5 Ways to Lighten Up Your Favorite Foods

One of my favorite things to do as a nutritionist is tweak recipes to make them healthier and less fattening than the originals. I’ve done this with family recipes (my version of Grandma’s Cheese Pancakes would make my Nana proud), as well as dishes I spot in magazines and cookbooks and on restaurant menus. Sometimes it’s a matter of trial and error, but more often than not there are tried-and-true methods that work like a charm. Here are a few of my faves:

  • Substitute nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream; it’s incredibly rich-tasting but contains a fraction of the calories.
  • Add extra vegetables to just about any sauce, stew, or casserole to dilute the calorie content while amping up the nutritional value.
  • Use vegetable oil sprays instead of butter, oil, or margarine when frying eggs, veggies, and other items. A high-quality nonstick frying pan is also a great investment when it comes to cutting back on fat calories.
  • Swap in lean ground turkey (at least 90% lean) for fatty ground chuck when making meatballs, burgers, tacos, and meatloaf.
  • Try baking with less sugar. I’ve been able to eliminate up to a third of the sugar in many recipes without sacrificing taste.


Ready to try some recipe makeovers? Check out my Pasta with Pumpkin Meat Sauce and Buffalo Chicken with Creamy Blue Cheese Dip.