Healthy cooking does not have to be all raw vegetables and lean chicken breasts (although they are both indispensable to the healthy cook!). There are ways to make your favorites a little healthier without sacrificing flavor and mouthfeel.
Grilled Sandwiches: Instead of slathering bread with butter to make a panini or grilled cheese, spray it with a little olive oil cooking spray. It still crisps and browns beautifully with a fraction of the fat and calories.
Dairy: Always sub in the lowest-fat dairy you can for full-fat milk, cheese, yogurt or sour cream in recipes. You might get a slightly thinner texture; experiment to see what works and what tastes good and melts well.
Grains: Use chicken broth to cook rice or couscous instead of butter. And try whole grains whenever possible; sub in brown rice for white, or bulgur for couscous, for example. They can take a long time to cook, but many grains freeze well, so cook a double batch and freeze some for your next recipe.
Vegetables: Use a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of herbs, or a splash of balsamic vinegar to add flavor instead of butter. Adding extra vegetables to a recipe is one of the the best ways to add volume and nutrition so you are filled up faster for fewer calories; if you're making a recipe, you can probably put in as much as twice the amount of vegetable called for. For example, toss some frozen peas in with the pasta for macaroni and cheese, add some chopped tomatoes to your spaghetti sauce, or top sandwiches and burgers with lettuce and tomato.
Meat: Always choose the leanest cut possible, and trim visible fat before cooking. Take the skin off chicken before you eat it, also; most of the fat resides there.
What are your favorite healthy swaps?