How To Do Healthy Cooking Hacks
What’s a healthy cooking hack? It’s taking your favourite recipes and turning them into a healthier version by swapping out unhealthy ingredients to healthier food substitutions.
I’ve included a recipe makeover as an example in this post so you can see step by step instruction on how to do food hack. I follow a sugar free diet, so I’ve removed all the sugar and lowered the fat and calorie count from the original recipe. If you follow these simple steps you’ll see how easy it is to take great recipes and hack them by making simple food swaps. Once you know how to do healthy cooking hacks, you truly can have all your favourite meals and stay healthy.
Why Do Healthy Makeovers On Recipes?
As a nutritionist I believe the best diet is one which is based on unprocessed whole foods. Healthy eating is the cornerstone of good health. Everything we put into our body has an effect on our health, so being aware of good food choices is a great place to start a healthy eating journey.
Your healthy eating plan can be very tasty once you learn some cooking tricks to enhance flavour. Cooking healthy meals doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on delicious snack foods or even party foods. You can still have desserts and treats when you know which foods to substitute in healthy recipes. Actually when you replace high sugar, high fat ingredients with more healthy options, you’ll notice your healthier meals will be even tastier! This is because mother nature has given us everything we need to create delicious foods without the chemicals!
No matter what type of healthy eating plan you’re following, nothing is off limits once you get creative with new ingredients to make healthy food swaps. Sometimes a food substitution might be as simple as choosing a low fat or low sugar ingredient for your favourite recipe. If you’d like Healthy Recipes see this collection.
If you’re eating healthy for weight loss see ten low carb diet tips for weight loss.
The following food swaps will help you start cooking with lower sugar and lower fat ingredients, while also increasing fibre and protein with healthier ingredients. These simple swaps make doing a recipe makeover easy!
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Healthy Recipe Makeover Food Swaps
- Swap high fat dairy foods for low fat variety
- Swap cows milk for almond milk
- Replace grains with vegetables
- Replace flour with nut meals/nut flours
- Substitute sugar for fruit or natural sweetener (eg. Swerve, natvia or stevia)
- Replace seed oils for olive or coconut oil
- Swap margarine for butter
- Substitute high sodium stock powder for reduced sodium stock.
- Cook with nonstick or silicone bakeware
Benefits Of Healthy Food Substitutions
You can eat more food, food you really love, and still maintain healthy a weight easily. If you’re losing weight, the pounds will fall off even faster. See how to get motivated to lose weight here. You’ll have a diet higher in fibre which helps to flatten your belly and keep your gut healthy. Your nutrition status will be improved with the extra vitamins and mineral found in healthier foods. You’ll have more energy to play with your kids or go out and have fun. You won’t feel tired and bloated due to insulin spikes. You’ll have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels! You’ll even have less inflammation due to less sugar in your diet. This will keep your joints healthy as you age.
Step By Step Instructions For A Recipe Makeover
Step One: Find A Great Recipe.
Find a recipe that you know you’ll love. No matter what you’re healthy eating plan is, you must love your food!
I’m going to use a recipe called Caramel Apple Dipfrom dinneratthezoo.com I love the look of this recipe, she’s done such a fantastic job!
I’d like to make a sugar free variation and reduce the calories per serving. Because this recipe calls for caramel (yum!) I’ll also use a recipe from alldayidreamaboutfood.com called The Best Low Carb Caramel Sauce. This recipe is already a low carb version of caramel, but I’d like to reduce the calories so I can eat more food! It is the best low carb caramel, she’s right. You’ll notice I’m only making simple adjustments to create a new recipe.
If you wanted to do a complete cooking hack, you could use this Sweet Keto Pie Crust from ketodietapp.com to make a cheesecake base and turn this recipe into a pie.
Step Two: Examine The Recipe for Easy Cooking Hacks
Look at the ingredients in the recipe too see which of those ingredients you can swap out without changing the taste or texture of the recipe too much.
