Thursday, January 19, 2012

Recipe Makeover – Get Less Sugar and More Fibre

Learning to reduce, eliminate, and substitute certain ingredients can help you make healthier alternatives in the kitchen.  Most people are trying to reduce sugar, fat, salt, and calories.  A healthy change can also be to increase fibre since most of us don’t get enough from our food choices.  These ‘makeovers’ can help control blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and weight. 

It may be easiest for you to start experimenting with your tried, tested, usual dishes, or you may find it easiest to start with a brand new recipe.  Since I talked about sugar on Monday's segment, I'll continue to focus on reducing sugar, but also discuss increasing fibre.  

When you’re looking for the sugar in a recipe, don’t forget to include white sugar, brown sugar, icing sugar, corn syrup or other syrups, honey, and even molasses.  These forms of sugar all provide sweetness and calories, but are low in nutrients. 

To adapt the sugar in your recipe(s) you can try:
-         Using less - reduce the sugar by 1/4 to 1/3
-         Using extracts for sweetness (vanilla, maple, almond, etc.)
-         Using spices for sweetness (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.)
-         Reducing the amount of chocolate chips by half and chopping before using

Fibre is beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels, helping you feel full, intestinal health, and it may help prevent heart disease.  To adapt your recipe(s) to increase fibre you can try:
-         Replacing up to half the white flour with whole wheat flour (or perhaps all with experimenting)
-         Replacing up to a quarter of the flour with ground flaxseed
-         Keeping the peel on chopped fruit
-         Using brown or wild rice instead of white rice
-         Adding bran cereal or oat bran to muffins, cereals, or cookies

Remember that some recipes may take more experimenting than others, so it may help to keep track of the adaptations you make.  Try it for yourself to find out what healthy creations you can make.

Happy creating!
Stephanie Wheler, RD
Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching

Dietitians of Canada. Recipe “Make-over”: How to make your recipes healthier. 2009