Five clever ideas for healthy recipe substitutions

by sophie on February 5, 2008 · 10 comments

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Delicious magazine had the obligatory healthy eating focus for its January edition, which came a free supplement on 50 ways to lighten up and feel great. These things can be a bit formulaic don’t you think? Swop your cheddar for stronger tasting parmesan so that you don’t need to use as much, that kind of thing. But this supplement contained more than a handful of fresh ideas on how to maintain a healthy body weight, many of which were about how to tweaking your favourites to make them a little healthier. The supplement was written by registered dietitian Juliette Kellow who knows her nutrition but has also been editor of Slimming magazine. For those of you who can’t get hold of magazine, here are a few of the best tips:

Keep roast meat juicy
Roasting meat on a rack is an excellent way to lose much of fat but is prone to leaving the meat a little dry. You can keep your meat moist but still lose the fat (and extra calories) by basting periodically with vegetable stock or wine.

Substitute the mayo
Substitute mayonnaise with a mix of two tablespoons of low fat natural yogurt and a teaspoon of Dijon mustard (I wouldn’t have gone for this idea a couple of years ago but low fat yogurt is not the sad, watery thing that it once was).

Reduce sugar by adding flavour
Use less sugar than stated in recipes (up to 25 percent less will still work safely in most cases) but add a hint of cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla or allspice for the illusion of sweetness.

Thicken sauces without adding fat
Swop the usual culprits used to thicken sauces, such as a butter roux or double cream, using instead a puree of a mild flavoured vegetable such as carrot or cauliflower (the trick to making this one work for you would be in having small amounts stashed away in the freezer for when you need them).

Convert your favourite cake recipe to low fat
Substituting some of the fat used in baking recipes for fruit puree is a tried and tested idea but the key to modifying recipes yourself is in getting the quantities right. Replace the stated quantity of fat in the recipe with the equivalent amount of fruit puree AND a third of the amount of fat. Delicious and Juliette suggest cooked apples, mashed banana or prune puree, to which I add mashed pumpkin/squash which adds a mellow, sweet note.


Wendy February 5, 2008 at 21:08

My best friend bought me a year’s subscription to Delicious for Christmas. How well does she know me? :)
This was the first issue I got from it and I almost threw the supplement away because I thought it’d be so very obvious, but there were quite a few nice ideas in there.

Wendy February 5, 2008 at 21:10

PS What are your thoughts on “Jamie At Home”? Notice you are reading it and I haven’t bought it yet. Love all his other books.

zoe February 6, 2008 at 00:33

interesting. I wonder if the Oz delicious will do a similar thing.. I imagine there must be a bit of copy sharing btw the UK and Oz editions.. just delurking b/c I have tagged you for a meme, no pressure tho! :)

andreea February 6, 2008 at 16:56

have been reading the very same copy recently. some good tips and freh, new ideas :)

Sophie February 6, 2008 at 17:16

What a nice friend you have Wendy! There are a few good recipes tucked away in the supplement I thought – that salad with the avocado dressing look particularly nice.
Jamie at Home is a lovely book – a friend who knows me well bought it me for Christmas. That said, I haven’t made much from it yet because the recipes are arranged by season and many of the Winter recipes are pudding/meat focused which is not how I’ve been eating recently. Nik is doing a duathlon at the weekend so I’m going to make him something nice from the book for afterwards. I reckon if you like Jamie’s books normally then this one is definitely worth having. I love it for the photography/styling which is all beautiful and rustic like on the TV programme. There are also has some good tips in it if you are into growing your own veg.
Hi Zoe – I wondered if the UK and Oz versions share recipes too! There are some aussie contributors in this issue (Bill Granger and Jill Dupleix) and I imagine the mix of Australian and English works well for both audiences. It’s a shame our seasons are completely opposite otherwise we would have been able to compare notes!
Hello Andreaa, it’s lovely to hear from you back from your holiday. I hope you had a wonderful time in Brazil!

Deb February 8, 2008 at 23:14

Great suggestions! Sounds like a good magazine. I will have to see if it available here in the States. I have been watching Jamie’s new show on the Food Network here, and in fact made one of his dishes a couple of weeks ago. Very good! I like his show as the setting is pretty neat and the recipes are down to earth with no fancy ingredients. I can even manage them! I have not bought his book yet, but want to check out next time I am at the bookstore!

kate February 10, 2008 at 11:17

hey i got me one of these copies , but i must admit , i haven’t made anything from it ! Have you ?

Antonia February 11, 2008 at 21:07

Thank you for sharing these great tips – I usually get cross with the New Year magazine supplements on healthy eating but these tips are actually useful and inventive!

maninas February 12, 2008 at 18:08

Thanks for sharing these!
When we’re on the subject of Jamie, I’ve been watching the show, too, and I love it! I’ve tried a few things, too, and they turned out well. He is a good teacher. The only thing that’s a bit of a minus, is that he looks so tense, and also serious, that it’s not quite in accordance with the setting and the idea of the programme.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD MAGAZINE? I’m very curious to see what you think!
Cheers! :)

Sophie February 12, 2008 at 20:25

Hi Deb – I really like Jamie’s new show too. I love the way they managed to make all of the dishes look so beautiful but rustic – it looks low key but I imagine it all took some food stylist aaaages!
Kate – I’m impressed that you managed to get hold of a copy! I must admit I haven’t made any of the recipes, it was more the tips that grabbed my attention. I think I’ll try the avocado salad sometime though (and maybe the chicken with tarragon)
Hi Antonia – glad you liked them. I wouldn’t normally pass these kinds of tips on (they’re usually a bit dull) but these definitely seemed a bit different
Maninas – funnily I just answered your comment on the UK food bloggers blog thingummy before I read this! You’ll see what I wrote over there but in brief I like Delicious and BBC good food Mag best (Sainsburys Magazine often has nice recipes too!)

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