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7 Healthy Cooking Hacks You've Gotta Try

  • Blaine Moats

    Swap Out Butter

    One of Homolka's most brilliant ways to slash fat when baking: Substituting a quarter-cup of mashed avocado for butter in her Double Chocolate Chunk Walnut Cookies. "They taste too good to be light—and you can't detect the taste of avocados at all," Homolka says. When playing with avocado, start by replacing a quarter-cup for butter and work your way up. This trick works best in cookies that call for cocoa powder, to mask any green color.

  • Blaine Moats

    Cut the Heavy Cream

    Another secret ingredient Homolka uses to lighten up baked goods: low-fat buttermilk. She subs it in for heavy cream and milk in recipes for scones, biscuits, pancakes, and more.

  • Reprinted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (Clarkson Potter)

    Ramp Up Roasted Vegetables

    Tired of the same routine of drizzling vegetables with olive oil before sticking them in the oven? Us, too. Coax more flavor out of everything from winter squash and Brussels sprouts to kale and sweet potatoes by rubbing coconut oil all over them and seasoning with salt.

  • Reprinted from The Skinnytaste Cookbook (Clarkson Potter)

    Make a Mean (and Lean) Burger

    Whether you're making patties with ground turkey or extra lean or grass-fed ground beef, guarantee juiciness by adding three-quarters of a cup of grated (and squeezed of excess liquid) zucchini for every one and a quarter pounds of meat to the patty mixture.

  • Andrew Scrivani

    Lighten Up Pancakes

    Swap half a cup of all-purpose flour with white whole wheat flour (tougher to detect than the standard kind).

  • Jason Donnelly

    Go for Applesauce

    Not a fan of avocado? Then swap out butter or oil for applesauce, which will also lend a natural sweetness and fiber. As a general rule, replace half the fat in a recipe—quick breads, muffins, cookies—with applesauce.

  • Karla Conrad

    Go Greek

    Love a good chicken salad? Make one that's not drenched in mayo by reaching for Greek yogurt. The thick, tangy substitute not only packs more protein, but also gives the salad enough creaminess. Use the same trick for potato salad and egg salad.