How To Make Your Favourite Recipes Healthier

I think everyone wants to eat healthy…. right?  I mean who doesn’t want to feel better, sleep better, and have more energy?  BUT, you likely have picky kids to feed, a busy schedule, and just no time to sit down and figure out what to use instead of...

So, here it is.  A quick cheat sheet of sorts!

Most of the time you can use way less SUGAR, FAT, and SALT.

Sugar - reduce what the recipe calls for by ⅓ to ½.  You can add flavorings like vanilla or almond extract to increase the sweetness.  Also consider adding spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, etc.  BETTER YET … use honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.  These natural sweeteners have a lower glycemic index than regular sugar and offer FAR MORE vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants!!


Fat - it can be a little more tricky but for baked goods, you can almost half the butter and oil.  Add unsweetened apple sauce, prune puree, or banana to equal out what the recipe originally called for. If you are using oil or butter for sauteing or frying use ½ what the recipe calls for and use water as needed.


Salt - When cooking a meal, making salads, soups, and stews you can definitely use half or none at all.  This allows each person to add what they prefer.  For baking, most times you can also half the amount of salt or even eliminate it altogether.

Make healthy substitutions

Think of ways that can increase the nutritional value of your meals without changing the taste! Chop up extra mushrooms, peppers, and onions super fine and add them to your spaghetti sauce…the kids will never know! If your muffins need a little sweetness add pureed carrots to the batter! YUM!


Meat - Use less meat than the recipe calls for.  Use more vegetables in casseroles, soups, and stews.  You can also add more beans to chili for example and less ground meat/ poultry.  This dramatically increases fiber content and blows the doors off of vitamins and minerals compared to just using ground meat.


Baking - Using whole wheat flour instead of enriched white flour almost triples the fibre content with no one the wiser! You can do the exact same thing with pasta!  There are some delicious multigrain pasta choices now. 


Dairy - buy full fat!  YUP!  I said full fat.  Think sour cream, yogurt, cheese, and coffee creamer.  First of all, you do not have to use nearly as much as its low-fat counterpart because A) it tastes soooo much better B) it is more satisfying C) you get the full vitamin and minerals without all the extra fillers put in to try and make the low-fat taste good!


Here is a comparison of a granola bar recipe vs a much healthier version

2 cups dry oatmeal                                                        1 cup dry oatmeal/gluten-free oats

1 cup rice Krispies                                                          ½ cup ground flaxseed

⅓ cup brown sugar                                                       ½ cup natural peanut butter

4 tbsp unsalted butter                                                  ¼ cup chia seeds

¼ cup honey                                                                    ⅓ cup organic honey or maple syrup

½ tsp vanilla extract                                                      1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3-4 tbsp mini chocolate chips                                    ½ cup dark chocolate chunks     


AND…decrease portion size.


Portion sizes over the years have more than doubled, tripled in some cases!  If it is put in front of us we have the tendency to eat it ALL... well, that doesn’t help anyone.  We need to relearn how to listen to our bodies' queues so that it is satisfied.  Become familiar with what a proper portion size should look like, and serve meals on smaller plates (your eyes are bigger than your stomach!)  

WARNING: The label on the package does NOT necessarily constitute a proper serving size.  Often it is much much larger!


When eating out, prepare yourself in advance by looking at the menu.  Portion sizes in restaurants are absolutely ridiculous! Suggest sharing a meal with someone or ask in advance to take home your leftover portion.


For more tips & tricks, come meet with one of our nutrition coaches! We will provide you with accountability, motivation, & education. 

Chat with a Coach! 

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