University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR8019

Recipe Reform1

Linda Bobroff2

Figure 1. 
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Steaming beef stew with dumplings, Grandma's rich and creamy potato salad... we all have family favorite recipes that we don't want to give up as we take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. Dietary guidelines from the federal government encourage all Americans to eat a diet that promotes a healthy body weight and reduces disease risk.

The good news is that you don't have to give up favorite recipes to eat healthy. By making one or two adjustments, you can improve the nutritional value of your recipe without radically changing the taste.

Here are a few tips. To decrease the saturated fat, try substitutions. Use reduced-fat forms of high-fat ingredients when they are available. This works for sour cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese. In some recipes you can even use fat-free forms, but you may want to take it one step at a time. You can substitute low-fat plain yogurt for sour cream and evaporated skim milk for cream or half and half in many recipes.

Use lean cuts of meat and trim all the fat. In mixed dishes like beef stew, decrease the amount of meat and use lots of tasty vegetables. Substitute heart-healthy oils like olive or canola oil for solid fats in recipes. Make deep-fried foods a rare treat for your family, and learn to steam, bake, broil, microwave, and stir-fry instead.

And remember to take a brisk walk with the whole family after dinner to celebrate your healthier lifestyle!

Listening, learning, and living together: it's the science of life. "Family Album" is a co-production of UF/IFAS Extension, the UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

To listen to the radio broadcast:

The information in this fact sheet has been updated from what was originally aired in the radio broadcast to reflect current dietary recommendations, which emphasize the importance of reducing dietary saturated fat rather than overall fat for a healthy diet. See the EDIS fact sheet, Nutrition for Health and Fitness: Fat in Your Diet, (, for more information about dietary fat.



This document is FAR8019 (broadcast as program 119), one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date December 2007. Reviewed February 2018. Visit the EDIS website at In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified.


Linda Bobroff, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.