Published on August 24, 2015

Nutrition Corner: Update grandma’s outdated recipesNutrition Corner: Update grandma’s outdated recipes

Do you love Grandma’s recipes but worry about some of the unhealthy ingredients? You know, those holiday favorites that have been around for decades, but are loaded with butter, sugar or salt.289

We all have that special side dish or dessert that we pine for this time of year and simply don’t want to give up. Thankfully, most recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation can be made healthier without losing the great taste and memories you love.

The first strategy is to read through the recipe and find areas for improvement:

  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt or butter.
  • For sautéing on the stove, try using wine, mild-flavored juice or low-sodium broth instead of oil and butter.
  • Poaching skinless chicken, fish or lean meats in water, low-sodium broth or herbs and species is a low-fat way to replace frying.
  • Select lean cuts of beef and pork – especially cuts with “loin” or “round” in their name – and remove all visible fats from meat before cooking.
  • Replace higher-fat cheeses with lower-fat options such as reduced-fat feta and part-skim mozzarella.
  • Thicken sauces with evaporated non-fat milk instead of whole milk.
  • Replace meat with plant food as sources of protein, such as soybeans, pinto beans, lentils or nuts (for example, in chili or lasagna.)
  • Make salad dressings with olive or canola oil.

Remember, the traditions you start with your family today are the ones you’ll pass on to future generations. So make sure they’re healthy!

For those recipes that just can’t be tweaked (and there are some you don’t want to mess with), just make sure you decrease your portion size.

Courtney Driscoll-Shea is a registered dietitian who received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut and her Masters in Healthcare Management from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Courtney is the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Cape Cod Healthcare.