Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

December 10, 2017
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Make any recipe healthy

  1. Look first at the serving size. Recipes from the original Joy of Cooking often served eight people whereas many of the same recipes in the current edition now serve four. Prepare smaller portions or add other foods to the meal — like more veggies — for better balance.

  2. Replace some of the less healthy ingredients. Sometimes it’s better to substitute gradually. If a recipe calls for 1 cup (250 ml) of grated cheddar cheese, use a ¼ cup (60 ml) of low-fat cheese and ¾ cup (180 ml) of cheddar cheese. Gradually increase the amount of low-fat cheese until you get the texture and taste you like. Making gradual changes also gives you time to get used to the new tastes — remember it takes at least 30 tastes to develop a liking for something new.

  3. If you want to make a recipe more nutrient dense, double the amount of vegetables in a soup or stew and add some legumes to increase the amount of fibre and protein in the dish.

  4. Use half the amount of animal protein in the recipe and use tofu to give the desired amount of protein per serving. Alternatively, replace all the meat with substitutes.

  5. When you look at a particular food, decide its role in your diet. If it’s a staple, make sure it’s particularly nutrient dense and low in calories.

  6. The Health Check Program nutrition criteria looks at supermarket-bought foods sold with a nutrition facts panel on the label. The criteria are designed to promote a balanced diet, which includes preventing heart disease, and are regularly reviewed by dietitians at the Heart and Stroke Foundation and based on the recommendations in Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide.

The Health Check is divided into categories, such as breads, cold cereals and side dishes. If a food that you choose contains less fat and less sodium than the criteria, great! If it contains more, it might be time to choose another product. It’s particularly useful when you’re looking at foods that don’t carry the Health Check logo, but these criteria can also be used to evaluate your recipes.

  1. Choose alternate cooking methods. Instead of frying, try roasting, grilling or even buying a Tefal ActiFry which may give similar results using less fat.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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