Saturday, November 29, 2008

Helpful Healthful Cooking Substitutions

Here are some healthful substitutions that I use in my cooking all the time.
  • Substitutes for Oil in Baking - I substitute pureed fruits or vegetables for part or all of the oil in my baking recipes. Examples: Applesauce, pumpkin or other squash, mashed bananas, etc.
  • Substitutes for Eggs in Baking - I substitute 1 heaping Tbsp. of freshly ground soy flour (from soybeans) and 1 Tbsp. water for each egg in my baking recipes. I also read somewhere that you can use ground flax seed instead of the soy, but I haven't tried it. I also read that you can combine 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin with 3 Tbsp. cold water and 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. boiling water. This mixture will substitute for 1 egg in a recipe. Another source says to substitute 1-1/2 to 2 Tbsp. pureed pumpkin or other squash for each egg in any recipe. I haven't tried that one either.
  • Substitute for Buttermilk or Sour Cream in Baking - I mix 1 C. of Milk (can use powdered milk mixed with water) and 1 Tbsp. vinegar and let that sit 5 min.
  • Meat Extenders or Substitutes - I use Cooked Quinoa, Cooked Brown Rice, re-hydrated plain TVP (textured vegetable protein) or Cooked Beans.
  • Substitute for White Flour in Baking Recipes without Yeast - I substitute the same amount of freshly ground whole-grain flour for the white flour in baking recipes without yeast. Examples: White wheat, Brown Rice, Oat Groats (or Rolled oats ground in blender), Barley, Spelt, Kamut, etc.
  • Substitute for White Flour in Baking Recipes with Yeast - I substitute freshly ground whole-grain flour for the white flour in baking recipes with yeast. I also add about 1 Tbsp. gluten flour for each cup of whole-grain flour used in the recipe. (I don't increase the flour called for in the recipe, I just add the gluten flour as part of the flour called for).
  • Substitute for Milk in Baking Recipes - I use powdered Milk for almost all of my baking. For Instant Powdered Milk, mix 1/3 C. of powdered milk with 1 C. of water for 1 C. of milk. For Regular powdered milk, mix 1/4 C. of powdered milk with 1 C. of water for 1 C. of milk.
  • Substitute for Cream or Half-And-Half - I use a double portion of powdered milk for each single portion of water as a substitute for cream or half-and-half.
  • Substitute for White Flour as a Thickener for Soups, Sauces, Gravies, etc - I use freshly ground bean or whole-grain flour to thicken soups, sauces or gravies.
Do you have any more healthy substitutions you use in your cooking? Have you had successes or failures with any of the ones I've mentioned?


Cherylyn said...

These are great suggestions! I like to substitute sugar with a more natural sweetener, like honey. Just use half the amount in the recipe (i.e. if the recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of honey). Honey can be more costly, so I like to buy it in bulk at the case lot sales every 6 months to save money and have a good amount on hand. You can also use other natural sweeteners like agave, xylitol or stevia. Agave is a liquid like honey, and I believe you would use it the same way you would honey. Xylitol and stevia are generally granulated like sugar, so just use the same amount you would use sugar. It's always a good idea to avoid synthetic sweeteners like Sweet n' Low, aspartame or Splenda. They're man-made and potentially dangerous. Watch labels closely for "Sugar Free", because that generally indicates they've used a synthetic sweetener. Granulated or brown sugar is still better than the man-made sweeteners.

Heather said...

Thanks Cherylyn, I realized after I posted this that I neglected to mention the sugar substitutes. I don't use them very often, but I'd like to more. The main problem I have with them is that most of the substitutes cost more than sugar. I guess that's why I don't use them much in my cooking. Do you have some info to share about the health benefits of honey over sugar? or the other sweeteners you mentioned?

I agree that the man-made sweeteners should be avoided. In my opinion, the less processing involved in our food, the better it is for you.

Thanks for sharing!

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