Classic Recipes, Healthy Twists?>
Wellness Tip

Classic Recipes, Healthy Twists

by Wellness Letter  

Looking for healthier takes on traditional recipes that are crafted and vetted by nutrition experts? The Transamerica Center for Health Studies (TCHS) has a series of “Healthier Traditions Cookbooks” available as free downloads, including an Italian cookbook featuring 18 dishes—from eggplant Parmesan and chicken piccata to panna cotta—that substitute healthier ingredients to reduce the calories, saturated fat, and sodium and increase vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

The antipasto salad includes whole-grain bread and chickpeas; Bolognese uses lentils in place of some of the ground beef (plus adds zucchini and mushrooms), while a take on risotto uses farro instead of rice; crusty calamari is baked, not fried; the meatballs add in rolled oats; and a fettucine dish replaces cream with puréed cauliflower. Tiramisu is made with oat flour instead of fiber-less ladyfingers.

The latest free cookbook from TCHS—a nonprofit research center with an educational mission—is “Quick and Easy,” released in July 2020, which has 19 recipes that take 20 minutes or less to make, using common pantry items. The Stuffed Sweet Potato is filled with black beans; the Blackened Fish uses yogurt as the base for the sauce; the Ginger Pork & Brown Rice Salad Bowl offers a variation with lentils in place of the meat; the Mushroom Pasta recommends using legume-based pasta for more fiber and protein; the Smashed Chickpea Avocado Sandwich is a healthier take on a chicken salad sandwich; and the Banana Nice Cream gets its sweetness from its whole-food ingredients, not added sugars.

Suggestions are provided to save even more time, such as using frozen vegetables and pre-packaged grilled chicken.

Other free cookbooks include American Classics, Traditional Mexican, and Soul Food. TCHS also offers cooking demonstrations of some the recipes.

Also see a large selection of healthy recipes from the Berkeley Wellness team here.