Modify to Healthy
We all have tried-and-true recipes, many passed down from past generations, that are undeniably delicious— and not in the least bit healthy! But instead of letting guilt push them to the back of your recipe collection, you can make slight modifications to reduce fat, salt and calories. Amy Glueck, a dietitian at Siteman Cancer Center, helped with a few staff favorites, offering easy alterations to keep us eating our go-to dishes.
broccoli cheddar soup
1 T melted butter ½ medium chopped onion
¼ c flour 2 c chicken stock
½ lb fresh broccoli (chopped into bite-size pieces)
1 c carrot (julienned or grated)
2 c whole milk → 2 c 2% milk
2 c half-and-half cream → 2 c fat-free half and half cream ¼ t nutmeg
Salt and pepper
8 oz grated cheddar cheese → 8 oz grated reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1. Saute o nion in butter. Set aside.
2. Whisk melted butter and flour over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until golden brown.
3. Slowly whisk in chicken stock. Simmer covered (stirring occasionally) for 20 minutes on medium heat.
4. Add broccoli, carrots, sauteed onions, milk, and half and half to the pot. Cook covered over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, but do not bring to a boil.
5. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. Note: You can puree half of your soup in a blender if you choose. Continue to cook the soup on low heat and slowly add grated cheese a handful at a time, stirring to avoid clumps. Once all the cheese has melted, remove from heat and serve immediately.
Calories and fat can be drastically reduced by choosing dairy products with lower fat content. The dairy products in this recipe can make it high in sodium, so Glueck suggests using a low sodium cheese. “Try to balance this with a side of veggies or a salad,” she says.
Original |(1 cup) 639 calories, 50g fat, 830mg sodium, 23g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 26g protein
Modified | (1 cup) 411 calories, 20g fat, 835mg sodium, 31g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 28g protein
1 (28 oz) can enchilada or Mexican red sauce → 2 T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T all-purpose flour
1 ½ T chili powder
1 t cumin
½ t onion powder
¼ t cayenne pepper
1 c (8 oz) tomato paste 1 ½ c low-sodium vegetable broth
½ t sea salt 1 lb ground beef → 1 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ t salt 12 corn tortillas
2 4 oz. cans diced green tomatoes
1 c chopped green onions
⅓ c chopped black olives
3 c grated cheddar cheese → 3 c grated reduced fat cheddar cheese
1. In a medium pot, add olive oil and heat to medium. Stir in flour until a thin paste forms.
2. Stir in chili powder, cumin, onion powder and cayenne pepper. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium heat until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste, then broth. Whisk until smooth, and bring to a simmer.
3. Stir in salt to taste and continue simmering until thickened, about 5 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, brown the meat with the onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drain the fat, and add salt.
(The original recipe calls for frying the tortillas, which Glueck omits.) 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread ½ cup of the sauce in the bottom of a 9” x13” baking dish. Dip each tortilla into the sauce, and fill with meat mixture, chilies, green onions and black olives. Top generously with grated cheddar. Roll and place seam side down in the dish. 2. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas, and pour remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and any extra chiles, green onions or olives. 3. Bake the enchiladas for 20 minutes, or until bubbly.
Glueck reduced the sodium content of the new recipe by making her own sauce. Choosing turkey over beef and not frying the tortillas decreased the total fat as well.
Original | (about 1 ½ enchiladas) 499 calories, 32g fat, 1058mg sodium, 27g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 26g protein
Modified | (about 1 ½ enchiladas) 419 calories, 20g fat, 716mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 30g protein
for the cupcakes
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
½ t salt
½ c unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch process)
1 ⅓ sticks unsalted butter → 1 ¼ can pumpkin (15 oz. size)
1 t vanilla extract
1 ½ c granulated sugar → ½ c granulated sugar
3 eggs → 1 c unsweetened applesauce
1 c milk → ¾ cup milk
For the ganache icing
6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
⅓ c heavy cream
1 T granulated sugar
1 ½ T unsalted butter
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line four 6-cup muffin tins. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder; add the sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, combine vanilla, milk, pumpkin and applesauce. Slowly add liquid mixture to dry ingredients with a hand mixer. Add more pumpkin if batter is too thick.
3. Fill each tin two-thirds full. Bake the cupcakes for about 25 minutes. Cool in tins for 5 minutes; remove and let cool completely on a rack.
4. To make the ganache, put all ingredients in a small, deep saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to combine, until the chocolate and butter are nearly melted. Remove from heat and whisk continuously until all chocolate is melted.
5. When the ganache is room temperature, spread it evenly on top of cupcakes.
“You can feel better about eating these revamped cupcakes. They have less sugar and ingredients that are better for your heart and can help prevent cancer,” Glueck says. Substituting pumpkin for eggs and butter decreases total fat and calories and increases overall nutritive value. According to Glueck, the pumpkin adds vitamin A and lycopene, which are good for eye health and preventing different cancers. Use ¼ can of pumpkin for each egg and equal amounts of oil. For example, a recipe with 2 eggs and 1 cup of oil would use 1 ½ cans of pumpkin. Glueck also substituted unsweetened applesauce for sugar, which adds fiber while decreasing calories. “Apples also contain quercetin, which is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties,” she says. When substituting applesauce for sugar, the ratio is 1:1, but the overall liquid in the recipe should be decreased by one-quarter.
Original | (1 cupcake) 192 calories, 10g fat, 152mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 3g protein
Modified | (1 cupcake) 118 calories, 4g fat, 106mg sodium, 21g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 2g protein