Posts Tagged ‘recipe substitutions’

blueberry muffin

We all know that there are many reasons to eat more fruits and vegetables. Baking a batch of muffins is a great way to add extra produce to your diet, especially if you have overripe fruit or vegetables that you want to use before they spoil. Apples, pears, carrots, zucchini, bananas, berries and citrus fruits make great additions to baked goods. To bake a healthy treat, search for or modify a favorite recipe with your favorite fruits or veggies and these tips:

  1. Substitute half the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour for extra fiber. Note that substituting more than half may yield muffins that are too dense.
  2. Substitute half the oil with applesauce or half the butter with plain, nonfat yogurt to reduce the fat content. This tip works well for muffins because they are baked in a tin, but it does not work well if you are baking without a mold; for example, if you are making cookies on a cookie sheet.
  3. Cut back on the sugar. The sugar content of most recipes can be cut by up to half without changing the flavor of the end product.
  4. Add small amounts of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice or cloves to sweeten your product without adding calories.

My favorite muffin recipes involve whole grains such as whole wheat flour or oats; applesauce; spices; and various fruits and vegetables. These recipes result in healthy treats that can be eaten right away OR frozen for quick, pre-portioned breakfasts or snacks. Here are a few that I have tried and enjoyed, or that I would like to try:

Do you have a favorite muffin recipe to share? If so, let us know by commenting below!


Author: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, lobb.3@osu.edu

Reviewer: Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County, bohlen.19@osu.edu



Brinkman, P. (2015). Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier. OhioLine. https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5543

Fruits and Veggies More Matters. Top 10 Reasons to Eat MORE Fruits and Vegetables. https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/top-10-reasons-to-eat-more-fruits-and-vegetables

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I can almost smell the celery and onions sautéing as they await grandma’s stuffing recipe… Mmmmmm… Have you also been thinking about your Thanksgiving meal, either what you will prepare or what you will eat? Food is an important part of most holiday traditions and memories, especially Thanksgiving. This year, maybe there is a way to take your traditional favorites and lighten them up a bit. Here are some great tips from USDA’s ChooseMyPlate.gov:

Tweek the Sweet – How about serving fruit as a colorful healthy option for dessert? Try a crustless pumpkin pie.

Cheers to Good Health – The best low calorie drink ever is water! You can add a special “twist” with a slice of lemon or lime or raspberries. Another alternative is seltzer water with a little 100% fruit juice for flavor.

Bake Healthier – Did you know you can substitute unsweetened applesauce or any fruit puree for the butter in recipes? Try replacing butter with ½ fruit puree and ½ canola oil to reduce the saturated fat and increase the fiber.

Spice it up – Use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg and you can reduce the amount of sugar in a sweet recipe. Use more herbs and less salt in savory dishes.

2013-11-28 09.20.52Brighten your meal – Let the rainbow of colors found in vegetables and fruit brighten the buffet table, fill (at least ½) your plate with high quality nutrition and fiber and even help you control your weight and blood pressure.

Skim the fat –Use evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream in all your holiday baking.

Swap the grains – Add a little whole grain to your buffet. When I make bread in my breadmaker, I usually use half white flour and half whole wheat flour. You can sneak whole wheat flour into other recipes as well.

Go easy on the gravy – Think “drizzle” instead of “drown”. You can also try putting a few tablespoons on the side of your plate and dipping your turkey into the gravy.

Enjoy leftovers – Leave some for later! Be creative in how you use leftovers… turkey in wraps or soups and veggies in omelets. It’s fine to continue enjoying your leftovers up to five days after the holiday, then freeze for later use.

Focus on family and fun – After your meal, go for a walk, toss a ball around, MOVE a little. Just standing up (as opposed to sitting) allows your digestive system to work a little better.

Give to others – What better way to celebrate our abundance than by sharing it with those who have less? I have a friend that would make an extra Thanksgiving feast and deliver one to a shelter. That was a favorite memory and part of the holiday every year for her son.

Maybe I’ll sauté those celery and onions in a little olive oil instead of butter and use some extra sage and less salt. How will you make your holiday healthy this year?


“Make Healthier Holiday Choices,” 10 Tips Series No. 32. 2013. USDA. www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet32MakeHealthierHolidayChoices.pdf

“MyPlate Holiday Makeover.” 2013. USDA. www.choosemyplate.gov/downloads/infographics/2013-HolidayMakeover.pdf

Rodack, J. “9 Healthy Substitutions for Everyday Foods.” American Heart Association. 2014. https://www.goredforwomen.org/live-healthy/heart-healthy-cooking-tips/healthy-substitutions/

“The Natural Beauty of Fruits and Vegetables.” American Heart Association. 2014. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/SimpleCookingwithHeart/The-Natural-Beauty-of-Fruits-and-Vegetables_UCM_430112_Article.jsp

Written by: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County

Reviewed by: Kathryn Dodrill, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Washington County

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