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Making recipes healthier

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We all have our favorite comfort foods, but these meal choices aren't always the healthiest options.

Fortunately, there are many ways to make meals healthier without sacrificing all of the flavor.

As saturated fat can increase our risk for heart disease, we first want to look at cutting down on fat content in recipes.

Animal by-products, such as butter and cream cheese, often contain higher amounts of saturated fat. Therefore, try to use olive or vegetable oil in place of butter when preparing meals.

Reducing the sugar and simple carbohydrate content in our recipes is also important. Try to use a sugar-free substitute, such as Splenda, rather than real sugar when cooking or baking.

Also, replace refined white carbohydrates with more nutritious options, such as brown rice or whole wheat pasta, as these foods have higher amounts of fiber.

Many seasonings and marinades contain extremely high amounts of sodium, which can increase blood pressure and risk for heart attack and stroke.

Be sure to check the sodium content of the seasonings and spices recipes list, and try replacing the high-sodium ingredients with low-sodium options, such as Mrs. Dash products. Modifying our favorite recipes, and developing and maintaining a healthier diet is not always an easy process.

Fortunately, the exceptional team of registered dietitians at Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center are dedicated to educating individuals and families about making more nutritious diet decisions and maintaining healthier lifestyles.

Spokesperson Background:
Laura Reavis is a registered dietitian specializing in pediatric nutrition at the Cone Health Nutrition and Diabetes Management Center.

Reavis received a Bachelor of Science in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2007 and earned a Master of Science in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2009.