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Healthy Eating – A Balance, and Substitutions

Homepage Forums Health and Fitness Healthy Eating – A Balance, and Substitutions

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    Jamie Powers

      I have a wife who is a horrible eater. A picky, fat-and-sugar-loving eater. I suppose if her physical appearance mirrored her horrible eating habits, she might do something about it. But as most women go, a legitimate health scare is what is needed for her to change her eating habits. So anything that is prepared and eaten in this house is HEALTHY – but still yummy.

      I have a two year old daughter, so I don’t go to extremes. I believe the holidays are an appropriate time for those sinfully buttery mashed potatoes, frosted cookies, and candy galore. I think that it is fine to have reasonable treats around the house, as long as you limit consumption.

      For everyday, however, I make sure the house is full of healthy items for snacking, and I love the challenge of adjusting comfort food recipes to make them healthier. I am proud to say that I have made these adjustments to my husband’s approval (without his knowing, of course).

      Below are a few very simple substitutions that can be used to make those favorite kid (and husband) friendly recipes:

      Mashed Potatoes – boil in chicken broth and reserve some for when you mash. Skim milk, a pat of butter – and they are delicious. I also whip them to death with my mixer – no lumps!

      Heavy Cream – substitute fat free evaporated milk, equal parts

      Cheese – low fat, 2 or 1 % or part skim. Fat free is gross and the amount of fat you save is trivial.

      Olive oil, canola oil for browning. Enough to coat the pan to prevent sticking will be sufficient.

      Apple sauce – substitute for oil in baking

      Egg whites vs whole eggs

      Honey or Agave Syrup (natural sweeteners instead of sugar – there are guides on how to adjust wet ingredients to accommodate this substitution)

      Sour cream – non fat Greek yogurt. I would recommend this mostly in recipes (dips, casseroles) rather than a straight substitute. If I’m having nachos, I want sour cream!

      Lean meat – I use the leanest red meat I can find – Laura’s Lean 97%. Otherwise, white meat pork, chicken, turkey. I often substitute ground turkey for ground beef. I do allow a bit more fat in the ground turkey (90 or 92% lean) because it does need it for flavor and texture. But if you are going for a burger – go for the fat. I will allow myself 85% lean because otherwise they are just dry and gross!!

      Bread – whole wheat, light bread for sandwiches and the like; oatmeal as a substitution in recipes like meatloaf or meatballs.

      Potato Chips – Pop Chips

      Popcorn – just don’t load on the butter, salt and other crazy toppings. A little can go a long way for flavor

      Smoothies – fat free greek yogurt, fruit, a bit of honey, if you use juice V-8 Fusion, and ice. My daughter LOVES these.

      I’ll end here since now I am getting into snacks and recipes more than methods to alter existing recipes to make them healthier.

      If you are interested in adjusting your diet for health, without foregoing the tasty – look for ways to substitute healthy ingredients in your favorite recipes. And have that slice of cake if you want to. It doesn’t all have to be 6 oz of steamed fish and load of steamed vegetables at every meal. How boring and unfulfilling would that be? Torture!

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