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a post by

Kara Glasco, MS, RCEP, HFS

I am very excited to start a series of nutrition articles since food has always had a special place in my heart.  There is no other way to say it, but this girl LOVES TO EAT!  One of my favorite mottos is “workout hard so you can eat hard.”  Not something you might expect to hear from a personal trainer right?

I am very excited to start a series of nutrition articles since food has always had a special place in my heart.  There is no other way to say it, but this girl LOVES TO EAT!  One of my favorite mottos is “workout hard so you can eat hard.”  Not something you might expect to hear from a personal trainer right?

I love all the junky food just like the rest of you, but with my line of work I have had to find ways to punch up the health factor.  One of my favorite things to do is rework a recipe to a healthier version.  Ever eaten out at a restaurant and the food just settles in your stomach like a bomb?  That is because the dish is loaded with unnecessary calories, fat, and sodium.  Avoid the belly ache and follow my simple rules for healthy food swaps below.

Better with Butter?

One of my favorite baking substitutions is swapping melted butter or oil for a healthier alternative.  Unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana, low-fat yogurt, or mashed avocado can be used in place of melted butter or oil.  Low-fat yogurt can give a creamy and tender texture to baking.  You may need to adjust the sweetness of the recipe to accommodate for the bitterness of yogurt.  I would also recommend thinning greek yogurt with milk or water so the batter isn’t too dense.

 

I’ve also seen black beans substituted for butter in recipes as well.  A good friend of mine makes the best brownies and the secret ingredient is black beans!  Black beans greatly increase the protein and fiber content while drastically cutting the fat.  I would recommend starting with half butter/oil and half substitution to see how the recipe will turn out.  Why not cut some calories, increase the protein and make a healthier recipe?

Experiment with Flour

I’m sure we’ve all heard about the paleo diet or going gluten free.  There are many healthy benefits of cutting out refined carbohydrates and reducing your gluten intake.  Traditional gluten free products were made with unhealthy flours such as corn flour, rice flour and potato starch.  There are a whole host of extremely healthy flours on the market now that will cut the gluten and increase the nutritional value of your recipes.  Some flours to investigate are coconut flour, almond flour, or quinoa flour just to name a few.  One major tip when baking with alternative flours is to replace only a portion of the white flour with an alternative flour.  Nut flours, such as almond flour, will not rise the same as a gluten based flours so additional leavening agents may be needed.  When in doubt research paleo recipes or gluten free blogs online.

More Healthy Swaps

There are a few other substitutions I love to use when trying to cut the calories.  I often replace evaporated milk for heavy cream or half and half.  Secondly, I always swap low-fat cottage cheese for ricotta cheese.  I love the added protein that cottage cheese provides to italian dishes such as manicotti or lasagna.

My final substitution is mashed cauliflower for potatoes. Try using potatoes 50% potatoes and 50% cauliflower to drastically cut down the carb content and give “mashed potatoes” a light and airy texture.  Trust me, you won't be able to tell the difference!

I hope these food swaps will inspire you to recreate some of your favorite recipes in a lighter and healthier version.

Bon Apetit!  Check back for more healthy eating tips from Kara.

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