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By: Emily Murray


It's a common misconception that everything that tastes good is bad for you and, conversely, that everything good for you has to taste bad. There are so many ways to turn your favorite high calorie and high fat snacks and meals into a healthier version of the same tasty treats. Many ingredients are responsible for more than just flavor; in fact, there are many that have the sole function of changing the consistency of the baked good or meal. Many of these provide very little flavor but go heavy on the grams of fat and calories. If you are trying to incorporate some healthy changes in your everyday diet and cooking methods, there are ways to cook light without losing the flavor. It's the best win-win situation we can think of! Right now cooking light has become one of the hottest culinary trends and one that you can easily incorporate into your current cooking methods with just a little bit of effort.

Oil or Butter

Butter and other oils play an intricate roll in many baked goods but unfortunately in just one cup of butter, there is almost an entire day’s caloric needs and more than double the required amount of fat! There are other ingredients that can be substituted for butter or oil in many baking recipes. First off, if you are working with a recipe which requires the pan to be lightly coated in butter or oil, go with a non-fat cooking spray alternative. For many desserts, applesauce can be a sufficient substitute for oil or butter. It helps bond ingredients together and still results in a relatively creamy texture. The taste will be slightly different so you may want to try substituting a little at first instead of changing out the whole amount. You can then over time make the switch entirely if the taste suits you.


It seems many of us have those intense cravings for salt every now and then, but aside from the occasional serving of pretzel sticks or salted peanuts, too much salt can mess with our body’s normal ability to retain or release fluids, among other complications. The main function of salt in food is to bring out flavor and extra taste. Fortunately, the same can be down with a mix of spices. There are even spice mixes sold in grocery stores and labeled as a salt alternative. If you are a garlic fan, garlic powder is a great alternative to salt. It has little to no salt in it, depending on the blend you choose.


Perhaps the hardest thing to give up in any baking recipe is cream and to be truthful, there are some baked goods that simply will not taste the same when whole milk or skim milk is substituted. What this will come down to is the exact role that the cream is playing in the recipe. While skim milk would be the healthiest substitution, in order to keep the same richness, you may want to try using whole milk or even evaporated milk.

Cooking methods like these may seem like trivial adjustments, but they can help knock off a substantial amount of your daily fat and calorie intake. Embrace this culinary trend for 2011 and your body will be sure to thank you!




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