March is National Nutrition Month

Can you count your grandmother’s beloved bread pudding as a healthy recipe? As delicious as it may be with 4 cups of whole milk, one stick of butter and four eggs, you probably wouldn’t find it on a list of healthy recipes.

March is National Nutrition Month, so as we celebrate, think of ways you can take a recipe that you love and tweak it to make it a little healthier. So don’t remove your grandmother’s bread pudding from your recipe box. Just modify that bread pudding with a few simple change-ups, and you’ve got another healthy recipe for your collection. Before plunging ahead with a recipe, look it over and think about what you can change to turn it into a healthy recipe. Make notes of any alterations so that you can refer to them the next time you prepare the recipe. You may have to make the recipe a few times before you get the results you want. But finding the right combination of ingredients for the desired taste, consistency and nutrients is well worth the trouble. Here are five techniques you can use to help create healthy recipes.

  1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt by using the following guidelines:
    For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree. Reduce the amount of sugar by one-third. Instead, add spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavorings. Reduce salt by half or even eliminate it. Some salt may be necessary for leavening when baking to keep baked goods from being too dense or too flat.
  2. Make a healthy substitution such as whole wheat pasta, fat-free milk, or scaling back on the amount of meat, fish, and/ or poultry while increasing the amount of vegetables.
  3. Cut back on some ingredients such as toppings, condiments and cheese.
  4. Change cooking and prep techniques by including more braising, boiling, grilling, poaching, sautéing and steaming. If a recipe requires basting, use a small amount of wine, fruit juice, vegetable juice or fat-free vegetable broth instead. Also, consider using non-stick cookware.
  5. Downsize the portion while slowing down to actually enjoy your food and give your body a chance to register the fact that you’re filling up. Stick to smaller portions by using smaller plates, cups, and spoons. Plan ahead while eating out. Take precautions such as splitting a dish, skipping the bread in the basket, or asking for a doggie bag and packing up half your meal.

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