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Healthier Ways to Follow a Recipe

Smart Substitution: Baking Ingredients
  -- By Liz Noelcke, Staff Writer

It’s dinner time again and all of your tried and true recipes your family loves call for cups of oil, sticks of butter, and several ounces of whole milk. But you have the solution – smart substitutions.

Cookware
For starters, invest in a good set of non-stick pans and skillets. These alone will help cut down the amount of oil you use to cook. Most of the time, you won’t even need to coat the pan with oil to achieve perfectly good food items. Another substitution is to avoid frying. Methods such as baking and broiling will greatly diminish, if not eliminate, the amount of oil or butter you need.

Eliminate the Oil
A lot of recipes call for an unnecessary amount of butter and oil, so just cut back. When cooking up some vegetable or meat, and the recipe demands oil, try instead some vegetable broth, or even some wine. If you absolutely need oil, use olive oil, a healthier alternative than vegetable oils. Read more about olive oil.

Egg-cellent
Eggs are bursting not just with protein, but with vitamin D and other minerals as well. However, they are also full of cholesterol. More specifically, the yolk is full of cholesterol. An easy way around this pitfall, especially for those concerned about high levels of cholesterol, is to toss the yolk. If a recipe calls for 2 eggs, keep the yolk of one and pitch the other. This alone will cut your cholesterol in half.

From the cow
Dairy products are also ingredients that can be easily substituted. Instead of regular sour cream, try a low fat version. Another option is yogurt. If you feel the flavor isn’t quite right that way, combine the two. You’ll hardly notice a difference.

Before you pour in the cup of whole milk, take just a second. You’ll be reducing the fat by simply using a low or non-fat version instead. (Hint: you can do this all of the time, not just when baking!)

Cheeses are a little bit trickier. Sample some low fat versions, but depending on the type of cheese that you are using, it might not melt as well as the full fat variety. Different cheeses behave differently when you cut out the fat. Some work and some do not.

Ditch the meat
Substitute vegetables for meat. If a recipe calls for 2 pounds of chicken, reduce this to 1.5 pounds and add in some extra veggies. Chances are that nobody will even notice a difference in the meal. In the end, be creative! Don’t be scared to try out new things in the kitchen, even if it might take a few attempts to get it right.