When it comes to making your family’s meals or treats more nutritious, there are the obvious things you can do such as replace white flour with wheat flour and mixing in oats wherever you can to boost the fiber. But as moms, we want to do more. Want to know how can we make nutritious food that our family will actually eat?
Here are a few of my favorite cooking and baking swaps ::
Beans are one of the most versatile foods that can pack in a healthy dose of fiber and protein without compromising taste or flavor. Cup for cup, beans can be an easy swap for flour, helping to increase both fiber and protein while decreasing overall calories. Beans can also be used as a replacement for traditional shortenings, helping to reduce the fat content of your favorite baked goods. When baking, about one 15 ounce can of pureed beans can be used in place of one cup flour.
Not only can this superfood boost your family’s heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, it can also reduce the overall calories of a meal. For instance, one cup of butter contains 1,627 calories whereas one cup of pureed avocado contains 368 calories. Avocados can be used as an alternative to eggs, oil, butter, margarine, shortening and sour cream. To use, swap one cup butter or oil for one cup mashed avocado. When using avocado as a substitute for eggs, use ¼ cup mashed avocado per egg.
You might not find your kids wanting to snack on these as they might on traditional chocolate chips, but when used in your smoothies or added to pancakes, they won’t know the difference. Cacao nibs are minimally processed and derived from the cacao bean and can be an easy substitute for chocolate. Not only are cacao nibs less processed and lower in sugar than traditional chocolate, they are also an excellent source of nutrients and antioxidants including magnesium, iron, and fiber. They can also be used in muffins, sprinkled on oatmeal or stirred in yogurt.
Cha-cha chia! Yup, bringing your old school pet plant to the table with one. This superfood can add a boost of nutrition to almost any dish and can be used as a baking substitute for both butter and eggs. When using to replace butter, combine 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 9 tablespoons of water and let sit for 15 minutes. If using as an egg substitute, use 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 cup water.
Not just for babies and toddlers, unsweetened applesauce is an easy way to reduce added sugar and fat. Substitute each cup of sugar in a recipe with 1 cup applesauce and reduce the liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup. Use as a replacement for butter by using half the amount of butter called for in a recipe and the other half applesauce. One egg can also be substituted with ¼ cup applesauce and ½ teaspoon baking powder.