By Michaela Caton RD, LDN
5 Tips for Recipe Modification
Indulge this holiday season while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle. By choosing healthier alternatives to common ingredients you can enjoy the flavors you love without falling off plan. Challenge yourself this holiday to modify your favorite festive recipe and put a new spin on your traditional dishes. Check out these 5 tips for healthy alternatives:
- Starch– Add starchy vegetables, lentils, and whole grains to your recipes to increase fiber, vitamins, and minerals content.
*Use 1 cup of pureed black beans instead of 1 cup all purpose- flour will save 200 calories, add 4 grams of protein, and increase fiber content.
- Dairy– Replace full-fat dairy products, as such whole milk, cheese, cream cheese, and yogurt, with low-fat or fat-free varieties.
*Save up to 66 calories and almost 8 grams of fat per cup.
- Protein– Vary your protein sources with legumes, lentils, fish, tofu, peanut butter, eggs, and white meat such as chicken and turkey.
*By replacing a 3-oz. cut of steak with a 3 oz. skinless chicken breast to save 6 grams of fat and 30 calories
- Toppings– Eliminate items that are unnecessary or added for appearance, such as frosting, coconut shavings, or whipped cream
*Replace 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with 11/2 cup of raisins to eliminate 25 grams of fat and 150 calories.
- Condiments- Condiments often contain large amounts of sugar, fat, salt, and calories.
*Lighten up meals by reducing butter, mayonnaise, or jelly and choose low sodium options.
Kids in the Kitchen
Cooking does not have to be an adult-only task. There are many ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen and have it become a fun family experience. Your children will not only enjoy helping in the kitchen, but they will gain independence & self-confidence, grow to enjoy a larger variety of foods, bond with the family, and learn new skills. When kids participate in the process they are more likely to try new foods! Check out these three kid friendly recipes and websites to create a fun a healthy meal experience for the whole family. See highlighted text for tasks that are kids friendly.
Colorful Kale and Apple Salad
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6 cups kale, torn, and big ribs removed and discarded
- 1/2apple, cut into thin, 1″ pieces (I went with Honey Crisp, but Gala would be good as well)
- 1/3 cup walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted
- 3 tablespoons blue cheese, crumbled
- In a small jar, combine the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Secure the lid and shake vigorously to combine.
- Place the kale leaves into a large salad bowl and, using your hands, sort of massage the olive oil mixture into the leaves.
- Throw the apples, walnuts, and blue cheese on top of the kale and lightly toss to combine.
Recipe modified from https://www.100daysofrealfood.com/
Baked Apple Avalanche
Serves 6, 1 apple per serving
- 6 apples
- 1 large lemon
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Rinse apples.
- Remove stems by cutting a 1-inch-wide hole out of the top of each apple. Cut into the hole to remove and scoop out the core and seeds.
- Rinse lemon and cut in half. In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from each half. Discard seeds.
- In a second small bowl, mix walnuts, raisins, and brown sugar.
- Stuff the center of each apple with 1 heaping Tablespoon of the walnut mixture. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon over the top of each apple.
- Place stuffed apples upright in the baking dish. Pour the lemon juice around them. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the skin is wrinkly. Spoon some of the pan juice over the apples about halfway through cooking time to keep the apples moist.
- Remove from oven. Let cool slightly before serving.
Recipe modified from https://cookingmatters.org/
Holiday Tree Muffins
- 18 cupcake liners
- 2 cups flour, whole wheat
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk or milk alternative
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 large banana
- 6 oz spinach
- ¼ cup butter, unsalted
- ¼ cup apple sauce
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 F, and line a muffin pan with paper liners (or use silicone muffin cups sprayed with cooking spray).
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt butter. Blend the wet ingredients in a blender or food processor (press button) until completely pureed.
- Pour the puree into the dry ingredient bowl, and fold together gently until just combined. (Do not over-mix.)
- Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the muffins are firm to the touch on top, but not quite browning.
- Cool most or all of the way before serving.
Recipe modified from https://www.superhealthykids.com/
Challenge: Get ready to cook up some healthy holiday recipes! Commit to make one of the 3 recipes listed. An added bonus would be to include a child in the preparation process. You other option is to pick one of the 5 recipe modifications listed above. It may be helpful to track your progress on paper or with a picture and share with your provider at your next visit to stay on track with meeting your holiday health goals.