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When Cooking, Do You Cut or Replace Ingredients?

There was a time many years ago when eggs, fats, and oils were thought to be no-nos, so I'd omit or replace them every time I baked. I used applesauce instead of oil, a mashed banana instead of an egg, and margarine instead of butter. I also used fat-free yogurt instead of cream, and reduced-fat peanut-butter to make cookies.

The food came out, well, OK, but I think I ended up eating more just because I thought it was healthier. Now I mostly follow the recipe pretty much to a T. It tastes so much better, so only a few bites are necessary.

What about you? Do you cut out ingredients or use healthier alternatives when cooking or baking?

Source

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i-am-awesomeness i-am-awesomeness 8 years
Sometimes, because oftentimes after you've made a recipe a few times you can see that you really don't need all the butter they recommend. And since I have a peanut allergy obviously I cut out the nuts.
julieulie julieulie 8 years
I don't eat meat, so I change up a lot of recipes to exclude what I don't eat. If I'm cooking just for myself, I often sub in healthier versions of things, like baking with whole wheat flour instead of regular. If I'm cooking/baking for other people, I usually keep my adjustments to a minimum -- it's more important to me that things taste great than be healthy if I was put in charge of bringing the cake for a party, etc.
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 8 years
If a recipe sounds good but uses butter... I use olive oil instead... If a recipe sounds good but is over pasta... I used spaghetti squash, kombo noodles or cabbage instead If a recipe sounds good but uses dairy or cream or yogurt... I use olive oil, broth of some sort & maybe a little white wine (if it sounds good)
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 8 years
If a recipe sounds good but uses butter... I use olive oil instead...If a recipe sounds good but is over pasta... I used spaghetti squash, kombo noodles or cabbage insteadIf a recipe sounds good but uses dairy or cream or yogurt... I use olive oil, broth of some sort & maybe a little white wine (if it sounds good)
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I never replace ingredients when I bake. Baking is very scientific; you're following a formula. All of the ingredients have a specific role and if you take one out, you will not get the same results. I tried experimenting with Splenda in a cookie recipe once and it was a disaster! When I make other stuff, I substitute a lot. I'll use olive oil instead of butter or cut out 3/4 of the meat and put in extra veggies. Sometimes I'll use textured vegetable protein instead of meat in sauces or chili or I'll use chicken instead of ground beef (ground chicken breast is super duper lean).
Spectra Spectra 8 years
I never replace ingredients when I bake. Baking is very scientific; you're following a formula. All of the ingredients have a specific role and if you take one out, you will not get the same results. I tried experimenting with Splenda in a cookie recipe once and it was a disaster! When I make other stuff, I substitute a lot. I'll use olive oil instead of butter or cut out 3/4 of the meat and put in extra veggies. Sometimes I'll use textured vegetable protein instead of meat in sauces or chili or I'll use chicken instead of ground beef (ground chicken breast is super duper lean).
lamicmic lamicmic 8 years
i always cut back on butter or remove it entirely and replace it with non fat yogurt and/or applesauce (which when you're making muffins makes them soo moist and yummy). You can usually cut back on sugar by 1/3 without tasting much of a difference and as for the buttermilk trick: add 1 tbsp of white vinegar to a measuring cup, fill it up to the 1 cup mark with milk, stir, leave for 10 minutes and you're good to go. Also, if i'm sauteing something, il use the smallest bit of marg i can and then keep things from sticking by adding a little water.
starkiss23 starkiss23 8 years
I agree that it really depends on whether you're cooking or baking. Personally, if I'm looking for a healthier option, I'd just try to find a recipe that reflected changes already. If not, I'd rather have a smaller portion of something really decadent and be satisfied than eat a bunch of "healthy" stuff trying to fill a craving.
anna_muffin anna_muffin 8 years
I don't really cook, but when I bake I always use less sugar than in the recipe. When I'm lazy I use vegetable oil instead of butter, but I never use margarine.
kia kia 8 years
