But there are still ways to avoid overeating such dishes if and when you decide to make them. One way is to reduce your portion size. For example, if your cheesy potato recipe gives the serving size as 1 cup, you can reduce your serving to 1/2 cup. That would cut the calories in half without changing the flavor and texture. If having left-over cheesy potatoes sitting in the refrigerator is too tempting, make only one serving per person, so you finish the dish at one meal.
Another option, which works well at holiday times, is to send the leftovers home with your guests. You can also share special desserts with your neighbors or coworkers. They will enjoy the treat, and you won’t be faced with half a cake or a bag of cookies enticing you to eat them.
Now that you have some ideas on how to make your recipes healthier, pick one recipe to start with, rather than trying to overhaul your entire recipe collection at once. Then pick one change to make in the recipe. For example, if you’re making a sour cream–based dip, start by substituting reduced-fat or fat-free sour cream for the regular product, but keep the other ingredients the same, then evaluate how it tastes. Could you also reduce the salt? Or does it need something added, such as a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of hot sauce? Keep notes on your changes so you can reproduce them if they worked or alter them if they didn’t.
When you make small changes, the people you’re cooking for may not even detect that you altered the recipe. Over time, however, you and they may grow to prefer the taste and texture of dishes with less fat, sodium, and sugar and with more whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and other healthful ingredients.