6 All-Natural Ingredient Swaps

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This month’s One-Day Meal Plan features recipes from The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, 2nd Edition. For author Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, simple—and all-natural—ingredient swaps are a no-brainer. They can help you reduce calories or improve the overall nutritional quality of your meals without sacrificing flavor. Here are six of Jackie’s secrets. Most swaps come straight from the cookbook’s recipes!

1. Butter

Instead of 1 Tbsp butter, sauté with  2 tsp grapeseed oil, extra-virgin olive oil or another heart-healthy vegetable oil. In baking recipes, to replace 1 Tbsp butter, use 1 tsp of unsalted butter + 1 1/2 tsp of heart-healthy oil.

2. Cheese

Instead of 1 oz regular cheese, use just 3/4 oz high-flavored cheese in a recipe. (Think: extra-sharp instead of mild cheddar cheese.) When it’s so flavorful, you can use less cheese and save some calories.

3. Mayonnaise

Instead of 2 Tbsp mayonnaise, spread 2 Tbsp hummus, black bean dip, tzatziki or guacamole on your sandwich.

4. Salad Dressing

Instead of 1/4 cup bottled creamy dressing, blend 1/4 cup cubed fruit  with 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil + 1 Tbsp vinegar.

5. Salt 

Instead of 1 tsp salt, mix 1/2 tsp sea salt + 1/2 tsp grated lemon zest + up to twice the amount of herbs or spices already in a recipe. For the freshest, fullest flavor, Newgent recommends adding fresh herbs to a dish toward the end of the cooking process or just before serving.

6. Sour Cream

Instead of 1/4 cup sour cream, use 1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt or quark (a soft, fresh cheese).

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