What’s a good substitute for butter?

For starters, I’m not opposed to butter.  It’s a product that comes from nature, and it’s ok to use in moderation.  The important thing to keep in mind is that butter has a high saturated fat content,

Earth Balance spread is a great alternative to butter (http://www.earthbalancenatural.com)

so try to use small amounts and alternate it with oils that are lower in saturated fat, like vegetable oils.

Margarine was originally marketed as a “healthier” alternative to butter because it’s made with vegetable oil rather than cream.  Margarine is in fact lower in saturated fat, but it is often partially-hydrogenated, meaning it contains trans fats.  (Trans fats increase the risk of heart disease and have a negative effect on cholesterol levels.)  However, margarines or spreads without trans fats do exist and taste great—my favorite is Earth Balance Buttery Spread because it tastes great on whole-wheat toast and has a similar texture to butter.

  • For cooking, use vegetable oils, including organic canola, sunflower or coconut oils are high heat and olive oil at medium heat.
  • For baking, try pureed dried plums, Greek yogurt, applesauce, mashed black or white beans.  The flavor may change a bit (although in some cases you would never know!), but the same type of moistness can be achieved with less fat and added nutrients.
  • As a spread, try mashed or sliced avocado, hummus or almond butter for a solid boost of good nutrition and flavor.

Black bean brownies?! You’d never know the difference! (www.huffingtonpost.com)

How do you cut down on butter in your diet?  Share your great tips with us in the comment section.

– Stacey Antine, M.S. R.D., author, Appetite for Life and founderHealthBarn USA

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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