University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

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Publication #FAR8019

Recipe Reform1

Linda Bobroff2

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. Recent 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 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. Use less fat in recipes, and substitute heart-healthy oils like olive or canola oil for solid fats. 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 University of Florida IFAS Extension, the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, and of WUFT-FM. If you'd like to learn more, please visit our website at

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This document is FAR8019, one of a series of the Family Youth and Community Sciences Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Broadcast as program 119 and published December 2007. Reviewed January 2015. In the interest of time and/or clarity, the broadcast version of this script may have been modified. Visit the EDIS website at


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.