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Aug 4, 2007 09:56 AM

Which healthy substitutes actually taste better to you?

Please indulge me here - Now that Americans need a lot fewer calories to get through the day, what kind of single- product substitutions from the typical American diet do you make? For example, I was averse to the idea of using soy milk in my morning coffee: latte with soy milk? isn't that just for vegans or people with severe health problems? But the "original" flavor soy milk actually tastes better in my coffee than 2% milk. It's also much better for me. Another example, I eat american cheese now because I love the horizon organics cheese slices.


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  1. I've been a big fan of buttered noodles since childhood. I know seem to enjoy them more with a drizzle of good olive oil and a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and perhaps a bit of freshly grated cheese on top.

    1. This may sound like splitting hairs, but I don't understand the lead sentence, "Now that Americans need a lot fewer calories to get through the day...".

      If you're suggesting that you're one of a large percentage of Americans that consume more calories than they need, that's a different thing that suggesting some genetic biological change overcame the entire country last week that changed the collective metabolism of every citizen, which is sort of how the sentence currently reads to me.

      In either case my response would be: Over the past decade I've actually gone back to full fat versions of everything because it tastes better. I just learned I don't need to stuff myself and have used that to bring my weight down a little and to control it. Chips will undo everything ;-)

      The two areas where I'm still experimenting is with oils and figuring out how to use both healthier oils and to use them more efficiently so less oil remains in the food, and trying to do without egg yolks where I think they're not absolutely necessary for cholesterol control.

      Whether I need 1500 calories or 2000 depending on what I'm burning, I'd figure it out and eat smaller portions of stuff I like than substitute things that aren't as tasty.

      Thankfully I like the taste of coffee so I have no need for a latte when a macchiato or a straight black cup of a good single origin would do. That way I can save my daily cow's milk intake for my cereal.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Panini Guy

        I meant that the average person needs fewer calories to maintain their weight due to a more sedentary lifestyle than 50, 100 years ago.

        1. re: Panini Guy

          I'm with you on the smaller portions--most low-calorie substitutes taste nasty and/or are unhealthy (e.g. sweeteners) and just aren't worth it. That said, I do sometimes use low-fat ricotta or milk in recipes without sacrificing too much flavor, and sometimes I use less oil or butter than recommended.

          1. re: Panini Guy

            ground flaxseed/meal is a great, healthy substitute for eggs in a wide range of baked goods, from muffins and cupcakes to breads and crackers.

            unfortunately if you're looking for an egg yolk replacement in recipes for sauces [i.e. aioli, bearnaise, zabaglione] or custard-like preparations, it wouldn't quite work :)

            1. re: Panini Guy

              Depending on what you're making, you can use low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock to stretch out oil.

              1. Low-fat granola cereal (regular versions taste too much like crumbled cookie)

                Baked Lays (regular versions are too greasy)

                Low-fat Wheat Thins (again, the regular version are a bit too greasy)

                9 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Don't like those baked Lays at all. They just don't taste like potato chips to me.

                  1. re: flourgirl

                    Some people like the baked chips, but to me they might as well be sawdust. Reduced fat chips, though, are better than full-fat, often.

                    1. re: flourgirl

                      IIRC, Baked Lays also contain many more artificial agents and crap than regular Lays, probably to compensate for the fact that baked potato chips are an unappealing mess.

                    2. re: ipsedixit

                      as is the case with so many 'light' or 'reduced-fat/low-fat' versions of foods, low-fat granola often isn't any healthier than its full-fat counterparts because they replace the fat with additional sugar, often in the form of evil ingredients like HFCS.

                      1. re: ipsedixit

                        Reduced fat potato chips, yes, but the "baked" ones? Only good for a salt fix, the texture is horrible, like Pringles, which to me are "kid food," food that's made for kids' immature taste buds.

                        1. re: amyzan

                          I'd rather eat Pringles than Baked Lays.

                            1. re: flourgirl

                              Thirded. I'd rather not eat than eat Baked Lays.

                            2. re: mojoeater

                              They taste pretty similar to me, but I must admit I haven't had either in years.

                        2. These are of course very *personal* preferences:

                          Spaghetti squash over pasta
                          Mashed cauliflower (no butter or cream) instead of potatoes
                          Butternut squash instead of yams/sweet potatoes (not necessarily "healthier" but lower calorie per serving)
                          egg whies to whole eggs
                          Non-fat frozen yogurt (soft serve NOT hard pack) instead of ice cream

                          1. Butter instead of margarine made with partially hydrogenated oils.