In Tips on Sunday 15th Oct, 2017

Old family favourites, just healthier, with smart ingredient swaps

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Favourite family recipes are about so much more than food – they’re about good times around the dinner table, shared laughter, and a feeling of comfort.

But the reason these favourites are so comforting, and yummy, is often because they’re high in saturated fat, salt or sugar.

That doesn’t mean you need to give up your family’s beloved meals, though, or disappoint the kids and grandkids when they come to visit with a bland, healthy version of the dinners they love.

Family favourites can be transformed into healthier, but still delicious, meals with a few simple changes.

Sean Anderson, the general manager of food at Cater Care, shared his five favourite ingredient swaps with us.

  • Splash out on extra virgin olive oil – studies show it’s the healthiest oil to eat and cook with.
  • Use extra virgin olive oil spray when cooking – you use much less than by pouring from a bottle, making it more economical and healthier.
  • Think about interesting alternatives to salt and sugar for flavor – black or cayenne pepper and chilli, curry, or ginger powders can be a great replacement for salt, while honey, raisins and cinnamon can fill in for sugar.
  • Roast or bake your food rather than shallow or deep frying it – oven-baked chips are just as tasty but contain much less fat.
  • Look out for low-fat and high-fibre options when shopping – they usually taste just the same when used in cooking as the full-fat or white kinds.

Sean created a delicious version of fish and chips to show how beloved family meals can be just as enjoyable, and healthier, with a few ingredient swaps.

His recipe for golden fish goujons with handmade chips and homemade tartare source involves baking the fish and chips, which is healthier than frying them, while the fish itself is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids that are great for the heart. 

“Incorporating lemon, baby capers, sweet gherkins, red onion, paprika and parsley in the homemade tartare sauce greatly enhances the dish’s flavour, which is crucial in ensuring meal enjoyment and in turn valuable nutrition,” he said.

“The meal’s not only delicious and nutritious, it is also true comfort food and for many of us, evokes happy memories of eating fish and chips with family and friends.”

Make your own golden fish goujons with handmade chips and homemade tartare sauce with Sean’s recipe here.

What’s your favourite meal for a big family dinner? Would you consider changing ingredients to make it even healthier?

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