Expert Q&A: Meal Makeovers

The Best Ingredients

Q: What's the first step to making over a meal?

J&L: There are really two major steps to making over a meal. The first is to identify ingredients that sabotage the good nutrition of a dish. The second step is to look for opportunities for weaving "super" nutrition into a recipe. Here's an example: The original recipe for our Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins called for two sticks of butter and all white flour. To reduce the saturated fat and increase the fiber, we nixed the butter and replaced it with 1/3 cup canola oil (a rich source of healthy omega-3 fats) and added some whole wheat flour and wheat germ. Our Have-It-Your-Way Tacos call for lean ground beef to lower the saturated fat and a can of black beans and salsa to kick up the antioxidants and fiber.

Q: What one ingredient or food you would remove from the homes of American families if you could. And why?

J&L: We would eliminate hydrogenated vegetable oils. Hydrogenated oils are in 40 percent of all supermarket food items. They're found in everything from Oreo cookies and Goldfish crackers to Crisco and chicken pot pies. Hydrogenation creates trans fatty acids -- a type of fat that can raise cholesterol levels. Currently, food companies are not required to list trans fats on their labels but the FDA will require it by 2006.

Q: What's your favorite healthy dessert recipe?

J&L: Janice's favorite dessert recipe in The Moms' Guide to Meal Makeovers is Our Favorite Chocolate Cookie made with finely chopped pecans (a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats). Liz's hands-down winner is our amazingly delicious Chocolate Pudding with Toppers. Made with 1-percent low-fat milk, it provides a big kick of calcium and unlike commercial puddings, contains no artificial colors or flavors.

 

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