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When we first had to start our heart healthy diet, I wanted to be able to use the same recipes I’ve used over the years. I didn’t want the change to be so drastic that we didn’t have anything familiar left to eat. That would’ve been hard on my husband and I, and especially the kids. So, thankfully, the New American Heart Association Cookbook has an appendix that talks about how to adapt existing recipes to be heart healthy.
1. If your recipe calls for, regular broth or bouillon, instead, use fat-free, low-sodium broths. You can make it yourself or you can buy it. There are lots of different healthy broths available, including the store brands. You can also use salt-free or low-sodium bouillon granules or cubes. These, however, are a bit harder to find. My local Walmart doesn’t always carry those granules, so I have to look for them at another store. One time I couldn’t find them anywhere, so I found the bouillon granules on Amazon. They have the jars or packets available.
2. If your recipe calls for, butter or shortening, instead, use fat-free spray margarine or light tub margarine. I use Country Crock light margarine. It comes in a light yellow tub, and there are often coupons for it. However, in baked goods, the type of fat is important to the recipe, so for baking, I use stick margarine instead. It’s important to look for the product with the lowest saturated and trans fats. I use Imperial, and the saturated fat is 2.5g and there’s no trans fat. Imperial also goes on sale often.
3. If your recipe calls for, butter for sauteeing, instead, use vegetable oil, like canola, corn or olive. You can also use cooking spray, fat free and low sodium broth, or fruit/vegetable juice. I talk about this more in my post, The Best 10 Heart Healthy Cooking Tips.
4. If your recipe calls for, cream, instead, use fat free half and half, fat free nondairy creamer, or fat free evaporated milk. All of these items are available in store brands, so they’re affordable. The half and half that I buy also has a resealable lid, so if I don’t need the whole thing for a recipe, I can seal it up and refrigerate it until the next recipe.
5. If your recipe calls for, eggs, instead, use cholesterol free egg substitutes, 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg, or even omega-3 eggs. I talk about this more in my post, Heart Healthy Egg Whites and Omega 3 Eggs.
6. If your recipe calls for, evaporated milk, instead, use fat free evaporated milk. Just like I talked as it being a substitute for cream, it’s obviously, a good substitute for regular evaporated milk too. I have a peanut butter pancake recipe that uses evaporated milk, and they still taste delicious, using the fat free version.
7. If your recipe calls for, flavored salts, instead, use powder. So, if you are supposed to use onion salt, garlic salt, or celery salt; you should use onion powder, garlic powder, celery seeds or flakes. You also don’t use the same amount called for in the recipe. You use about 1/4 the amount instead. So, instead of 1 teaspoon garlic salt, I use 1/4 garlic powder.
8. If your recipe calls for, ice cream, instead, use fat free, low fat, or light ice cream. You can also use fat free or low fat frozen yogurt, sorbet, sherbet, or gelato. I haven’t tried gelato yet, but I’ve tried all the rest and they taste just fine. There’s lots of different varieties available too; I was surprised at how many there are now! My parents were over for dinner one time, and I didn’t have a chance to make a dessert, so I had to offer ice cream instead. All we had was low fat ice cream, and my mom wasn’t so sure about it, but decided to try it anyway. Well, she really liked it!
9. If your recipe calls for, table salt, instead, use no salt added seasoning blends. There are so many different varieties of no salt seasoning blends available. You can try out lots of different kinds and see which ones you like best with which recipe. I have several Mrs. Dash seasoning blends that I like.
10. If your recipe calls for, tomato juice, instead, use no salt added tomato juice. I don’t have any recipes that call for this, so I can’t tell you how it is, since I haven’t tried it.
11. If your recipe calls for, tomato sauce, instead, use no salt added tomato sauce. You can also use a 6 ounce can of no salt added tomato paste and dilute it with 1 can of water. However, I haven’t had any trouble finding the no salt added tomato sauce, and it is even available in the store brand.
12. If your recipe calls for, unsweetened baking chocolate, instead, use cocoa powder and margarine. Oops, I should’ve remembered this tip before I made my brownies I just finished baking! The baking chocolate has 4.5g of saturated fat in it! I will remember this next time, plus it will be cheaper. Anyway, for every 1 ounce square of chocolate, you should use 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder plus 1 tablespoon unsaturated oil or light tub margarine. I will have to try this next time.
13. If your recipe calls for, whipping cream for a topping, instead, use fat free whipped topping. It actually tastes just as good. We haven’t been able to tell the difference. You can also use fat free evaporated milk, just remember to chill it thoroughly before whipping. I haven’t tried this before. I like the convenience of the fat free whipping already made for me.
14. If your recipe calls for, whole milk, instead, use fat free milk. I’ve used fat free milk in baking recipes and recipes for every meal of the day, and it’s worked just fine.
So, instead of getting rid of your old recipes, you can adapt them and make them heart healthy. You just have to substitute some ingredients and you’ll still have delicious recipes, they’ll just be lower in saturated and trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories. Sounds like a win to me!
Do you have any other substitutions you use?