Update Grandma's Outdated Recipes

Courtney Driscoll (MM, 2010) is a registered dietitian who received her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut and her Masters in Healthcare Management from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Courtney is the Clinical Nutrition Manager for Cape Cod Healthcare. Below are her tips on updating recipes to make them more nutritious, as published on CapeCod.com.

HYANNIS – Do you love Grandma’s recipes, but worry about some of the unhealthy ingredients? Most recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation can be made healthier without losing the great taste and memories you love.

The first strategy is to read through the recipe and find areas of improvement.

  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt or butter.
  • For sautéing on the stove, try using wine, mild-flavored juice or low-sodium broth instead of oil and butter.
  • Poaching skinless chicken, fish or lean meats in water, low-sodium broth or herbs and species is a low-fat way to replace frying.
  • Select lean cuts of beef and pork – especially cuts with “loin” or “round” in their name – and remove all visible fats from meat before cooking.
  • Replace higher-fat cheeses with lower-fat options such as reduced-fat feta and part-skim mozzarella.
  • Thicken sauces with evaporated non-fat milk instead of whole milk.
  • Replace meat with plant food as sources of protein, including soybeans, pinto beans, lentils or nuts (for example in chili or lasagna.)
  • Make salad dressings with olive or canola oil.

Remember, the traditions you start with your family today are the ones you’ll pass on to future generations. So make sure they’re healthy!

For those recipes that just can’t be tweaked (they are out there), just make sure you decrease your portion size.