This is important, you don’t want to change the texture because it plays a huge role in the way we experience our food! The best way to make a recipe healthier is to remove the fat and sugar. See The Recipe Makeover Here.
Why Remove The Fat:
When you remove the fat (or at least some of the fat) you’ll automatically remove some of the unwanted calories and cholesterol. When you take away calories, you can eat more without worrying about weight management! This is especially important as we age because our metabolic rate naturally slows.
Why Remove The Sugar:
Removing sugar from a recipe is so your body doesn’t have a large blood sugar spike and therefore an insulin spike. When insulin spikes from increased blood sugars, your body receives a signal to store fat and sugar. Insulin spikes come from carbohydrates, and especially from simple sugars. Too much insulin over a long period of time can cause insulin resistance and type two diabetes. Simple sugars also leave most people feeling tired or lethargic! This is not a healthy way to live.
Step Three: Find Ingredient Substitutions
This is where the fun begins! Once you’ve identified the ingredients which are high in sugar and fat, look for healthier ingredient substitutions. Once you’ve identified which foods to swap out, find natural ingredients which are a close variation to the original ingredient but don’t contain the sugar and fat.
In my example recipe, I’m going to replace the caramel because it’s high in both sugar and fat. I’ll swap the cream cheese for low fat cream cheese. And the sugar will be swapped out with Natvia or Swerve. The nuts will remain the same. Check out this post to learn about Natural Sweeteners For Sugar Free Diet
By removing the sugar and replacing it with a natural sweetener I’m saving myself a total of 300 calories, and a huge insulin spike! By swapping out the cream cheese I’ve saved a total of 352 calories from fat.
Next I’m going to modify the caramel recipe from All Day I dream About Food. I love this recipe, and she is right, it’s the best! But I want to reduce the fat count so the finished product has fewer calories…and I can eat more.
So instead of butter I’m going to use plain yoghurt saving me 508 calories. And instead of heavy cream, I’ll use light cream saving me 155 calories.
To put this into perspective for you, there is 1/4 cup of butter in the original recipe, which has 508 calories. The yoghurt I’m using contains 0.1 gram fat and 31 calories for the same amount. This amount of calories is equivalent too an hour of very high intensity exercise for the average woman! It’s worth making the food swap.
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Food Substitutions – Total Calories Saved Form Recipe Makeover
By substituting ingredients high in fat and sugar in the original recipe I’ve saved a total of 1315 calories.
You can imagine how many calories you could save over a year if you hacked all of your old favourite recipes! And once you get used to doing this it actually becomes second nature. The beauty of hacking recipes this way is your health will improve without you paying any attention because you’re still able to eat delicious meals and sweet treats that you enjoy.
You won’t have to worry about cholesterol, diabetes or heart disease because all of your meals will be as healthy as possible.
Recipe Makeover Pro Tips:
- Make sure you keep the same or very close too, the same proportion of ingredients. For example I wouldn’t swap out 1/4 cup of butter for 1/2 cup of yoghurt because then the mixture for Carolyn’s caramel sauce would be too runny.
- Wherever possible try to swap out fat and sugar with ingredients which are higher in protein. Protein keeps you feeling satisfied for longer. Protein is scientifically proven to decrease your appetite! It also gives your recipe structure, especially when you’re swapping out high carb ingredients which contain gluten.
- When substituting sugar for sweeteners be sure to taste test the recipe as you make it. Natural sweeteners are all slightly different, and they will react differently depending on which ingredients you’re using. For example pure stevia is much sweeter than blended sweeteners.
- Write down your finished recipe! Many times I’ve done a recipe makeover, loved it and forgotten what food swaps I used!
The Finished Recipe Makeover
This healthy cooking hack was pretty quick and easy. It’s absolutely delicious too! You can get the full recipe with instructions for Healthy Caramel Swirl Cheesecake here. If you want more Healthy Recipes go here. I hope this post has been helpful!
Share this post with friends and do healthy meal makeovers together!