I have a cane sugar allergy so always have to find ways around that. Fruit, fruit preserves, honey, agave nectar, brown rice syrup, and even xylitol if I need the texture.
leanneluvsu leanneluvsu 8 years
I try to substitute sugar with Molasses. It's hard to substitute butter, however. Some recipes call for a high butterfat content.
designergirl designergirl 8 years
TidalWave, how is brown sugar healthier than white sugar? I would assume it would be worse because it's molasses and sugar, right?
designergirl designergirl 8 years
Butter's not bad for you! It was vilified by all those margarine commercials. I might cut back on the sugar when I'm baking because I prefer less sweet baked goods. However, most of the time I follow the exact recipe when baking. I'd rather have two bites than a whole piece of a dessert made with substitutions.
Schaianne Schaianne 8 years
Sometimes - but not always with "healthier" ingredients, haha ... but I'll substitute things if I'm out (Lack of an ingredient RARELY stops me!!) or if I plain ole do not like what the recipe calls for.
emalove emalove 8 years
I almost always substitute ingredients with things I like better and think will compliment the dish. I think that's part of the fun of cooking, trying new things and experimenting.
chakra_healer chakra_healer 8 years
I cut, because there's no butter, margarine, or sugar in my house. Actually there are no whole eggs either; I use egg beaters and my SO uses eggology egg whites. We basically eat a lot of veggies, beans, grilled items, fruit, and salads, which rely on spice more than anything. Any sauced or dessert foods we eat out, so no need to keep the fatty stuff at home.
chakra_healer chakra_healer 8 years
I cut, because there's no butter, margarine, or sugar in my house. Actually there are no whole eggs either; I use egg beaters and my SO uses eggology egg whites.We basically eat a lot of veggies, beans, grilled items, fruit, and salads, which rely on spice more than anything. Any sauced or dessert foods we eat out, so no need to keep the fatty stuff at home.
mandine mandine 8 years
Most recipes contain too much sugar to my taste. But I never cut out chocolate :p
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
lol @ eating more of something because it's healthier. in baking, i never use a recipe that calls for vegetable/canola oil. and sometimes, i'll use 1/2 brown & 1/2 white sugar - instead of a cup of all white sugar. But I do this because it's a tad healthier, yet still tastes good! if it tasted, just okay, i wouldn't make the substitutions at all.in cooking, i NEVER cook with butter or margarine ever! I just cook everything with olive oil. unless it's pancakes :)
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
lol @ eating more of something because it's healthier. in baking, i never use a recipe that calls for vegetable/canola oil. and sometimes, i'll use 1/2 brown & 1/2 white sugar - instead of a cup of all white sugar. But I do this because it's a tad healthier, yet still tastes good! if it tasted, just okay, i wouldn't make the substitutions at all. in cooking, i NEVER cook with butter or margarine ever! I just cook everything with olive oil. unless it's pancakes :)
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
Margarine is WAY less healthy then Butter. Its actually an evil food in my opinion. Most margarines are processed using a method called hydrogenation, which adds unhealthy trans fats. In general, the more solid the margarine, the more trans fats it contains.
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 8 years
...forgot to add; when I said 'bake' I don't mean just desserts... my favorite dish by far is my vegan pot pie! I cook more with veggies....
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 8 years
I'm vegan and love to cook. I do a lot of baking for other people, mainly to dispel the idea that vegan food is tasteless. Nobody can ever tell the vegan stuff from the non-vegan versions. I'm always having to sub something... I use ener-g egg replacer, coconut milk, soy or almond milk, tofu, etc.
dunnonuttin dunnonuttin 8 years
I'm vegan and love to cook. I do a lot of baking for other people, mainly to dispel the idea that vegan food is tasteless. Nobody can ever tell the vegan stuff from the non-vegan versions. I'm always having to sub something... I use ener-g egg replacer, coconut milk, soy or almond milk, tofu, etc.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I agree with the above comments about baking, since it's much less forgiving, but I replace things in cooking a fair amount. For example, I don't think I've ever actually used heavy cream in a recipe that called for it.
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