Altering Recipes for Better Health

As a mom, I want to make foods for my family that taste good and are good for them. Sometimes I do this by altering a recipe to make it a bit healthier but still taste good.  For some recipes, I reduce the amount of an ingredient. In others, I substitute one ingredient for another. Small changes can make a big difference in the amount of fat, salt, sugar and fiber in a dish.

Here are some ways I alter recipes to make them healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of sugar by 1/3.
  • Replace ¼ to ½ of refined flour with whole-wheat flour.
  • Use plain yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Substitute skim or low-fat milk for whole milk.
  • Use whole grains in place of refined grains.

 

For more ways to alter recipes for better health, use this guide by Purdue Extension.  Try making one change at a time so you can see what works best for your recipe and what your family likes. And some recipes, like family traditions, might be best to enjoy as they are!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

More Posts

Add Some Fiber to Your Day!

Has all of our talk about fiber this month got you thinking about adding more fiber to your meals? I sure hope so! Today I have two meal plans to share with you. Both include three meals, one snack, and 25-30 grams of fiber.

Enjoy!

 

Meal Plan 1: (Fiber in grams)

Breakfast 

Lunch   

  • 1 1/2 cups Zesty Whole Grain Salad (5)
  • 1 sandwich with
    • 2 slices whole wheat bread (4)
    • 1 slice cheese
    • 3 ounces deli meat
  • Water

Supper

Snack

Total grams of Fiber: 29 grams

 

Meal Plan 2: (Fiber in grams)

Breakfast

Lunch   

Supper

Snack

  • 4 cups popcorn (3)

Total grams of Fiber: 25.5 grams

 

Note:  If you need more or less fiber depending on your age and gender, adjust amounts of food up or down to meet your personal needs.

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Cowboy Caviar

Our May recipe of the month is Cowboy Caviar. This recipe is easy to make, tastes amazing, and packs a nutritional punch. All you have to do is combine some beans, chopped vegetables, and a chopped avocado with a quick homemade salad dressing. With that, you are ready to serve, or, in my case, eat!

I am not sure that I have mentioned this on the blog before, but, in addition to being a lover of great food, I am a dietitian. The food lover part of me drools over this recipe because it tastes so good and it is versatile. I can serve it as a dip for a party, I can scoop it into a tortilla and eat it as a wrap for lunch or supper, or I can simply grab a spoon and eat up (I have been known to do all three). The dietitian part of me loves this recipe because it is packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. In the coming weeks you are going to hear a lot from us about the wonderful nutrient fiber. Next week, Christine is going to tell us about what fiber can do for our bodies and foods that have fiber in them.

In the meantime, make a batch of Cowboy Caviar and let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

“Mommy, Can I Help?”

Sometimes I enjoy cooking with my children and sometimes I do not. Depending on the recipe and the cooking skill we are working on it can be a lot of fun or it can be frustrating. It is almost always messy. Regardless of how it comes out, I know that it is important because they are learning valuable skills.

My children are currently 2, 5, and 7 years old. That means they have vastly different abilities in the kitchen as well as different interest levels and attention spans. So, I need to match up each child to recipes that work well for them. Below I have broken down some age groups and matched them up with recipes that would work well with children in those age groups.

 

  • Two years old: children this age are good at washing fruits and vegetables. They also like to help with set up and clean up. My little guy loves to set the table and, at the end of the meal, he
    uses his little broom to help sweep up.

  • Three years old: children this age are good at pouring and dumping ingredients. They can also help with clean up by putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher or the sink.
    • Try making Banana Oatmeal Bread with your three year old. They will enjoy pouring all the ingredients into the bowl.
  • Four years old: children this age are good at peeling oranges, bananas, and hard cooked eggs; kneading dough; and mixing with a spoon.
    • Try making Creamy Egg Salad Sandwich with your four year old. They can peel the eggs, dump the ingredients into a bowl, and mix everything together.
  • Five years old: children this age are good at cutting with a blunt knife, cracking eggs, and measuring ingredients. My five-year-old daughter’s favorite way to help in the kitchen is measuring.
    • Try making Our Favorite Chicken Noodle Soup with your five year old. They can peel the carrots, cut the celery, and measure out the water, seasonings, and noodles.
  • Six years old: children this age are developing their reading and writing skills, so they are good at writing grocery lists and starting to follow recipe directions.
  • Older children: as children develop their reading and cooking skills they can become more independent in the kitchen. My oldest son is seven years old and is usually the first child awake
    in the morning, so he has started preparing simple breakfasts on some mornings while I am helping the younger ones get ready for the day.

Remember that kitchen skills are cumulative, so what was learned as a two or three year old carries on into their older years. I especially like this when it comes to having extra helpers at clean up time!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Homemade Mac and Cheese

Our March recipe of the month is Homemade Mac and Cheese. This recipe is an easier (and healthier) way to make a classic favorite, so it is a good way to get children involved with a meal. In the coming weeks, our blogs will focus on different ways that children can grow a love of cooking by helping out in the kitchen.

This recipe starts with cooking whole wheat pasta in boiling water. While the pasta is cooking, children can measure out the spinach into the bottom of a colander. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water and then pour the rest of the water and the cooked pasta over the top of the spinach in the colander. Children can see how the spinach changes from raw to cooked simply by adding the hot water.

To make the sauce, you only need to put the cooked pasta and spinach back in the pot and stir in the remaining ingredients – cooking water, shredded cheese, plain yogurt, onion powder, and garlic powder. Children can practice measuring, pouring, and mixing.

