Simple substitutions for healthier recipes

Are your traditional holiday recipes loaded with calories from fat?  Consider simple modifications to create healthier versions of your favorite recipes.

At nine calories per gram, fat provides more than twice as many calories as carbohydrate or protein.  Consuming more calories than you expend leads to weight gain.  Excess weight gain increases your risk of developing heart disease and adult onset diabetes.  Whether your goal is to lose weight or reduce your risk of disease, you will benefit from limiting your total fat intake.

Saturated fat and trans fat have been shown to raise blood cholesterol, increasing ones risk of heart disease and stroke.  So, avoid saturated fats, found in animal products such as butter, cheese, milk, cream, and meat, and some vegetable oils, such as coconut and palm.  And, avoid trans fats, also known as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, found in margarine, vegetable shortening, and packaged foods. 

Following are twelve simple ways to reduce the fat in your traditional holiday recipes:

1.       When baking, replace butter or oil with an equal amount of applesauce or ripe, mashed bananas.
2.       When sautéing or stir-frying, replace the oil with salsa, wine, or low-sodium teriyaki sauce mixed with natural pineapple juice.
3.       When making salad dressing, use balsamic vinegar, wine, apple juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice, instead of oil.
4.       Replace mayonnaise with plain, nonfat yogurt.
5.       Use skim milk instead of whole milk.
6.       Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk.
7.       To thicken soups, use pureed potatoes, carrots, or tofu instead of cream.           
8.       Instead of serving a high fat mayonnaise-based dip with your crudité, serve a garbanzo bean-based hummus or an eggplant-based baba ganoush.
9.       If you must use cheese, use half as much as the recipe calls for.
10.   Instead of adding meat to soup, stew, or chili, substitute black, pinto, and/or kidney beans. 
11.   Instead of using pre-made pie crust, make your own by mixing 1 cup of grape nuts cereal with ¼ cup of apple juice concentrate.
12.   Use nonstick cookware and bakeware, which require no greasing with butter or oil.