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Use this, not that: A guide to healthy holiday recipe substitutions

Use this, not that: A guide to healthy holiday recipe substitutions
Use this, not that: A guide to healthy holiday recipe substitutions

The holiday season is a time for traditions, all the way down to the food on the table. If you want to have a healthier holiday season but your family is depending on you to make that family-favorite casserole or apple pie, don’t disappoint them by changing the menu.

Making simple substitutions in your family’s favorite recipes can make your holiday dishes healthier without sacrificing flavor.

Here’s our guide to ingredient substitutions you can use to make healthier holiday dishes.

Use: Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or prosciutto
Not: Bacon

Use: Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Not: Bread crumbs

Use: Applesauce for half of the butter, shortening or oil the recipe calls for
Not: Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods

Use: Pureed avocado
Not: Butter (Generally one cup of avocado puree per one cup of butter works)

Use: Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Not: Full-fat cream cheese

Use: One can of drained and rinsed black beans in brownie recipes
Not: Flour (Use one can of beans for every cup of flour)

Use: Extra-lean or lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
Not: Ground beef

Use: Arugula, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Not: Iceberg lettuce

Use: Whole-wheat pasta or rice pasta
Not: Enriched, white pasta

Use: Zucchini noodles
Not: Pasta

Use: Turnip or cauliflower mash
Not: Mashed potatoes

Use: Lettuce leaves
Not: Tortilla wraps

Use: Flavored vinegars
Not: Salad dressing

Use: Fresh or frozen fruit
Not: Canned fruit

Use: Greek yogurt
Not: Sour cream

Use: Herb seasonings (garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes)
Not: Seasoning salt, garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt

Use: One-half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for, plus add vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Not: The full amount of sugar the recipe calls for

Use: Herbs, spices, citrus juices, vinegar
Not: Table salt

Some of these swaps may take some experimenting to get the ratio just right (particularly when baking), so try your recipe ahead of time to be sure you get it right.

Help keep those extra holiday pounds at bay by making these simple substitutions in your favorite family recipes.

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