How to Modify a Recipe

Learn how to modify a recipe to fit a diabetes-friendly diet by using the following guidelines. In general, modify your recipes to reduce fat, cholesterol, calories and sugar by: 
  • Changing your ingredients,
  • Changing your cooking techniques  
Modifying Ingredients
Before changing or modifying an ingredient, ask yourself: "What's the purpose of this ingredient?"
  • vegetable stir fry with riceEliminate Unnecessary Ingredients

    If ingredients are used primarily for appearance, you may be able to eliminate them entirely and never miss them. For example, the oil added to water when cooking rice and pasta, cheese toppings, or a dollop of sour cream, can be completely eliminated.
  • Reduce the Amount Used

    Both fat and sugar can be reduced by 1/4 to 1/3 without affecting the outcome of the product. In other words, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, you can reduce it to 2/3 or 3/4 cup without noticing much difference.
  • Substitute One Ingredient for Another

    dairy products with greensExperiment with fat-free or reduced-fat products or combine full-fat ingredients with fat-free or reduced-fat products, to suit your taste.

    For example, try fat-free sour cream or plain fat-free yogurt blended with either regular or reduced-fat sour cream in casseroles, use plain fat-free yogurt with a little added mayonnaise for salad dressing, use a fat-free egg substitute or pureed fruit product when baking.

    You can also reduce sugar by substituting Splenda or Equal blends that are half sugar and half sugar substitute.

Substitution Tips

Don't be afraid to experiment with your favorite recipes. You can achieve tasty and very healthy results with just a little practice!
Modifying Cooking Techniques
To change or modify a cooking technique, ask yourself: "How can I avoid adding extra fat or sugar to foods when cooking?" 
  • barbecue ribs on the grillBake, Broil, Grill, Roast, Stew or Stir-Fry

    Choose lean cuts and trim away visible fat from meats and poultry. Cook meats over low heat or with a liquid to retain tenderness. The fat content of chicken does not change remarkably whether it is cooked with or without the skin, just be sure to remove it before eating.
  • Use Non-Stick Cookware

    Not only will clean-up be easier, but with a quick coat of vegetable cooking spray made from monounsaturated oils (olive or canola), you can avoid additional fat when pan-frying or greasing baking pans.
  • Chill Soups, Stews, Sauces and Broths After Cooking. Remove Visible Fat.

  • Choose Non-Fat Condiments More Often

    Use flavored-vinegar, mustard, lemon juice or bouillon in salad dressings, sauces and marinades. Change the ratio of oil and vinegar when using dry mixes or add some water to reduce the total amount of fat per serving.