Many times, a high calorie recipe can be made “light” with a few healthy changes. I’m not talking about using fat free cheese—my philosophy is that I’d rather a little of the real stuff than a lot of the fake stuff. What I’m talking about are real food subs that keep the dish tasty, but drastically reduce the calorie counts.
Lite Coconut Milk: Found in the Thai food section of the grocery store, light coconut milk is thick and lightly flavored. Made from the meat of the coconut, it’ll thicken and add creaminess to soups when used in place of heavy cream.
Calorie savings: 220 calories per 1/3 cup (over heavy cream)
Spaghetti Squash: Spaghetti squash makes a great pasta substitute, but if going all-veg isn’t for you, replace just half of your plate of pasta. The texture is similar, the flavor mild, and the added fiber turns dinner into a nutritional powerhouse.
Calorie savings: 180 calories per 1 cup cooked (over cooked spaghetti)
Avocado: I call avocado “nature’s mayo” because almost any recipe that calls for mayo can be modified to use avocado. When avocado is paired with other flavors, it fades away to a background taste, but leaves its creamy texture. Try using mashed avocado in your next batch of tuna salad.
Calorie savings: 525 calories per ½ cup (over regular mayo)
Black Beans: Brownies made with black beans are a staple in our house. They may sound weird, but I promise you won’t taste the beans in this fudgy dessert. To make: Drain and rinse a can of black beans. Puree the black beans in a food processor with one cup of water until smooth. Mix the black beans with one box of brownie mix and bake at the time and temp on the box.
Calorie savings: 75 calorie per large brownie (over mix prepared as directed)
Banana: Bananas are a fantastic way to add natural sweetness, but my favorite way to use banana is as an ice cream replacement. If you freeze bananas solid and then puree them in a food processor, you get a soft serve that’ll fool even the biggest sundae fan. We keep bananas in our freezer just for this purpose.
Calorie savings: 85 calories per ½ cup (over vanilla ice cream)
What’s your favorite swap to save a few calories?
1/29/2011 at 10:18 AM