|This face can't tell if I used sour cream or yogurt, he just knows it's delicious.|
- If you really want to eat healthier, but having a hard time giving up your favorite food the first step is to keep an open mind. Don't have the mindset of, "I could never bake with whole wheat flour or give up X." Or, "I would never eat X" (never having tried it, but certain it must not be good.) Keep a positive attitude about nutrition and never give up trying new things. Growing up my mom always told me to keep trying foods because your tastebuds change as you get older and she was right (moms know best). We often hear about kids being picky, but us adults can be rather picky and set in our ways too.
- Not all recipes work the same with substitutions. If you don't like whole wheat flour in one recipe, don't give up using whole wheat flour. The more spices and flavors in a recipe, the more your healthy substitute will be disguised. It wouldn't be all that tasty to eat a dollop of yogurt on a baked potato, but switching sour cream for strained non fat plain yogurt in special chicken goes undetected by my family.
- Substitutions don't have to be all or nothing. If you love the taste of mayonnaise or sour cream, try mixing half thickened yogurt and half mayonnaise or sour cream. This works especially well when using an item as a condiment and not in a recipe. I mixed in some strained yogurt with our sour cream to top tacos the other day and nobody noticed a taste difference. If you are a fellow my fitness pal user, I added "yonaise" to the food data base. Yonaise is one part mayo and 3 parts yogurt. Mayo is 100 calories per tablespoon where yonaise is 33 calories per tablespoon. That's a significant, yet painless switch. When you first start baking with whole wheat flour replace a small amount of the all purpose flour with the whole wheat flour. Keep trying less amounts of the unhealthy ingredient and more of the healthy to get the right balance of nutrition and taste. This gradual change will also give your tastebuds a chance to slowly adjust.
- Be on the lookout for alternate healthy substitutes. The first time I bought whole wheat spaghetti noodles they tasted thick and chewy to us. Now I buy angel hair whole wheat spaghetti and we love it. If you really don't like whole wheat noodles, try brown rice noodles. They are more pricy, but I have heard they taste more like white noodles. Traditional whole wheat flour is a big jump from all purpose flour. We love using white whole wheat flour. It has the same nutritional value of traditional whole wheat flour, but has a much softer taste. Substituting part of the cooking oil /fat with coconut oil also helps soften the taste of whole wheat flour in baked goods.
- Find ways to boost the nutrition of your dish by using healthy add ins. Do you have a hard time getting your family to eat enough vegetables? They may not eat a plate of cauliflower, but I bet they would love cheesy mashed potato cauliflower casserole. Try pureeing or grating carrots and add them to spaghetti or other red sauces. Replace a couple of tablespoons of your flour in any baked good with milled flax seed. Be creative and try to match mild tasting add ins that fit your dish. Just be careful to not go overboard. More isn't better. If your add ins start affecting the taste of your dish they will be noticed and resented, so play it safe and think small.