Eat well without the compromise. Here, six ways to give your favourite recipes a healthy update



Swap an ingredient

Some ingredient substitutions are easy -- like using frozen yoghurt instead of ice cream or whole wheat pasta instead of white -- but some require a little know-how to maintain the texture and flavour of the food. Here are some common swaps to try:

- All-purpose (white) flour: You may not be able to replace it all, but you can substitute up to half with whole wheat flour. If you're experimenting with other flours -- like oat, rice, barley, spelt or kamut -- talk to the staff at your local health food store to find out which ones work best.

- Bread crumbs: Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal can make a crunchy coating, plus they add fibre and other nutrients.

- Butter, oil or shortening: In baked goods, substitute the equivalent amount of apple sauce or prune puree (i.e. 1/2 cup applesauce instead of 1/2 cup oil) for half the amount required in the recipe.

- Eggs: Use two egg whites or 1/4 cup of an egg substitute in place of one whole egg.

- Sour cream: Try low-fat or fat-free versions, or substitute in plain yoghurt for a probiotic punch.

- Ground beef: Choose leaner choices like ground chicken or turkey instead. If it has to be beef, try a leaner ground.

- One ounce of chocolate: Replace with three tablespoons of cocoa. You get the antioxidants, but not the fat and sugar.

- Iceberg lettuce: Whether its sandwiches or salads, use dark, leafy alternatives like spinach, romaine, bok choy and swiss chard to add more flavour, fibre and vitamins.

(For more suggestions, see Healthy ingredient substitutions.)

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Elizabeth Rogers