"Simply De-lite-Ful" Healthy Substitutions

 

By looking at our petitie and vibrant guest Alice Bolen, you'd never guess that she once had dangerously high cholesterol.  As she changed her diet, she discovered easy ways to keep the flaver in her food while getting rid of the fat.  She turned her work into a cookbook called "Simply De-lite-Ful: A Healthy Approach to Fabulous Flavor."

Alice stopped by our studios today to share her favorite tasty and healthy substitutions.  Here is her list:

Butter substitutes:

  • For baking, regular (not light) Smart Balance.  It is most easily available in this form.  I find that while there are several that have good taste as a spread, they are hard to find in anything but the light version.  These have water whipped into them and don't do well in baking.
  • Just for spreading on bread or to top vegetables, etc. I also like Benecol and Promise.  When I can find them in the regular version, I also buy and use them for baking.

Egg Substitute: 

  •  We like Best of Egg by Lucerne and Reddi Egg by Nulaid.  These are the only two that I have found that don't have onion powder as an ingredient. 
  • The others like --  Egg Beaters -- are alright if you're doing a savory dish, but in a dessert like pudding, flan, custard and even vanilla cakes or cookies, I pick up an off taste that I don't get with the products that don't contain the onion powder.

Yogurt: 

  • I like most of the nonfat yogurts, however Greek Yogurt is a heavier consistency which makes is a wonderful substitute when you're trying to replace mayonnaise or full fat yogurt in spreads, dips, sauces and dressings. 
  • Among Greek yogurts, the Fage brand is head and shoulders above most other brands, as least to my taste.  This holds true for use as a substitute ingredient in recipes, as well as for a breakfast or snack food with a little granola, honey and fruit on top.  YUM!

Sour Cream: 

  • I don't have a favorite brand.  It is just a good and easily obtainable substitute for sauces, toppings, dips, etc.

Sugar substitutes: 

  • Splenda has the best taste quality that I have found.  I hear a lot about Stevia, but I personally don't care for the taste.  I think any artificial sweetener leaves a lot to be desired, but Splenda makes a Blenda that is part sugar, part Splenda that is much more acceptable for those who want to limit sugar intake.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: 

  • Several companies make a non fat Sweetened Condensed milk.  I find them unbelievably good.  I really can hardly tell the difference and they perform exactly the same in recipes as the regular, full fat version.  I use this all the time.

Evaporated Milk: 

  • The nonfat version of evaporated is readily available and is a great substitute for regular evaporated  milk or half & half in soups, custards, puddings, etc.

Almond Milk: 

  • I have just recently discovered this item.  It is only 60 calories per serving in the unflavored version, compared with 90 calories per serving for nonfat milk.  If youchoose the lightly sweetened vanilla flavor, it is 90 calories, the same as regular nonfat milk and is delicious.  It is free of cholesterol, saturated fat,lactose and gluten. There is a little fat content, but it is only the healthy fat from the almondsIt can be used in recipes in place of milk and really tastes creamy over breakfast cereal or in a steamer.

Smart Balance Light and Healthy Popcorn: 

  • This is just for good old snackin' !  It is a microwave popcorn, which is so convenient and fuss free, and is a good, healthy alternative to the buttery microwave popcorns that most people eat.

Whipped Topping: 

  • Again, there are several brands to choose from, but even though it is often a little more expensive, I prefer Cool Whip Free.  I find this to be just as good as any of the regular frozen whipped toppings.  Again, I use a lot of this product as a topping like I would use whipped cream, and also to fold into pudding like desserts for a fluffier consistency.

Peanut Butter: 

  • Look for brands that contain only peanuts and a little salt.  Best of all is when I go to a store where I can grind my own and can control the amount of salt I put in it myself.

Cheese: 

  • The best nonfat cheese I have found is President brand Feta cheese.  It so good, and the only brand I've found that has good texture, appearance and taste.
  • Other nonfat cheeses fall very short.  2% varieties can be okay, but I can't eat them, so I haven't investigated them much.  For those less restricted than I am, these do work quite well in recipes, while nonfat cheddar types cheese don't even begin to melt and are low in flavor.

Oils: 

  • I use canola and olive oils and always cut the quantities even of these when called for in a recipe. 

You'll find more information about the cookbook on our books page.

To read the "Simply De-lite-Ful" blog, click here.

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