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Substitutions Make Holiday Fare Healthier
Date:11/22/2008

Altering recipes to cut fat, salt a quick fix without losing taste, experts say

SATURDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- You can eat healthier this holiday season by altering recipes and making good food choices, say experts with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

Holiday cooks can reduce the sugar, fat or salt content of almost any holiday recipe without a noticeable difference in taste, nutrition specialist Mary Bielamowicz said in a news release.

"If a recipe calls for a cup of sugar, use two-thirds of a cup," she said. "If it calls for a half-cup of oil, shortening or other fat, use one-third cup. And if a recipe says to use one-half teaspoon of salt, use one-quarter teaspoon or omit the salt entirely."

Another way to make holiday recipes more healthful is to substitute whole-grain or bran flours for recipes calling for all-purpose flour, Bielamowicz said.

"In most instances, you can replace one-quarter to one-half the amount of all-purpose flour you see in holiday recipes with whole-wheat flour," she said. "Or you can substitute oat bran or oatmeal for one-fourth of the all-purpose flour used."

Test modifying more complicated recipes yourself before serving them, as the changes may not result in the texture or flavor you want, Bielamowicz said.

"Holiday meals don't have to be high in fat or calories to be tasty," said Dr. Connie Sheppard, AgriLife Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Bexar County. "But low in fat doesn't always mean low in calories, so you have to consider both."

For example, reduced or non-fat dairy products can be substituted for higher-fat counterparts, she said, while evaporated milk can be used as a substitute for cream.

Sheppard also suggested steaming or roasting vegetables with low-fat margarine or sprays on them instead of butter. Defatted broth also works in place of butter in mashed potato recipes to reduce fat
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