Wanna swap? No, not kids, wives, spit or shoes. I’m talkin’ food. There are a lot of “swaps” out there that can instantly improve your diet and nutrition. For example, switching from 2% milk to Skim/Nonfat saves you 40 calories and 5 grams of fat per serving. And using wheat bread instead of white for your toast adds over 30 essential nutrients, including the oh-so-important fiber! A swap that I recently mentioned on Facebook was applesauce – use 1/3C unsweetened applesauce instead of 1/3C oil in baked goods and save 600 cal & 71g of fat. That’s insane!! – And I pinkie swear you won’t taste the difference.
Disclaimer: All pinky swearing is simply a sneaky tactic to get you to believe me, and do not in fact hold the author (me) responsible for anything. And I’m always right, except for that time in 7th grade when I pinkie swore my friend Ginger that we wouldn’t get caught egging her neighbor’s house….we were only grounded for a month. No big deal.
I thought that I had pretty much heard all of the “swaps” out there – I mean, how many can there be, really? Imagine my surprise last Sunday when, while catching up on my Better Homes & Gardens, I came across an “are you SERIOUS?” swap in a short article about foods for your heart. “Instead of worrying about what you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you should” the article states. Right on!
The article mentioned berries, chia seeds, broccoli, fish, dark greens, nuts, oats, olive oil, pure pomegranate juice and beans. Beans are pretty standard stuff, right? Except for this. Wait for it.
“Next time you’re craving brownies, drain, rinse and puree a 15-oz. can of black beans with 1/4C of water and use in place of eggs and oil. Add it to your store bought mix and only your heart will notice the swap.”
Shut. The. Front. Door. And. Back. The. Bus. Up.
You are telling me to put black beans in my brownies? Why? Why would I DO that? Because BHG said so, that’s why. The article told me that it would add antioxidants, fiber, electrolytes and phytonutrients to those little brown squares of ooey-gooey goodness. And I already knew that by saying buh-bye to the oil, I miss out on a ton of unwanted calories and saturated fat.
Questions? Yes, you in the back.
“That sounds great and all Meg, but what in the Brooklyn Dodgers is a phytonutrient?
Let’s break down four of the key heart nutrients that beans will add:
Antioxidants protect the heart and blood vessels from harmful free radicals. Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as the mineral selenium, are some of the antioxidants found in beans.
Fiber reduces levels of harmful LDL cholesterol and might ease chronic inflammation, a contributor to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Electrolytes help ensure steady blood pressure and a healthy heart rhythm. They include potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
Phytonutrients are plant compounds that protect arteries from inflammation and help ward off blood clots.
Let’s just say they were Dance of Joy good. I followed the recipe on the back of Trader Joe’s Gluten Free Brownie Baking Mix, tossed in a few chocolate chips, mixed and baked! I did use about 1C of water to puree the beans instead of 1/4C like BHG suggested because it was a bit too dry. This swap was SO easy! And no, I did not taste, see or smell the black beans.
After doing a little research, I found some other bloggers and bakers are using this swap too for cookies, doughs, and breads. Once again, I’m totally behind the times but what’s new? Now I know and now YOU know and now we can be cool at dinner parties.
What is your favorite “swap” when you bake or cook?
Did you ever get grounded as a kid? What for?