Modifying Recipes for Better Health

Modifying or changing a recipe can produce a product that doesn’t meet traditional expectations.

However, some changes can be made that can result in an “ acceptable” change or one that some people don’t even notice.

The following are some modifications you can make in a recipe that might be acceptable for you, your family and friends:

Reduce sugar by one-third: Instead of 1 cup of sugar use 2/3 cup. This works best in canned and frozen fruits, puddings and custards. For quick breads and muffins, use 1 tablespoon of sugar per 1 cup of flour. Add vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg to help enhance flavor.

Reduce fat by one-third: If a recipe calls for 1/2 cup fat, use 1/3 cup fat. This works best in gravies, sauces, puddings and some cookies. For cakes and quick breads, use 2 tablespoons fat per cup of flour.

Omit salt or reduce by one-half: If recipe says 1/2 teaspoon salt, use 1/4 teaspoon. Do not eliminate salt from yeast breads or rolls—it is important for flavor and texture.

Substitute whole grain and bran flours: Whole wheat flour can replace from 1/4 to 1/2 the all-purpose flour. If a recipe has 3 cups of all-purpose flour, use 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour and 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour.

Oat bran or oatmeal can replace 1/4 of the all-purpose flour. Bran cereal flour can replace up to 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.

Do not try to substitute oil for margarine or shortening — they are not interchangeable when baking. A traditional recipe can still taste good and be good for two.

Do not substitute lite or diet margarines for solid shortenings or regular margarines in baking. Instead, use less regular margarine.

Written by Lynnette Mensah, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension, Countryside Extension Center

Edited by: Katherine Reuter, Extension Educator, Consumer and Family Economics, University of Illinois Extension, Countryside Extension Center.

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