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Recipe Revamp: IU Health West Dietitian Offers Practical Tips for Making Over Family Favorites

An IU Health West Hospital Release

When it comes to the tastes of the holidays, we tend to prefer our family favorites. If you are the one who normally supplies a favorite dessert, consider substituting ingredients to make it healthier.

Luckily, giving those tried-and-true recipes a makeover is a snap. You can modify most recipes simply by reducing the amount of fat, salt and sugar while increasing the fiber. Note: Just because it’s healthier doesn’t mean you can ignore your portion sizes.

Here are some helpful tips from an IU Health West Hospital registered dietitian:

  • When the recipe calls for a whole egg, try two egg whites.
  • When the recipe calls for sour cream, try low-fat plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream.
  • When the recipe calls for whole milk, try skim or 1 percent milk.
  • When the recipe calls for ice cream, try frozen yogurt.
  • When the recipe calls for heavy cream (not for whipping), try a 1:1 ratio of flour whisked into nonfat milk (eg. 1 cup of flour + 1 cup of nonfat milk).
  • When the recipe calls for whipped cream, try chilled evaporated skim milk or other low-fat whipped products.
  • When the recipe calls for cheese, try low-fat cheese but note that fat-free cheese does not melt well when cooking or baking.
  • When the recipe calls for butter, try light butter.
  • When the recipe calls for cream of mushroom, try low-fat or fat-free cream of mushroom.

“Healthy eating during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore if you know a few simple tricks,” says Brittany Peterson, clinical dietician at Indiana University Health West Hospital, who also recommends watching portion sizes, filling up on healthy snacks before parties and tracking those holiday cocktails. “Let’s face it--the holidays can be stressful enough without feeling guilty about your food choices.”

Along with good nutrition and regular exercise, routine visits with your primary physician are vital for managing stress and staying healthy. To find a physician that’s right for you, call IU Health West Hospital’s free physician referral hot-line at 317.217.DOCS (3627).

Go to IU Health West Newsroom