5 WAYS TO MAKE ANY RECIPE MORE MACRO-FRIENDLY
As much as I love a traditional family recipe, when you’re tracking your macros or simply trying to be conscious of your nutrition choices, traditional recipes may not exactly “fit your macros.” Today’s post is here as a quick guide of ways to make healthier, more macro-friendly versions of your favorite recipes using simple ingredient substitutions.
1 | USE LOWER CALORIE FLOURS & POWDERS
In a recipe that calls for flour, using a lower-calorie substitute will give you more bang for your buck in regards to macro-counting. When it comes to flours, there are a few alternatives that are lower calorie than your average white flour.
When a recipe calls for 1 cup white flour (13P/1F/95C)
Try these instead:
1 cup oat flour = 21P/9F/78C
1 cup Caulipower baking mix = 8P/0F/68C
1 cup natural or vanilla flavored protein powder = macros vary across brands, but carbs will be much lower than traditional white flour
2 | USE LESS FAT (SUBSTITUTE BUTTER, MILK, CREAM, OIL ETC.)
Fat is what makes food taste good, but it’s where you can find the most hidden calories in homemade recipes. By using a substitute for butter, milk, cream, oil and other fats, you can really cut down on the calories of your favorite recipes. The next time you’re baking, try one of these healthier fat alternatives without surrendering taste.
GREEK YOGURT: substitute equal volume of yogurt for fat
APPLESAUCE: use half the amount of applesauce in place for butter
AVOCADO: substitute equal volume of avocado for fat
PUMPKIN or BANANA PUREE: use ¾ the amount of puree in place of butter or the same amount in place of oil
GROUND FLAX SEEDS: use 3 TBSP of Ground Flax Seeds + 1 TBSP of water for every tablespoon of fat
PB2 POWDER: in a recipe that calls for nut butter, try substituting PB2 powder mixed with water or almond milk for a lower calorie option
3 | ELIMINATE ADDED SUGAR & USE A SUBSTITUTE
Similar to fat, recipes that call for sugar or brown sugar can be really high in calories, specifically carbs. Using a sugar substitute, like the ones below, can help make a recipe more macro-friendly without losing the sweet taste!
FRUIT PUREE: depending on what you’re making, switching out some or all added sugar in a recipe with a fruit puree, like applesauce or pureed bananas, will cut back on calories while keeping the desired sweetness.
MONKFRUIT: a low-calorie sugar substitute made from real fruit; the classic version can be used as a substitute for any recipe that calls for white sugar, while the golden version can be used for any recipe that calls for brown sugar.
STEVIA: another low-calorie sugar substitute made from stevia leaf extract; it is much sweeter tasting than sugar, so it will not be a direct 1:1 substitution. Stevia can be a couple-hundred times sweeter than sugar (depending on which product you use), so you only need a teaspoon for every cup of sugar.
4 | ELIMINATE OR CHANGE THE TOPPING/DRESSING
Another place many recipes are dense with calories is in toppings and dressings. One way to avoid these hidden calories is to eliminate the topping or dressing altogether. Another way is to substitute them with a healthier, more macro-friendly option.
LOW-CALORIE WHIP: If you’re making a recipe that’s topped with whipped cream, icing, ice cream, or something similar, opt for a non-fat lite whipped topping instead. Lite Cool Whip is just 0P/0F/3C per (2T) serving compared to Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy Vanilla Icing, which is 0P/5F/23C per (2T) serving.
FRUIT: Instead of topping a dish with a sugary syrup, icing or sugar, try using fruit as a garnish instead. Fresh berries will still add that sweetness that you’re looking for to finish off your dish without the hidden calories.
SALAD DRESSING: Salad dressings can be really high in calories per serving, especially if you’re not measuring the amount you use. A typical vinaigrette dressing has about 5-8 calories of fat per serving, which is typically 2 tablespoons. The next time you’re having a salad, try using fresh squeezed lemon in place of dressing. A flavored vinegar, like balsamic or even cottage cheese are other great alternatives to dressing, too!
TOPPINGS: Just like salad dressings, salad toppings can add a lot of calories to your meal, too. Keep an eye out for ingredients like dried cranberries or other dried fruit, croutons and nuts. Trade these out for some raw veggies, like bell peppers or pepperoncinis, carrots or celery if you still want to add some crunch to your salad without the added calories.
5 | PORTION SIZE
Other than making ingredient substitutions, the last way to keep your calories in check is to be mindful of portion size. If you’re making a casserole dish recipe, for example, use individual serving sizes instead. Not only is it easier to track but it will also keep you from making over-serving yourself. Use ramekin dishes to make sweet little mini pies or cobblers or instead or a sweet potato casserole, make open-faced single sweet potatoes with filling/garnish.
So there you have it! Some of our pro tips for making your favorite recipes more macro-friendly. What tip did you find most helpful? Share with us in the comments below!