Cooking is one of the greatest joys of life, but as you may well know, it can expand your waistline and literally tip the scale less in your favor. If you take a quick look at the ingredients in your favorite recipes, you would find a list of calorific, fat-laden, sodium-packed food items.

But before the thought of eating bland, unexciting meals depresses you, you should know that healthy is not synonymous with boring. You can eat most of your favorite dishes and still keep yourself in tip-top shape. Substitution is the key.

Here are some healthy substitutes that taste just as great if not better than the original ingredients that you use in cooking:

Applesauce for Oil

If the recipe for making your favorite baked goodies calls for shortening, you can use regular flavored applesauce instead. Simply add the same amount of applesauce instead of butter or vegetable oil. If you still want the taste and texture that you get with shortening, you can cut the amount in half and simply substitute applesauce for the other half.

Egg Substitute for Eggs

Eggs are healthy, but if your blood cholesterol level is high, your doctor may advise you to skip them. However, what would you if you can’t do without eggs? Fortunately, there are several brands of egg substitutes that are cholesterol-free and are low in fat and calories. They taste like the real thing however you use them. You can use them for baking as well as your casseroles and other dishes. You can even make “scrambled eggs” with them!

Broth for Butter

If you want your vegetables or rice to be flavorful without the ridiculous amount of fat that you get from butter, forget butter and use broth instead. You can use chicken, beef, or vegetable broth to add zest to your dishes. You can use bouillon cubes, but see to it that you buy the low-sodium kind.

Lean Ground Turkey Instead of Ground Beef

Ground beef, even the lean variety, is loaded with fat and draining does very little to get rid of it. Lean ground turkey is as tasty as ground beef and cooks just as easily. Be sure to buy ground turkey breast, which is leaner and has fewer calories than other turkey parts.

Low Fat Cheese and Dairy

If you’re going to use cheese and other dairy products for cooking, go for the low-fat variety. Low-fat or fat-free sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, and ricotta cheese are usually available in local grocery stores. You can hardly tell the difference between low-fat and regular dairy products. However, you must keep in mind that some low fat or fat free cheeses do not melt well and you may not be able to use them for certain dishes.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard and healthy meals aren’t necessarily dreary. You just need to switch to low fat, low calories and low sodium ingredients when cooking your favorite meals. The tips you have just read will go a long way in helping you stay healthy and trim while enjoying the pleasures of eating.

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