Continuous News

Jan 18, 2013 3:51 PM by Q2 News Staff

Healthy ingredient substitutes for your next meal!

BILLINGS - Over the last month, we've all been wonderful holiday guests sampling everything our hosts placed in front of us. Let's see, there were a variety of appetizers, crock-pot soups, homemade cookies, breads, cakes and candies, cocktails and mocktails, for starters. And don't forget the main course coupled with plenty of sides. Now multiply that with the number of parties you attended. Monica Sayler of Albertsons joined the Noon News team on Friday with some suggestions that will help you eat better in 2013, without calling it a diet.

"Diet is our least favorite word, especially at the start of the New Year," said Monica. "But eating healthier and creating nutritious meals may be easier than you think. Today, we're going to talk about healthy ingredient substitutions that do make a difference.

The first step is learning what ingredients to chose and what ingredients to lose, to make every meal you create a little healthier.

Don't worry; the changes won't doom your diet to bland, boring food which is what everyone worries about. In fact, the ingredients you substitute can enrich and enhance the flavor of your meals as well as boost the nutrition content.

The secret is to make ingredient substitutions that don't sacrifice taste in pursuit of good nutrition. Let's look at these suggestions and then I'll show you some examples:

(Here's where your visuals come in and remember to use private label as much as possible.)

Instead of.........Try:
Sour cream............. Plain nonfat Greek Yogurt

Oil (in baking).......... Applesauce or Prune Puree

Regular cream cheese... Neufchatel Cheese/Low-Fat Cream Cheese

One Whole Egg......... 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute

Heavy cream........... Evaporated skim milk

Breadcrumbs...... Rolled oats, bran cereal or toasted Whole wheat bread - crushed in blender

White flour.............. Whole wheat pastry flour

Mayonnaise Plain...... nonfat Greek Yogurt

Butter (in frosting)...... Marshmallow Crème Frosting Lightly dust with powdered sugar

Regular bacon........... Canadian bacon

Oil in marinades.......... Chicken broth or Pineapple juice

1 cut nuts (walnuts/almonds)........ ½ cup nuts that are lightly toasted (to enhance the flavor)

Ground beef........... Ground lean turkey or chicken

Ice Cream Slow churned....... ice cream or nonfat frozen yogurt

Fruits in heavy syrup......... Fruits in its own juice

Sour cream.......... Hummus or Guacamole

Refined grain products........ Whole grain products (brown rice, whole wheat flour, rolled oats)

Cheese, butter or Sour cream on potatoes......... Salsa

You'll find this healthy substitution chart on Albertsons website at:

Now, let's put these into practice. We're going to make two substitutions to this quick taco salad recipe.


-1 pound of ground beef chuck which we're switching with lean ground turkey
-1 envelope taco seasoning mix which we're switching with a low salt seasoning like Mrs. Dash (or private label) or fresh garlic seasoned to taste
-¾ cup water - exclude this step if you're not using the pre-seasoned mix
-½ of a chopped onion
-1 head of Romaine lettuce shredded
-½ cup halved cherry tomatoes
-1 cup shredded Cheddar/Monterey Jack cheese blend
-¼ cup chopped black olives
-1 cup salsa
-1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)
-½ cup of sour cream which we're switching with nonfat Greek yogurt
-½ a bag of corn ships

• Brown the ground turkey in a large skillet over medium heat until crumbly and no longer pink, about 10 minutes; drain excess grease.
• Mix in taco seasoning mix and water. Bring the turkey mixture to a boil and cook until thickened, about 10 more minutes. Transfer beef to a serving bowl.
• Place chopped onion, lettuce, cherry tomatoes Cheddar cheese, black olives, salsa, jalapeno pepper, Greek yogurt and corn chips in individual serving bowls
• Allow guests to assemble their own salads from the ingredients


-1 box of Brownie Mix (private label if possible)
-1 can o15 oz black beans (private if possible)

• Drain and rinse beans. Place them back in the can and fill the can with water.
• Dump can in blender or food processor and puree.
• In a mixing bowl, mix together dry brownie mix with pureed beans.
• Pour in pan prepared per back of brownie mix. Be sure the mix is poured in as evenly as possible: because of the thickness of the batter it will not level out during baking.
• Bake in oven according to directions on brownie mix. You may need to bake a little longer to cook through.
• Makes 16 servings.

Why black beans? Our dietitian loves this (what she calls) a "stealth health" treat. Adding fiber and protein to your dessert makes it a little better for you.

Each brownie has over 2 grams fiber, a little bit of protein but lots of healthy antioxidants from the beans.

Black beans are one of the healthiest beans you can eat.

There's no need to add the oil.

Beans add moisture and texture. And no one will know.


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