Altering Recipes

Changing just a few ingredients in your loved one’s favorite recipes is a quick and easy way to help him or her eat a healthier diet.

Modifying existing recipes so that the recipe has greater nutritional value is an excellent way to help your loved one maintain his or her health. When recipes are modified, ingredients such as fat, salt, and sugar are partially removed and ingredients of greater nutritional value are replaced. Although food made with substituted ingredients often does not taste exactly like the original recipe, the changes are minimal and the better health of the care recipient more than makes up for the difference.

A few ways to alter recipes to control for fat, salt, and sugar include:


  • Reducing up to one-thrid of the fat in recipes works well in gravies, sauces, puddings, and quick breads.
  • Low-fat or nonfat yogurt can be substituted for sour cream on baked potatoes and in some sauces and dips.
  • Low-fat cheese can be used in place of higher fat cheese.
  • Skim milk can be used in place of whole milk.
  • Evaporated milk or whipped nonfat dry milk can be used in place of cream in some recipes calling for whipped cream.
  • Whole grain flour can be used in place of one-fourth to one-half of refined flour.


  • In most recipes, salt can be left out or reduced by one-half.
  • Use spices and herbs in place of salt for a different flavor, including Basil, Bay leaves, Celery, Cumin, Dill weed, Garlic, Marjoram, Mint, Nutmeg, Oregano, Paprika, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, and Thyme.


  • Reducing up to one-third of the sugar in recipes works well in home canned and frozen fruits, puddings, and custards. In contrast, substituting sweeteners for sugar in cookies and cakes changes the taste more drastically.
  • Noncaloric sweeteners may be used in place of sugar in uncooked foods.
  • Add or increase Vanilla or Cinnamon in the recipe.
  • Add or increase Cardamom, which will give the food a pungent and sweet flavor.
  • Add or increase Nutmeg, which will give the food a warm and spicy flavor.
  • Add or increase Mace, which is like nutmeg but weaker.
  • Add or increase Ginger, which will give the food a spicy and sweet flavor.
  • Add or increase Mint, which will give the food a cool and sweet flavor.
  • Add or increase Caraway, Anise, or Coriander, which all have a sweet undertone.

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