Healthy Holiday Family Recipes: Ingredient Substitutions

The holiday season is here. You’r probably looking forward to a multitude of family gatherings, filled with some good old-fashioned home cooking.

It’s those few times of year that family recipes will once again be the centerpiece of family dinners.

You know… The sacred family recipes…

The ones you may not be able to make because there is a hierarchy in the family kitchen. No one makes it as good as Grandma. Or the recipe is five-generations old, and put together from memory. And you have to use the same ingredients and follow the age-old preparation methods and the special family pans to make the recipes.
What if you need healthy options for your holiday family feast? While you always have the stand-by portion control strategy, it can be difficult when it’s your favorite dish or those certain family members keep encouraging you to eat more or there is so much to sample.

If you have the opportunity to contribute to the family feast with a traditional family recipe, then you also have the opportunity to make a healthy version. You may chose to make a healthy version on the sly and see if anyone notices the difference; but if you want the family to embrace a healthier version you may want to let them know or make both versions for a family taste test.
Luckily, healthier versions of traditional recipes are becoming quite the trend. It all starts with substituting some key ingredients.

Some of them you already know, because you see the options every time you go to the grocery store:
  • Low-fat dairy
  • Fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables
  • Egg whites
  • Herbs and spices
  • Leaner meat
  • Healthy oils 
  • Reduced-fat or fat-free,reduced-salt/sugar versions of prepared foods
Collards with
But what about some of those more complex recipes with a variety of ingredients that may need an unusual substitution….
  • no-sugar- added applesauce for oil and butter
  • evaporated or coconut milk for cream
  • cocoa powder and oil for baking chocolate
  • flavored extracts (vanilla, almond, peppermint) instead of sugar
  • nut or whole grain flour instead of white flour
  • rolled oats for bread crumbs
  • nutrient dense greens instead of iceberg lettuce
  • vegetable substitutes like zucchini noodles for pasta or cauliflower mash for  potatoes
  • flavored vinegars for salad dressing
  • merengue for frosting
  • cacao nibs for chocolate chips
  • nutritional yeast for cheese
  • pureed avocado for butter
  • fresh salsas for jar sauces
Avocado-Cocoa Brownies
Like ingredient substitutions at any other time of the year there are plenty of options when it comes to to making new traditional healthy family recipes.

In the meantime, your weight loss advisors at the Metabolic Medical Centers can help you with your weight loss strategies for all the other events of your holiday feasting season.

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