5 Ways to Create Healthy Recipes

Try these tips to reduce the fat, calories and salt in your favorite recipes.

By Mayo Clinic Staff *THIS HAS BEEN MODIFIED from original article. Please go to the link for the original article by Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-recipes/art-20047004

Looking for some ways to help you in the kitchen this season? Here are some suggestions on how to improve your ingredients, cooking styles, and substitute out some non-nutritious ingredients for some beneficial ingredients. This is not intended to be medical advice, and these are just suggestions for the general population.

1. Reduce the amount of  bad fat, sugar and salt  

  • Fat. For baked goods, use half the butter, ghee or oil and replace the other half with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree.
  • Sugar. Is best to avoid, try coconut sugar instead or use dates as a natural sweetener. Try adding spices such as cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg to boost sweetness.
  • Salt. For most main dishes, salads, soups and other foods, you can reduce the salt by half or even eliminate it. You can reduce salt by half in baked goods that don’t require yeast too. For foods that require yeast, you may need to experiment. Some salt may be necessary for leavening to keep baked goods from being too dense or flat.

2. Make a healthy substitution  

  • Pasta. Use spaghetti squash or “zoodles” zucchini noodles instead of prepackaged, boxed pasta.
  • Milk. Prepare a dessert with almond milk or coconut milk to enhance your nutrition and fight inflammation rather than traditional cow milk.
  • Meat. When making casseroles, remember ¾  of your plate should be vegetables and ¼ of your plate should be protein. Buying organic, free range meats and vegetables will help to reduce your exposure to pesticides and herbicides.

3. Eliminate or cut back on some ingredients

  • Toppings. Eliminate items you generally add out of habit or for appearance, such as frosting, coconut or whipped cream toppings, which are all high in fat and calories.
  • Condiments. Cut condiments, such as pickles, olives, mayonnaise, syrup, jelly and mustard, which can have large amounts of salt, sugar, bad fat and calories. Use fresh condiments such as cucumbers vs pickles, cherry tomatoes vs olives, ghee or butter vs spreads or mayonnaise. Instead of syrup or jelly, try fresh berries that are mashed, or thin slices of fresh apples, peaches or pears. Try using liquid aminos instead of soy sauce.
  • Cheese. Work towards skipping it all together or try reducing the recommended amount by ¾. Ex. A recipe calls for 1 cup- reduce the cheese down to ¼ to start out with and eventually work down to no cheese at all over a 3-4 day span.

4. Change cooking and prep techniques 

  • Cooking method. Healthy cooking techniques include braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sautéing, air frying and steaming.
  • Cookware. Using cast iron pans will reduce the amount of processed nonstick spray you use, cooking in glass with ghee, butter, coconut oil, or olive oil can help you avoid harsh chemicals that are lined on “nonstick” cookware. Try an air fryer- these need no oil for cooking your dishes.

5. Downsize the portion size 

  • Slow down. Eat your meals more slowly to give your body a chance to register the fact that you’re filling up. Put your fork down between bites if necessary. You’ll eat less in the long run.
  • Check portion sizes. Many portions today are oversized. Train yourself by using smaller plates, spoons and cups. Remember that ¾ of your plate should be veggies and ¼ should be protein- and you can have around 2 tbsp. of carbs at each meal.
  • Plan ahead when eating out. It’s easy to go overboard when eating out. Take precautions such as splitting a dish with a dining companion, skipping the bread basket, or asking for a doggie bag and packing up half your meal. Go for low carbohydrate dishes, avoid rice, pasta, grains, sauces, potatoes and if possible go for a place that offers organic vegetables and protein sources.


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