Making Recipes Healthier

There are plenty of different steps that can be taken in order to achieve a lifestyle that is better for the long run (puns intended!). One approach toward this goal is learning to make recipes healthier. Sometimes it means swapping out ingredients, like we’ve discussed in the past, and sometimes it means adding additional ingredients into a recipe. Today we’re talking about the latter, more specifically how to sneak in some added nutrition that might just go unnoticed by even the pickiest of eaters.

Whenever and wherever dietary recommendations are discussed and updated it’s agreed that fresh vegetables should be a large part of daily nutrition. The size of the vegetable portion on a plate was increased in U.S. government guidelines back in 2015, among much discussion that it should have been an even larger section. Here are a few more ways to sneak in healthy additions, without eating dinner straight from the garden.

healthy plate

Making Recipes Healthier (Without Anyone Noticing)

Keep Lean Meats Moist.
Using ground turkey or chicken has less fat content than ground beef, so it’s healthier but not as juicy when cooked. Try mixing in ingredients that add both moisture and flavor when making burger patties or meatloaf. Vegetables like onions, carrots, mushrooms, beets, spinach and zucchini can easily be grated up and added to a meat mixture or sauce. You will enjoy the added moisture and flavor without even noticing that you’re also getting extra vitamins and nutrients.

moist turkey loaf

Make Fake Fried Foods

If you love fried foods but don’t want all that fat soaking into your meat or fish, then this one might do the trick. Bread your protein as usual, but then spritz it with a light spray of oil and place it into the oven. You can buy cooking spray or place some olive oil into a spray bottle or spritz container to perform this task.

Make Tofu Taste Like Whatever.
When you rinse your tofu and set it on paper towels take the extra step to place something flat and heavy on top of the tofu. This will force out the extra moisture, allowing room for the tofu to soak in the flavors that you add when marinating. If you’re pan-frying the tofu, then disregard this suggestion and follow our instructions for tastier tofu. Tofu can even be whipped to make a pie filling or mousse!

tofu mousse

Add Vegetables to Pasta Sauce.

Even if you your kids won’t touch a raw carrot, we’re betting that they will dig into a red sauce that contains carrots. Rich in vitamins, sautéed carrots will caramelize and taste sweet. Simply chop some up (finely if you’ve got haters!) and brown them along with the onions and garlic or the meat. The sauce will become just sweet enough to be irresistible.

healthy plate

Got pea haters? Try blending some peas into your next batch of pesto sauce. Cooked broccoli is another veggie that can be easily blended into pesto sauce.

Use More Egg Whites.
Don’t discard the yolk, it’s full of protein! But, you can add more whites into the mix in order to up the healthiness factor. Using an egg white with a whole egg in a 1:1 ratio will reduce overall fat and cholesterol numbers without even noticing a difference. After all, remember that eggs no longer have a bad rap.

Choose White Cheeses.
In general, white cheeses have less fat than their orange cousins. The best picks for low fat cheeses include part-skim varieties such as ricotta, cottage and mozzarella.

Making Recipes Healthier

Additional Information

For 9 healthy meal ideas, see our suggestions for swapping out one major ingredient in a main course and thus transporting the entire meal into healthy status.

For healthy and sweet snack ideas that are easy to make, see our healthy sweets post.

For help with reducing the amount of sugar in recipes, see our reducing sugar post.

To find out how long other foods are good for, please visit the Dairy, Drinks, Fruits, Grains, Proteins, Vegetables and Other sections of Eat By Date or use the search function below.

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