Recipe modification tips

Favourite and traditional recipes can often be modified to include more fibre, more fruit and vegetables and less saturated fat, added sugars, added salt and less kilojoules.

Adding more fibre, more fruit and vegetables

  • Vegetables and fruit are lower in kilojoules than most other foods, so adding more to a recipe will lower the kilojoule content of the total dish.
  • Adding more fibre will also make you feel fuller, without adding extra kilojoules.
  • Swap some of the meat or chicken for cooked or canned legumes.
  • Swap some of the meat or chicken for chopped or grated vegetables.
  • Add more vegetables to pasta and rice dishes and extra to soups.
  • Swap half of the refined white flour for wholemeal flour.
  • Swap white pasta for wholegrain pasta, white rice for brown rice or barley.
  • Use chopped nuts to garnish salads, stuffed vegetables, stir fries, casseroles, crumbles and pasta.
  • Add chopped or grated vegetables or fruit to pikelets, pancakes, scones and muffins.

Using less saturated fat

  • Using less saturated fat will be good for heart health and also reduce the kilojoules in the dish.
  • Swap butter for unsaturated margarine or oil in recipes.
  • Swap high fat ingredients for low fat alternatives such as using yoghurt instead of sour cream in recipes.
  • Use smaller amounts of high fat ingredients eg use less cheese and swap to a reduced fat stronger parmesan cheese.
  • Remember that unsaturated fats, while better for heart health, are also high in kilojoules so still use only small amounts, especially if trying to lose weight.

Use less sugars

  • Often the sugars in a recipe can be reduced by a third or even by half without affecting the final product. Sometimes it works well to reduce the amount gradually and let taste buds adapt more slowly.
  • Reducing the sugar content will also mean fewer kilojoules.
  • Adding fruit to a recipe can add sweetness and flavour and reduce the need to add sugars.
  • It’s important to remember that honey, raw sugar, brown sugar and golden syrup are some of the alternate names for sugar and have similar kilojoules to sugar.

Use less salt

  • Taste buds will adapt less salt added to recipes. Again, it will often work well to reduce added salt gradually.
  • But most of the salt in a recipe actually comes from the ingredients rather than by adding table salt.
    • Use no added salt products when you can for example no added salt tinned tomatoes and tomato paste
    • Read labels to compare products and choose the ingredient with less salt (sodium)
  • Use smaller amounts of high salt ingredients such as sauces and add more low salt flavours instead, such as herbs, spices, garlic or ginger.

Putting it all together