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Rescue unhealthy family favorites with simple ingredient switches

Instead of throwing out all of your family’s favorite recipes that might be deemed “unhealthy,” find inspiration with the following tips and tricks that will help you reduce unnecessary sodium, calories, and unhealthy fats in the foods you already love. By making simple ingredient switches, such as low-fat yogurt for mayonnaise, your own popular dishes will become healthier versions of themselves and you will gain confidence in the meals you are serving yourself and your family.

  1. If it seems like reducing fat reduces flavor, try making up the difference with a spoonful of broth, non-fat milk, or juice, or extra herbs, spices or vegetables.
  2. Low-fat yogurt makes a great substitution for mayonnaise.
  3. In most recipes, the amount of oil or butter can be cut by one third or even one-half and still produce good results. With favorite recipes, experiment by cutting back a little each time you make it.
  4. The same is true for sugar. Try cutting back by one-third. With enough other flavors in the dish, you’ll probably not notice the change.
  5. Cut back on salt and increase herbs and spices a little more each time you make a favorite recipe. Eventually you may not miss the salt at all.
  6. If you use pre-packaged broths, check the labels for “low sodium” or “reduced sodium.”
  7. In a recipe calling for cream, try using fat-free half-and-half or low-fat yogurt.
  8. Try using pureed fruit or honey instead of syrup.
  9. Instead of whole milk, use 1 cup fat-free milk and 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil.
  10. Use plain Greek yogurt (with a dash of lime juice) instead of sour cream for added protein and fewer calories.
  11. To get the most nutrition from your salads, instead of iceberg lettuce, try romaine lettuce, which has a considerable amount of vitamins A and K.
  12. Store-bought salad dressings are both expensive and loaded with unnecessary calories. Make your own simple vinaigrette at home by combining equal parts olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Dijon mustard.
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