Making Over Family Favorites, Plus an HG Recipe from Dr. Oz!

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Dear Hungry Girl,

While I love my family's recipes (they've been passed down from generation to generation), a lot of them call for rich and fatty ingredients... I'm sure these dishes are loaded with calories! How can I make them lighter?

Recipe Remaker

Hi Recipe Remaker,

Great question! Like many people, I've got plenty of family favorites that, while delicious, are pretty far from guilt-free. Thankfully, there are some fantastic ingredient swaps that can easily slim down traditional recipes. Check 'em out...

Instead of sweet potatoes... Try butternut squash! The taste and texture are very similar to sweet potatoes, but the squash is much lower in starchy carbs. It's perfect for casseroles like this sweet potato pie swap! Click here for helpful info when it comes to working with the big orange gourd.

Instead of eggs... Break out the fat-free liquid egg substitute! This is one of the most seamless, simple, and effective swaps you can make. Just replace each egg in a recipe with 1/4 cup of the substitute. You'll save around 45 calories and 5g fat for each egg you swap out, and those numbers add up fast! Egg Beaters Original is my go-to egg substitute. It's essentially egg whites with a few added nutrients. Use it in pretty much any recipe that calls for eggs. Click here for more details!

Instead of regular ground beef... Go for extra-lean ground beef, lean ground turkey, or ground-beef-style soy crumbles (like the kind by Boca or MorningStar Farms). Extra-lean beef (4% fat or less) will save you major calories and fat while maintaining that real beef flavor. The lean turkey (7% fat or less) is also an excellent guilt-free alternative. The soy crumbles will slim down your dish the most, and they have a great beefy taste -- just thaw them, season them, and use like cooked ground beef! Click for more info on all three alternatives.

Instead of dairy milk... Check out unsweetened almond milk, light soymilk, or another low-calorie milk swap. (Click here for more!) I love using Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Breeze in place of milk in dessert recipes. It has 40 calories and 3.5g fat per cup, compared to the 150 calories and 8g fat in a cup of full-fat (whole) dairy milk. There's a plain version of Unsweetened Almond Breeze, by the way. Great for savory recipes! Pretty much the only place you can't use almond milk or soymilk instead of dairy milk is in puddings and custards... The milk swaps won't "set" like dairy milk. In those cases, use fat-free dairy milk, which has about 90 calories a cup.

Instead of granulated white sugar… Consider a no-calorie granulated sweetener, like Splenda or Stevia In The Raw. Granulated sweeteners are different from the packeted products. They're specifically meant to measure cup-for-cup like real sugar. And while they do have some calories (a full cup of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener has about 96 calories), the savings are still pretty major -- a cup of granulated sugar has almost 800 calories! Since sugar substitutes can alter the taste of a recipe, you might want to swap out just half of the sugar.

More light ingredients to try! Trade out full-fat dairy items and condiments -- cheese, sour cream, mayo, etc. -- for fat-free or low-fat versions. And fat-free Greek yogurt makes an excellent sour cream swap! For creamy condensed soups, check out Campbell's 98% fat-free options. And always spritz your pots and pans with nonstick cooking spray instead of coating them with oil or butter.

By the way, there's an entire episode of Hungry Girl about revamping "Mom's Favorites" -- click for those recipes!  

Hi HG,

You mentioned on The Dr. Oz Show that those roasted chickpea snacks sold at supermarkets can be made at home. How do I do it, and what are the stats?

Chickpea Chick

Hi CC,

Thanks for watching... I love Dr. Oz! Yes, you can totally make your own crunchy chickpeas. They're great for snacking, since chickpeas have lots of fiber and protein. Here's a recipe for the DIY treat!

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas
1/4th of recipe (about 1/4 cup): 92 calories, 1.5g fat, 337mg sodium, 15.5g carbs, 4.5g fiber, 1g sugars, 5g protein -- PointsPlus® value 2*

One 15-oz. can chickpeas/garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
Optional spices: chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Thoroughly pat dry the rinsed beans. Discard any skins that were removed while drying.

Place beans on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes.

Rearrange beans on the sheet, either with a spatula or by gently shaking the sheet (use an oven mitt!). Bake until browned, 15 - 25 minutes.

Transfer beans to a medium bowl. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and any optional spices. Toss to coat.

Let cool for a crispier snack, or enjoy warm!


P.S. If you want to buy the things ready-made, check out the options from The Good Bean... Good stuff!

Family and friends alike are gonna love these amazing swaps and snacks. Click "Send to a Friend" now!


Tomorrow, August 1st, is the start of National Sandwich Month. Prepare for celebration!

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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints
® trademark.

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