When you are trying to go on a diet, it can be incredibly difficult because a lot of ‘low fat’ foods don’t always have quite the same taste to them.
It might be because you are thinking of them having less fat than the ‘normal’ version, it might be some pre-conceived notion that everything that is low fat is also less tasty, but for some reason you are finding it hard to eat healthy without having some sort of relapse into chocolate chip cookies or bacon sandwiches every couple of weeks.
If you try starting at the beginning, start adding healthier ingredients to the foods you normally cook instead of replacing the entire meal with a ‘low fat’ alternative, you might find yourself getting a little luckier.
By replacing certain ingredients we are able to still keep the basic structure of the meal, we are just swapping out one of the not-so-healthy parts of the recipe with something that is a little more wholesome.
Here are some good ideas of what you can use as a replacement ingredient for your cooking;
Honey instead of sugar
It is odd but true, honey tastes a lot sweeter than sugar, so you would imagine it is not as good for you, but because of how sweet it is you’ll find yourself using less of it in recipes. Honey is also full of good natural ingredients and vitamins and minerals that help your metabolism digest the food into usable energy faster. It may take a little while to get used to the different kind of ‘sweetness’, particularly if you’re partial to sugar in your tea or coffee, but it is great for balancing calories.
Sweet potato or pumpkin instead of potato
Potatoes contain a lot of carbs and while in small amounts they are good for you, they really aren’t worth the extra fat and calories. A healthy alternative would be to use sweet potato or mashed up pumpkin instead, as they have a lovely herby flavour and are delicious when mashed, fried or even made into hash browns!
Ground turkey instead of ground beef
Turkey is a far leaner meat than ground beef but still provides a whole lot of flavour. It makes great replacement for Italian dishes such as bolognese and lasagne where you would normally use beef. Turkey can get a bit drier than beef which takes away some of the flavour, but you can easily use chicken stock to straighten that back out.
Plain yoghurt (with fruit) instead of fruit yoghurt
Never mind bifidus digestivum, using all natural, plain unsweetened yoghurt in combination with fresh (or freeze dried) fruit is a great way to get your good bacteria without stacking up on the extra calories from artificial sweeteners. While normal yoghurts are quite good for you, they still contain a lot of sugar which can surprise you so natural yoghurt is best. It can be a bit tart but if you blend it with some fresh strawberries (at 30 calories per 7 medium strawberries) it’ll even it right out.
Banana instead of… a fair few things!
This may sound like a strange one but don’t turn away just yet. The creaminess of a mashed, ripe banana makes a great replacement for fat in a wide number of recipes including ice cream – simply freeze the bananas and then puree them, and a new favourite; the 2 ingredient pancakes. No need for sugar, butter or milk, just banana and eggs. Mash them together and mix well and you have a great, low fat pancake recipe where you can add as many toppings as you like. Perfect!
Obviously they will not taste exactly the same but sometimes if you want to try out new thing you have to approach them with an open mind. Plus the more you try something the more you might find that you like it!
Trying new things is a major part of growing and developing your taste buds and if you start getting a taste for delicious ingredients that can be used as a healthy replacement for other ingredients, it can do a lot for your health in the long run. Try to experiment a little and see what you can come up with!
Cakes by Robin; a designer of stunning cakes for all types of event, based in Wimbledon since 2008.