Four simple ways to makeover your favourite recipe

Here are four ways to give your favourite dish a healthy makeover without sacrificing taste, says Tanja Shaw.

Healthy eating doesn't have to be boring

Last week one of our regular clients indulged in a serving of Jambalaya from Boston Pizza the night before.  She loves Jambalaya- she loves the textures, the spices, and the combination of flavours.   I fully agree that food is meant to be enjoyed- but if you are also trying to improve your health, the less often you eat out, the better.   According to the online nutrition information, a full order of Jambalaya at Boston Pizza has 1350 calories, almost the same number of calories someone needs in an entire day.

Fortunately, with a few savvy substitutions, and a search for healthier recipes, you can make your favourite dishes at home, for a fraction of the calories (and cost!).   Enjoy the foods you love and still feel good when your meal is done.  Here are four ways to give your favourite dish a healthy makeover without sacrificing taste.

Recipe Makeover #1: Add more veggies.  Veggies are rich in flavor, fibre, and nutrients, yet low in calories.   By pumping up the meal with veggies, you will increase the nutritional profile of a meal while cutting back on the total number of calories.  Try pureeing veggies and adding them to sauces.   You can also swap starches for vegetables.  Try enjoying your pasta sauce over a bed of roasted spaghetti squash, or your stir-fry over ‘riced’ cauliflower.  Cauliflower can also make a great substitute for mashed potatoes.

Recipe Makeover #2: Swap some of the ingredients for healthier options.  For example, swap white pasta for whole grain noodles, white rice for brown rice.  When cooking with meat, choose leaner cuts of meat.

Recipe Makeover #3: Cut back on calorie-dense ingredients.  Go light on the higher calorie ingredients such as oil, cream, butter, cheese, and fatty condiments like mayo.   Trust me, you and your waistline won’t miss the extra fat.  Also go light on the salt; we generally get more than enough sodium in our diet.

Recipe Makeover #4: Go big on flavour.  Instead of sugary sauces and condiments, use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor your dishes.

Before making your favourite dish, look for ways to make the recipe a little bit healthier.  By making a few simple changes you can transform almost any recipe into  a dish that nourishes your body and your soul.

Tanja Shaw is the owner of Ascend Fitness Inc., a private training studio.  Tanja and her team of expert fitness professionals work to inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  For more fitness tips go to

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