When it comes to eating healthy, there are a few simple swaps that can make all the difference in your diet without changing the flavor of your favorite dishes. Here are our favorite healthy substitutions for butter, oils and those bad fats that you really can live without.
1. Drizzle on a Butter Substitute. A drizzle of olive oil, a fresh squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of salt is the perfect way to top fresh steamed vegetables, like broccoli or green beans. It offers a buttery flavor but with a lot less of trans fat. Try using this combination as a topping on salads, too, as a simple, homemade substitute for high-calorie dressings.
2. Bake with a Butter Substitute. Coconut oil can be substituted for butter and shortening in recipes. It bakes up beautifully in cookies, cakes and pie crusts, lending a lot of flavor and natural saturated fats that are better for you than those found in butter.
3. Bake with Bisquick Complete. When mixing up homemade pancakes or waffles, chances are you pour extra butter or oil into the mix. By using Bisquick complete, you get all the fantastic flavor of fluffy pancakes and waffles with the addition of whole grain but without added fat. Use nonstick cooking spray for your pans—and fresh fruit instead of butter and syrup—and you've got a healthy breakfast that surpasses the usual white flour pancakes and super sweet syrup most Americans use in their kitchens.
4. Add in a Sneaky Substitute. For baking, applesauce can be swapped into most recipes to replace the oil. But did you know that a ripe pear pureed in a blender works even better? Gently remove the peel and seeds from a very ripe pear, and then toss it into a blender until smooth. Use this naturally sweet pear puree in any cake or cupcake recipe for truly delicious, lower calorie pastries.
5. Make Natural Fats Work for You. Avocados are one of nature’s leading sources of healthy fat. That means it’s also a natural source for healthier cooking and baking. Try serving toast with slices of ripe avocado. Or puree avocado and add it to your muffins and brownies to replace the butter and fats you’d normally bake into them.