In the Pantry: Healthy Food Swaps

On this week's episode of In the Pantry, host Aida Mollenkamp explains how you can eat healthier by swapping out certain ingredients with food substitutes that you probably already have in your kitchen.

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Use canola oil or applesauce instead of butter. Who doesn't love baking with real butter? But you have to use it in moderation. So, when butter is being called for melted in baked goods, you could instead use canola oil or applesauce, measure for measure.

Use avocado instead of butter. When a recipe calls for butter at room temperature and the butter will be mixed into the batter, try using avocado. "It won't have an avocado flavor and lends a really great rich flavor to your finished product," said Mollenkamp. She added that that whenever mayonnaise is being called for in a recipe, she uses avocado in its place. However, she recommends against using an avocado if the recipe you're baking requires mayonnaise.

Use spices instead of salt.
It's always good to cut down on using salt in recipes. Opt for fresh or dried spices to add more flavor and kick to your dishes, especially if you're making a sauce. Said Mollenkamp, "That's a really great can come to its full flavor or what we call blooming when it comes to cooking."

Use raw or roasted walnuts instead of croutons.
You'll add more nutrition and texture to your dish. Mollenkamp recommends that you toast the walnuts on a baking sheet in an oven set at 250 degrees.

Use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs or panko.
If you want the oats to have a fine texture like breadcrumbs, put them in a food processor and pulse them a few times.

Use white whole-wheat flour instead of regular all-purpose flour.
"The 'white' part is really important because it won't have that same chewy texture, real nuttiness that whole wheat flour has, said Mollenkamp.

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Use quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein and all nine amino acids recommended in human diets. But it also works to soak up sauces in the same way as rice.

For more cooking tips and tricks, check out host Aida Mollenkamp's book, "Keys to the Kitchen."

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