Healthy Recipe Ideas

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Think Outside The Recipe Box

By Bonnie Pfiester of

When it comes to cooking, sometimes we donít think out side the box Ė the recipe box that is. Itís so easy to be a creature of habit and miss out on the opportunity to try healthy alternatives.

For instance, eggs are one of the most common ingredients used in many recipes. Meatloafs, casseroles, pancakes, pies, batters, baked goods and sauces often call for eggs as a key ingredient. Eggs are also one of the easiest foods to substitute thanks to Egg Beaters. However, many people still have never even tried them.

Letís look at the facts. Two scrambled eggs can range from 150 to 180 calories depending on the cookís choice of milk, butter or oil. Although an average omelet only uses three eggs, once you add all the extra goodies, you can easily rack up 500 to 900 calories in no time Ė and thatís without all the popular breakfast side dishes.

Most of todayís breakfast hot spots offer egg substitutes which can cut the calories in half. In addition to cutting calories, you save 5 grams of fat per egg not to mention an enormous amount of cholesterol. Two regular eggs exceed the recommended daily limit of 300mg of cholesterol while egg beaters have zero cholesterol.

Finally, egg substitutes are even easier to use than eggs. I donít know about you, but Iíve pulled my fair share of shells out of mixing bowls. Cracking an egg is one step I donít mind skipping. Egg substitute measure out easily, as a quarter cup equals one egg. Egg substitutes prove to be healthy, convenient and tasty too.

Unfortunately, we canít cook with egg substitute if we donít buy it. Healthy eating begins at the grocery store. It is much easier to eat healthier if you buy healthy foods. Here are some other healthy alternatives you may want to add to your grocery list.

Splenda Ė Since Splenda measures out like sugar, splenda and Splenda Brown Sugar blend are great for baking, however cooking time may be a bit shorter. Splenda also works well in teas and other beverages.

Butter Spray Ė This is a staple in our house. We use butter spray instead of butter on potatoes, grits, oatmeal and steamed vegetables. Butter spray is also great on microwavable popcorn!

Applesauce Ė Applesauce or prune puree can be used in place of half the oil, butter or shortening when baking. It keeps baked goods moist, plus it adds an extra touch of sweetness.

Low fat cottage cheese Ė Cottage cheese can be a healthy alternative for ricotta cheese in recipes like lasagna and quiche. Cottage cheese can also be blended smooth to replace cream cheese in some recipes. We use cottage cheese as a healthier alternative to sour cream on top of baked potatoes and Mexican dishes.

Pam - Non-stick sprays and non-stick frying pans are a must in a dieterís kitchen. Other great alternatives to frying food is cooking food in broth or water instead of oil.

Less Oil Ė In most cases, you can us a quarter less oil, shortening or butter in recipes and still get the same great taste. Cool Whip Ė Frozen Cool Whip can be a great creamy alternative to ice cream. Add sliced strawberries and a sprinkle of Grape Nuts and youíve got yourself a real treat!

Thinking outside the recipe box may take a little getting used to, but I think youíll be pleasantly surprised with how healthy food substitutes taste and how it affects your waist!

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