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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cookbooks need a diet & advice on substitutions to make healthy recipes?

I came across an interesting (frightening?) study by Brian Wansink (researcher and writer on Mindful Eating) and Collin Payne (2009, Annals of Internal Medicine).

They analyzed recipes from The Joy of Cooking from the past 70 years (the book was updated every decade). They found that the caloric content of the recipes increased about 40% since the original publication, due to increases in serving size and ingredient substitutions.


I mean, I guess I didn't make the healthiest recipes over the holidays. My cousin gave me a donut maker, so of course I made donuts (they're so pretty!):

I know right? I start off the post complaining about unhealthy recipes, and now we are looking at pictures of donuts. but they are pretty, right?

We been making lots of homemade pizza:

I love this pic because it looks like a screen shot from a horror movie!! Watchout doughball! The hand is gonna get you! (after I make dough, I put it in yogurt containers, hence the tubular shape)

and I even tried my hand at making crumpets (unsuccessfully... they came out more like english muffins):

But, as I mentioned, I've been trying to lose weight. So I've been taking a closer look at what I'm eating and how I'm living. Since I love to cook, I'm now trying to figure out how to make many of the recipes that I like healthier (ideally without sacrificing a ton of flavor).

For example, I've heard of substituting applesauce for oil in baked goods (like muffins and quick breads). I also just read that we can use beans as a replacement for butter and oil in recipes. For those of you who've tried either of these substitutions, can you taste the difference (does it taste 'healthier' in a bad way)?

And beyond that substitution, I'm somewhat at a loss for how I can make a recipe healthier. What other substitutions do y'all use in cooking to make your dishes healthier?


Jess said...

I've done both. The bean substitution works great with chocolate recipes, such as brownies. Apple sauce works too, but just be careful of things sticking since there is less fat (such as waffles in the waffle maker).

Julia (yaya) said...

I, too, love to bake. Always feeling guilty adding butter or extra sugar. I used nonfat yogurt or canola oil, olive oil before to substitute butter, but result was dry, and no flavor at all. My husband told me to quit baking, since mine aren't as tasty as stores'. :( However, after reading using beans for substitute. I think I will give another shot. PS. I tried apple sauce already. Not bad, but still not as tasty as the flavor of butter.

Lori said...

@Terri Thank you for the reminder! Yes, we do use yogurt to add to sauces, especially for Indian food! I agree, this is a great substitution!

@Jess that reminds me of a black bean cookie recipe I came across a while back. I meant to try it to see if it tastes like black bean, but my guess is from your note, that it actually tastes like amazing choc cookies! omg, I can't wait to try them now! And good tip on the waffles, I make a decent number of waffles, and I admit, I wouldn't have thought about the sub in that :)

@Julia that has been my worry about substitutions, creating baked goods that people aren't that interested in eating. Definitely let me know how the beans trick goes for you! I plan on trying it myself as well and posting about it here. Hopefully your hubby will love it and eat his words and your baked goods!

CynCyn said...

Have you looked at

She has some terrific recipes. The other "diet" tip I've heard is to always have water with you. Many times, our brains think we are hungry when we are just thirsty.

gck said...

+1 on the water thing

I'd say instead of worrying about subbing out all the bad stuff, instead, make it a priority to eat the good stuff.

Lori said...

@CynCyn thanks for the tip. I haven't been to that site before. I will check it out! I've definitely tried to be conscious of keeping water with me, I just sometimes forget to drink it!

@gck trufax! I completely agree. I actually LOVE eating the good stuff, problem is that I also eat some bad stuff. And I have been overeating, waaaaaay past point of being full :( I'm trying to find ways to combat the overeating, but in the meantime try to help make the unhealthy stuff a little healthier. Plus, omg, i love the idea of getting more fiber and protein in a dessert via beans (esp since I'm now eat mostly vegetarian and I'm trying to make sure I get enough protein...)

Unknown said...

check out - Bethenny Frankle from RHONY is amazing...all of her food is yummy that I've cooked and its way better for you. I think its all about the ingrediants... either way I have not been let down and it does make you loose weight without even trying! :)

oh and I just moved up to the east side of Seattle this year... are you serious there is a place dedicated to biscuts? I must go. lol

Lori said...

@Terri I went to as you suggested, but it seems off? Is the new site actually:

Welcome to Seattle!! :) There are in fact 3 biscuit places in Seattle that I know of. I've only been to Nook, but it's amazing!! You def should check it out and let me know what you think!

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