Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Healthy Cooking Swaps

Tips to make any recipe healthier.

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Sliced apples and a bowl of apple sauce.As a dietitian and food enthusiast, one of my favorite things to do is cook and bake. To me, there’s nothing better than finding a unique recipe and creating it from scratch. Often times I have trouble deciding on a recipe; there are so many delicious options, but many of them are very high in fat and calories. But if I find a recipe I’m dying to try, I don’t let the ingredients deter me from making it—I simply choose a healthy cooking style and shake up the ingredients to make it more nutritious!

When choosing a recipe, one of the first things I look at is the cooking method. To ensure a healthier way of cooking choose recipes that avoid frying and sautéing and use these methods instead:

  • roasting
  • baking
  • steaming
  • searing
  • grilling
  • broiling
  • poaching

These methods use less oil, which means less calories and fat.

Another trick is to change up some of the ingredients and swap them for healthier choices. These subs are simple and quick, and still provide great flavor and taste to your meals:

  • Use egg substitutes or egg whites instead of regular eggs. Or use 1 tbsp of ground flax seed mixed with 3 tbsp of water!
  • Use skim or low fat milk and dairy products over full fat.
  • Choose low sodium products soups, broth and canned foods.
  • Choose leaner cuts of meat.
  • Use cooking spray instead of regular butter and oils.
  • Use applesauce in place of butter when baking.
  • Choose whole-wheat flour instead of white.
  • Use reduced fat cottage cheese in place of cream cheese.
  • Try low fat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or mayonnaise.
  • Replace heavy cream with light coconut milk.

If you’re desperate for an ingredient to be included in your recipe, you don’t always have to cut it out completely, just use less! Try using less salt, and less high fat products to dishes, or combine them with low salt and low fat foods to balance it out.

Your meals should be fun to make, delicious to eat and healthy for you and your family! All it takes are small changes and swaps to your recipes for great flavor without the fat and calories.  Happy cooking!

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Healthy Fats

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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