredients, try using the yogurt instead. You may want to play around with spices and seasonings, but by making the swap, you can cut the fat while adding an extra punch of protein.
Mashed Avocado for butter or oil in baking
Not all fats are bad for your body: the fats found in avocados can actually do you some good. Like olive oil and nuts, avocados are high in monounsaturated “good” fats, which help you maintain healthy cholesterol levels and stave off heart problems. In contrast, solid fats like butter are high in saturated fats, which raise your cholesterol levels and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Mashed Banana for Sugar, Butter and Fats
Sliced bananas are a tasty addition to cereals and oatmeal, but you can give them an even bigger role in the kitchen as a sugar, butter and fat substitute in baking. Bananas are high in potassium, which helps lower blood pressure, and they also help keep your digestive system in check.
Just remember, if you’re using mashed bananas as a sugar substitute, cut down on the moisture in your recipe by using less milk or water. That way, your baked goods will come out with the right texture and firmness.
Rolled Oats for Bread Crumbs
Craving breaded chicken? Instead of using salt-laden bread crumbs, opt for rolled oats with a little seasoning. Oats are high in fiber and healthy carbohydrates, and like all whole grains, they’re packed with nutrients like B vitamins, iron and fiber.
Zucchini Ribbons or Spaghetti Squash for Pasta
Use a vegetable peeler or a mandoline to make long, thin noodle-like slices of zucchini or spaghetti squash. Skip the boiling and simply bake or sauté the “noodles” for a few minutes. You can use the veggies in side dishes or to replace high-carb pasta in dishes like lasagna. It’s an easy way to cut the calories in your favorite pasta meals and sneak more vegetables into your dinner.
Purees Potato for Cream to Thicken Soup
Fall is soup season, and there are plenty of ways to pack more nutrients into your favorite varieties. Instead of bulking up your soups with cream, for example, add pureed sweet potato instead. Not only are you getting less fat, but the potassium in sweet potatoes will help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke. Talk about a win-win.
Also, if you’re buying ready-made soup from the store, it’s a good idea to check the sodium level — always choose low-sodium varieties.