I can take a quick glance at a recipe and know, with pretty good accuracy, what I can get away with changing and still end up with a dish that tastes terrific. There are simple tricks to know what we can change right off the bat. I only buy 2% cheese that saves so many points. The only difference between regular cheese and 2% cheese is the milk, think about how you buy your milk and relate that to cheese.
In egg dishes (quiches, frittatas, omelets, breakfast casseroles), you can use egg substitute in place of half the eggs. In other words, if the recipe calls for six eggs, you would blend three whole eggs with 3/4 cup egg substitute (1/4 cup of egg substitute replaces each egg).
Cook with reduced-fat or fat-free products when available -- and when they taste good. Try fat-free sour cream, fat-free half-and-half, reduced-fat cheeses, light cream cheese, light mayonnaise, extra lean meat without skin or visible fat, reduced-fat or light sausage, less-fat turkey bacon, light salad dressings, and light margarine for frosting . Many cut calories and saturated fat along with total fat. A few fat-free products are in my arsenal as well: fat-free sour cream and half-and-half, chicken broth, wine, strong coffee, fruit purees, and fruit juice. These foods add moisture, and sometimes flavor, to recipes where you aren't using a lot of fatty ingredients
Never deep-fry when you can oven-fry or pan-fry with a lot less oil. Choose canola oil or olive oil, and use about 1/2 teaspoon per serving (depending on the item). When you pan-fry or oven-fry in a controlled amount of oil, you can cut a lot of the fat and calories your food would soak up if it were submerged in hot oil. For every tablespoon of oil you cut, you'll save 120 calories and 13.5 grams of fat.
Use whole grains in your recipes whenever possible. We've already talked about whole-wheat flour, but you can also substitute brown rice for white rice, add barley to stews and casseroles, and look for recipes that call for oats. There are also multigrain blends and whole- wheat pastas to choose from in supermarkets now. Whole grains offer a plethora of health benefits, plus fiber to fill you up. One-fourth cup of dry brown rice contributes 2 grams of fiber and a 2-ounce serving of dry multigrain spaghetti adds 4 grams or more of fiber to your diet.
Switch to "smart fat" ingredients when possible. Certain fats, when used in moderation, actually have health benefits! Omega-3 fatty acids (found in fish and some plant foods like canola oil and ground flaxseed), as well as oils that contain monounsaturated fats (like olive and canola oil) and foods high in monounsaturated fats (like avocado and almonds) may help protect against heart disease. In recipes, you often have a choice of which oil or margarine to use. You can also add fish to some entree recipes instead of red meat. When a recipe calls for melted butter or margarine, you can often substitute canola or olive oil. Foods fortified with or containing omega-3s are starting to pop up in several aisles in the supermarket, including low-fat milk, eggs, and multigrain pastas.
Make over your favorite recipes....be creative!