Summer is about family, fun and food!

Curbing calories may seem like a task; however, creating healthier versions of your summertime favorites can be simple.

Here are a few recipe tips to help your family have a healthy and happy summer season … enjoy!

Swap out a cup of regular flour for a 15-ounce can of pureed black beans to add protein, complex carbohydrates and fiber into recipes like brownies. One cup of regular flour can be replaced with 1 cup of mashed black beans which have been drained and rinsed.

Whole-wheat flour can replace white flour to add additional vitamins, minerals and fiber to recipes. Whole-wheat flour can also enhance the flavor and texture of your baked goods; for every cup of white flour, use 7/8 cup of whole-wheat flour.

Unsweetened applesauce is a great substitute for sugar in cake and brownie recipes, for example.

Applesauce provides the sweetness without the extra calories. This substitution is exact — meaning ¾ cup of sugar can be replaced by ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce; however, be sure to reduce the amount of liquid (such as water) in your recipe by ¼ cup.

Unsweetened applesauce can also replace oil and butter in recipes. This works well for bread and muffin recipes as well as for brownies and cakes.

This is also an exact substitution for all your recipes; 1 cup butter can be substituted for 1 cup unsweetened applesauce.

Zucchini is the perfect pasta substitution. Use thin strips or ribbons of zucchini and sauté until soft and tender-purchase a zucchini “spiralizer” or simply make the strips using a peeler.

Along the same lines, spaghetti squash can be used in place of pasta; roast and pull apart the squash with a fork. Serve with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.

Use your favorite sugar substitute in all your baked good recipes. Products such as Truvia and Splenda can replace sugar and do not affect the integrity of the recipe. Be sure to check the label to see the actual ratio of sugar to product before using.

Carey Stites is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor and a Registered Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition. Carey is currently the Registered Dietitian working with Wellstone in Harker Heights. Contact her at

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