Looking to eat better? Tried low-fat and reduced-sodium products, but they just don’t taste the same? If you want to modify your diet without giving up the tastes you love, substituting natural ingredients, rather than modified versions of unhealthy ingredients, could do the trick.
With a little ingenuity, you can find ways to work healthier alternatives into your diet that might lead to more satisfying eating. Take apples – the fruit can be used for much more than just a healthy snack or side item during lunch. Products made from apples, an excellent source of vitamin C and other nutrients, can easily be substituted for butter, sugar and other less healthy products.
Tree Top, a cooperative of 1,000 grower-owners and producer of apple sauce, apple juice and a variety of other apple products, offers these suggestions for using apple products as substitutes.
- Replace butter with apple sauce in baking recipes. This will cut the fat in a recipe by nearly 75 percent. Using apple sauce will create a moist, light cake or brownie batter that is lower in fat and higher in both vitamin C and fiber.
- Marinate meat or fish in different varieties of apple juice to add extra flavoring without the extra sodium and substantial calories.
- Reduce the sugar used in many recipes by replacing white sugar with apple juice concentrate. Use 3/4 cup of concentrate for every cup of sugar.
- Freeze different varieties of apple juice in plastic cups to make frozen treats or in ice cube trays to zest up water and encourage its consumption.
- Add more fruit and flavor to your diet with apple iced tea. Just replace half the water with apple juice instead.
By using these steps as a guide, you can also come up with your own healthy substitutions that you might think would be particularly flavorful. You never know, you might find yourself liking the new flavors more than those that resulted from using less healthy ingredients.
Tree Top also offers the following healthy recipes that use apple products as substitutions:
Raspberry Layered Bars
1 cup flour
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
2/3 cup, firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 egg white
10-ounce jar red raspberry spread
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray 9-by-12-inch baking pan with non-stick spray. In a bowl, stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon and baking soda. Stir in walnuts. In a small bowl, beat together apple sauce and egg white with fork. Add apple sauce mixture to oat mixture, mix with fork (mixture will be sticky). Set aside 1 cup of mixture for topping. Press remaining amount in pan to form a crust. Spread preserves on top. Drop small spoonfuls of reserved mixture over the top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until brown. Cool completely and cut into bars.
Teri-Apple Chicken Wings
1 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup salad oil
2 tablespoons molasses
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons orange marmalade
3 to 4 pounds chicken wings
Combine all ingredients, except wings if they will be served as appetizers. To disjoint, cut off small tip at joint and discard. Then cut other joint, making two small drumstick pieces. Put chicken wings in a shallow pan and pour sauce over. Refrigerate, covered, four hours or overnight. Bake at 350 F for about one hour, or until meat is tender. Spoon the sauce over the top while cooking.
Tree Top offers more ways to use fruit as a healthier alternative in cooking at www.TreeTop.com.