Easter Healthier Ingredient Substitutions - April 2017
Holidays, Birthdays, Easter fare usually
means rich foods, desserts and beverages, but many substitutions are available
to create healthier versions.
Cream cheese - Substitute
low or fat-free versions or use low-fat cottage cheese (less fat, fewer
calories, and more protein). Puree the cottage cheese using a food
White sugar - a number of alternatives are
available for white sugar.
- Add vanilla, nutmeg, or cinnamon (start with one teaspoon and experiment
with the amount) for cookies, and reduce the sugar by half.
- The Greatist website suggests using 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce for 1 cup
sugar, but reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup. The difference in calories is
significant – one cup of sugar is about 770 calories while one cup of
unsweetened apple sauce is about 100 calories.
- For baking, EatRight Ontario suggests substituting powdered milk for up to ¼
of the granulated sugar in baking recipes For example, if a recipe calls for 1
cup of sugar, use ¾ cup of sugar and ¼ cup powdered milk.
- The artificial sweetener sucralose (Splenda) can be used at the ratio of
one-to-one. With brown sugar Splenda, however, use ½ a cup in lieu of 1 cup of
brown sugar. Note that sucralose is the only artificial sweetener that should be
used for baking. EatRight Ontario notes that Health Canada regulates all
sweeteners that are used and sold in Canada and those available have been deemed
as safe. If you have particular concerns about artificial sweeteners, speak to a
dietitian by contacting 8-1-1 or emailing on the HealthLink BC website.
- Cut back on the sugar you use. EatRight Ontario reports that up to 1/3 of
the sugar in most recipes can be taken out without a noticeable difference. They
caution that you should not eliminate sugar completely, as it is still required
for taste and texture.
icing - Substitute avocado for some of the butter in a chocolate icing
recipe. The creaminess will remain along with added vitamins, minerals and
Sour cream (full-fat) or mayonnaise -
Use the low or fat-free version or low or fat-free plain yogurt or
plain Greek yogurt.
Croutons in salad or granola in yogurt -
Use nuts instead, such as walnuts or almonds, but remember that a small
handful (1/4 cup) is one serving.
Bread crumbs - Use
rolled oats with a little seasoning. They are better nutritionally as they
contain fibre, iron and B vitamins.
Syrup - Use pureed
fruit e.g., apples, as they add fiber while cutting calories and
Whole milk - Use reduced fat or fat-free
Evaporated milk - Use evaporated skim
Cream - Use fat free half-and-half or evaporated
skim milk. When making a soup that asks for cream, use pureed beans or nuts. For
example, for ½ cup high-fat cream use ½ cup pureed cannellini beans and ¼ to ½
cup broth for a thick broth. Another option is to use pureed sweet
Flour (all-purpose) - For baked goods,
substitute whole-wheat flour for half of the required all purpose flour. Note
that whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and is a better choice for cakes and
muffins. The Greatist website says any baking can replace white flour with whole
wheat flour at a ratio of 1 cup whole wheat for 7/8 cup white flour. For flour
in brownies, you can substitute 1 cup pureed black beans for 1 cup of
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil - For baked
goods, substitute half of the amount with unsweetened applesauce or prune puree.
The Greatist website also suggests 1 cup mashed banana for 1 cup oil or butter
in brownies and cookies. To prevent sticking, use cooking spray or nonstick pans
as opposed to greasing pans.
Ice cream - Try frozen
bananas with cocoa powder. Cut the peeled frozen bananas into one inch pieces
and throw into a food processor or blender along with 2 to 3 tablespoons of
unsweetened cocoa powder. Process for a few minutes until
Eggs - Use two egg whites in place of one egg,
or ¼ cup egg substitute for each egg.
Soda water for tonic water
- Soda water contains almost no sugar and can be added to fruit drinks
to decrease the sugar. Another great alternative is plain water, which can be
enhanced by adding a splash of cranberry juice, a slice of lemon, or mint
Chocolate chips - Use coco
Pasta - Use zucchini ribbons (also known as
zoodles) or spaghetti squash. Instead of boiling you can bake or saute these
substitute noodles. A comparison shows you the difference between
pasta and zoodles - one cup of cooked spaghetti has about 220 calories and 43
grams of carbohydrate. while a small zucchini made into zoodles has a mere 20
calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate.
Canned fruit -
Use fruit packed in water rather than sugar syrup.
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