The only thing left to do is eat. Enjoy!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Honey Mustard Dressing

 

Our February recipe of the month is Honey Mustard Dressing.  This is a super easy homemade dressing that can be used for more than just salads.

To make this dressing, combine ¼ cup each of only four ingredients – Dijon mustard, honey, cider vinegar, and oil – in a container with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well and serve.  This dressing has many uses:

Try our Honey Mustard Dressing this month; I think you will like it!

Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Tamale Pie

Happy New Year from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.!  We are happy to welcome you to 2018 with our January recipe of the month – Tamale Pie.

A bottom layer of ground beef, onions, peppers, and salsa is topped with a delicious, golden layer of cornbread.  You will want to eat this right out of the oven, but I promise it is better if you let it rest about five minutes before slicing and serving.  The rest time lets the bottom layer thicken up a little and makes it much easier to scoop from the dish to your plate.

This dish has been a hit with the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. family and I hope it is a hit with your family too!

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

More Posts - Website

Let’s Party!

‘Tis the season for festive fun! This is my favorite time of year to pull friends together for a party. Formal dinner parties are not really for me. I prefer to invite friends over for a casual get together with some tasty food that is not too difficult or expensive for me to prepare.

For this week’s blog, I have done a recipe round-up of party friendly recipes from Spend Smart. Eat Smart. I hope they make it onto your party spread!

  • Mango Salsa: This is a delicious option alongside traditional salsa. It is tasty with homemade Baked Tortilla Chips or store bought ones. This recipe works well with jarred or canned mangoes if you do not want to work with fresh ones. It will be the talk of your party!
  • Peanut Butter Balls: Holiday parties are usually overwhelmed with cookies and sweets. These little nibbles are a nice change of pace and look great alongside Fruit Kabobs.
  • If your party is around a mealtime and you do not want to have a sit down dinner, consider putting out the components of a Tostada Bar. It is less work for you and fun for your guests to do themselves.
  • Sometimes it is nice to bring everyone together around a hot pot of soup. Our Slow Cooker Pork Chili is perfect for this. You can keep it hot in the slow cooker for everyone to enjoy as they come and go.
  • For a sweet ending to your party, try Chocolate Surprise Cupcakes. They start with a cake mix to keep your baking simple.

         Enjoy!

        Christine

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

More Posts

Don’t like Leftovers? Eat Planned-overs

Last week Christine gave four tips for saving money on holiday groceries. She mentioned that during the holidays stores will occasionally have deep discounts on items like turkeys or hams. This is a good time to include planned-overs in your weekly menu to save money. During the busy holiday season, it can also save you time in the kitchen.

Planned-overs are leftovers you plan into your weekly menu. When you have a day off or an evening free, you can make an entire extra meal such as a casserole or prepare extra ingredients that can be included in recipes later in the week. Let’s imagine we bought an extra ham during a great holiday sale. Below is a sample menu that uses the ham we got on sale and includes some planned-over shortcuts to use throughout the week.

Sunday Ham and Easy Roasted Veggies (cut up the ham to use Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday)

Monday It’s a Meal Strata (cut up extra vegetables to use for Tuesday and Wednesday) 

Tuesday Mama’s Pizza Boats

Wednesday Whole Meal Salad

Thursday Ham and Brown Rice (make extra rice for Saturday)

Friday Slower Cooker Black Eyed Pea Soup

Saturday Fiesta Skillet Dinner

Prepared dishes and cooked ingredients will only last four days in the refrigerator. If you won’t be able to use them within four days, freeze them to use at a later date.

For more dinner menu ideas using planned-overs, check out our How to Use Planned-overs video.

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

More Posts

Company is Coming!

“Company is coming, what are we going to eat?”  There are many online recipe sources, but I always come back to Spend Smart. Eat Smart.  Here is a menu with a few of my favorite recipes for entertaining.

Breakfast or Brunch

I substitute sweet potato for all or part of the white potato and make them with whole wheat flour tortillas. I make a double or triple batch, wrap them individually in foil or parchment paper, and stack in the slow cooker to keep warm.

The strawberries, kiwi and banana look festive for the holidays. They are best when partially thawed which takes at least 30 minutes.  

I add ½-cup mini chocolate chips as an optional ingredient.  

 

Appetizers

For holiday entertaining I make the Fruit Salsa with frozen strawberries, Granny Smith apple, and substitute 1 cup drained, crushed canned pineapple for the peach. It is beautiful in a clear glass bowl surrounded by the cinnamon chips.

Heat the bean dip in the microwave or put it in a small snack size slow cooker. Serve with raw vegetables or homemade Baked Tortilla Chips.

 

Dinner and Sides

A family favorite! I roast the vegetables on a separate baking sheet and increase the quantity and variety.

This is a simple and delicious side dish that goes with just about anything.

I use apples, fresh or frozen strawberries, bananas, drained canned pineapple chunks, and whatever other fresh, frozen or drained canned fruit I have on hand.  I suggest using a red gelatin in the sauce and serving it in a clear glass bowl. It will look beautiful on the holiday table.  

 

Dessert

This pie is easier to make and has less fat, sugar and calories than regular pumpkin pie but tastes great.

 

I hope you will try some of the recipes that I use when ‘company is coming’ and explore the Spend Smart. Eat Smart site for your own favorites.  

Written by Renee Sweers, Human Sciences Specialist-Nutrition and Wellness

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

More Posts

Join Our Mailing List

Enter your email address:

Categories

Posts from the Past