The biggest cooking holiday of the year is just around the corner! My mother will spend all day in the kitchen preparing a decadent feast- usually two large turkeys, three types of mashed potatoes, yams, cranberry sauce, ambrosia, dip….oh yea, our house is always the place to be. This being my first time living away from my home in Hawaii, I will be attempting to cook a much smaller (but hopefully almost as delicious) Thanksgiving meal. This year, whether you’re preparing an entire feast, a mini feast, or just bringing a side dish to dinner, I challenge you to think outside the box with some of the traditional ways of cooking and try substituting healthier ingredients. There are a bunch of ways to substitute ingredients that are better for you and don’t sacrifice flavor.
Here are some of my favorite healthy ingredient substitutes:
Applesauce: substitute unsweetened applesauce in place of oil or butter. Measurements are equal- if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup butter, use 1/2 cup of applesauce*. Reducing oil and butter will decrease the calories and lower your cholesterol.
Greek yogurt: I love that I learned about this substitute. Not only can you use it in some of your baking recipes, but it’s AMAZING as a replacement for sour cream. It tastes EXACTLY the same!! I swear! I put greek yogurt on tacos and in soups. Cut the fat by a ton and increase your protein intake.
Stevia extract: available in liquid and powder form, Stevia is a zero-calorie natural sweetener made from a plant. Use as a substitute for sugar in your baking or your morning coffee. What’s most interesting to me is the controversy this little leaf has caused all over the world. Large sugar industries, particularly in the US, have had a lot of influence on the perception of Stevia. As with everything you eat, do your own research and keep asking questions.
Coconut oil: substitute coconut oil in place of butter or oil. Although the nutrition facts don’t make coconut oil seem healthier than butter, the health benefits of coconut oil are plentiful. Containing a different type of saturated fat than butter, coconut oil can improve cholesterol levels and positively affect our hormones.
*substituting some of these ingredients may need further alterations depending on your recipe (like more baking soda or more soy milk)
There are many more substitutions out there. Try searching for “healthy substitutes for…” to get more ideas.
Here’s a (beautifully handwritten 😛 ) recipe of mine that uses some of these substitutions. Healthy, and of course, so delicious.
Today, I also added 1/8 tsp of ground nutmeg. It was amazing.
“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” – John F. Kennedy
By Tia Jay