09.02 What to substitute during home cooking?

by smart 19. May 2011 12:26

There are a few ways you can make lower-calorie food for yourself at home: 

Begin by preparing healthier foods & trying new healthy recipes. 

  • Make most of your meals plant-based, so that meat, cheese, & other high-calorie foods are more like accent flavors, rather than the main event.
  • Use fresh herbs, fragrant spices, and salsas to increase the flavor in your meals.
  • Prepare whole grains instead of refined ones – try whole wheat pasta, brown rice, & whole oats, as well as more exotic grains like bulgur, millet, and quinoa. (Hint: check out the bulk bins at Whole Foods Market or Henry’s Market for some of these exotic grains and you will save money too.)
  • Try out a new salad or low-fat soup recipe every week, so that you don’t get bored of healthy eating.  (We’ll help you out with a couple of low-fat soup and salad recipes that you can try.)
  • Prepare desserts that are primarily fresh fruit, then add small dollops of Cool Whip, low-fat pudding, low-fat chocolate sauce, or chunks of angel food cake.

Alter the recipes for your favorite dishes, and start using healthier cooking techniques, so that foods you love will be healthier.

  • Use non-stick cooking spray instead of oil or butter to coat pans before cooking.
  • Trim all visible fat from meat and poultry.
  • Use ground chicken or turkey breast in place of ground beef in recipes.
  • Drain fat from cooked meats before using the meat in a recipe.
  • Skim the fat off the top of soups and sauces (you may need to wait until the mixture cools a bit before the fat comes to the top).
  • Use low-fat or nonfat dairy products in place of full-fat ones.
  • Roast or bake potatoes and vegetables instead of deep-frying or pan-frying them.  (Roasting is like baking at a high temperature – 425-475 degrees – until vegetables are soft and caramelized).
  • When baking, replace some of the butter/oil with applesauce, low-fat plain yogurt, or low-fat buttermilk. 
  • Replace full-fat cheeses with reduced-fat cheese or part-skim mozzarella.  Or, use a very small amount of a potent cheese like extra-sharp cheddar or Parmesan, so that you get a lot of flavor with less cheese.
  • Substitute evaporated skim milk for heavy cream and half & half – you can even use it for lower-fat whipped cream.
  • Replace some of the oil in salad dressings with white wine, vegetable broth, tomato juice, or even water.
  • Increase the number of veggies in a recipe and reduce the amount of meat and/or pasta.
  • Use egg whites instead of whole eggs, at breakfast and in recipes. Or if you are going to be using 4 eggs for omelets, use 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites. By doing this you still get some of the creaminess and fat in the yolk for your omelet, but just half of it
  • Use pureed beans, potatoes, or sweet potatoes as thickeners for soups and sauces, instead of flour, butter, or cream.

Swap out some unhealthy staple foods in your house for healthier ones.

  • Instead of chips or crackers, snack on veggies with low-fat dip.  Keep fresh cut-up veggies in clear containers at eye level in the fridge or zip lock baggies for on-the-go munchies, so that they’re available when hunger strikes.
  • Rid your fridge of high calorie condiments like mayonnaise, full-fat dressings, and creamy dips.  Replace these with a variety of mustards, low-calorie salad dressings, light mayo, salsas, and nonfat plain yogurt.
  • Buy light butter or margarine instead of full-fat spreads – try Land-O-Lakes Light Whipped Butter, or Smart Balance Light.
  • Replace regular cheese with light string cheese, part-skim mozzarella, and reduced-fat cheddar, Monterey Jack or Swiss.
  • Start buying skim milk instead of whole.  If you’re not accustomed to the taste of skim, start drinking 2% for 2 weeks, and then move on to 1% milk, so that you get used to it slowly.
  • Keep lean deli meats, canned tuna, and canned beans on-hand for quick sources of lean protein. These can replace higher-fat meats and cheeses in sandwiches, salads & wraps.  
  • Replace the full-fat ice cream in your freezer and with nonfat frozen yogurt, light ice cream, or low-fat popsicles. 

Remember: when you’re at home, you won’t eat what’s not in your house!  Replacing the high calorie foods in your home with low calorie ones will make it much easier for you to eat fewer calories.


Cycle 01 | Week 09