Healtier Recipes

Healthy Eating

All Healthy Living

Adopting healthier eating habits doesn’t have to mean throwing out all your old favorite recipes. Sometimes just a few simple adjustments can turn those family favorites into healthy morsels. Try out these 5 easy recipe modifications and you’re in for a treat: these adjustments will probably make your recipes taste even better by bringing out natural flavors! Bon Appetit!

By Deb Stepler 

Healthy Habit #4 encouraged reducing saturated fats and Healthy Habit #6 encouraged reducing excess sugar in our diets. We all have recipes that are our favorites. Some have been handed down and are full of saturated fats, sugar and excess calories, but we hate to give them up.

The solution? Many recipes can tolerate change without affecting the taste. I’m going to give you five ways to do this.

  1. Reduce the amount of fat, sugar and salt.
    • Fat: For baked goods, use half the butter or oil the recipe calls for and add unsweetened applesauce.
    • Sugar: Reduce the sugar by 1/3 or 1/2. When you use less sugar, add spices, such as cinnamon, cloves or flavorings such as vanilla.
    • Sodium: reduce or delete completely, as long as the recipe does not call for yeast.
  2. Make a healthy substitution. I do not use white flour at all anymore. I use whole wheat only. You triple the fiber and reduce calories. I use skim milk. You save 63 calories and 8 grams of fat.
  3. Delete an ingredient. Eliminate items like frosting and coconut, which are high in saturated fat and calories.
  4. Change the method of preparation. Healthy cooking techniques such as broiling, grilling and steaming can capture the flavor and reduce fats. If directions call for basting the meat or vegetables in oil or drippings, use fruit juice or vegetable juice instead. Use non-stick pans or spray lightly with cooking spray, to further reduce the amount of fat and calories.
  5. Change the portion size. If you want a piece of the triple layer double chocolate cake, have a piece, but, eat a small portion and don’t indulge everyday. (And make sure you get in your walking for the day!)

This is one of my favorite recipes that I “tweaked” for a healthier cobbler.

Peach Cobbler

Original Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 cups fruit
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice cinnamon


Modified Ingredients

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 4 cups fruit
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice cinnamon



Melt butter and mix in applesauce; coat a 9×13 pan. Mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder. Add milk and stir well. Pour batter in pan. Do not stir. Bring to boil lemon juice, 1/2 cup sugar and fruit. Pour fruit over batter. Do not stir. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake at 375° for 45 min.



I use fresh peaches. I freeze peaches in season to make cobbler in winter. I found that by using less sugar in this recipe, the flavor of the peaches is enhanced. Old recipes, like old habits, don’t really have to be that hard to change for the better!!


Deb Stepler is co-owner of Mercersburg Market.