TODAY   |  October 10, 2012

Swap pasta, potatoes for healthier alternatives

The foods you like to indulge in are most likely starchy, fatty, and sweet, because that’s where all the flavor is. But if you’re trying to eat healthier, TODAY’s diet and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom shows there are simple ways to swap out the carbs, oil, and sugar for different ingredients that still taste good.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> you're trying to eat healthier, simple ways to get out the oil, carbs and sugar and add calorie conscious ingredients to make it taste good. our diet and nutrition expert joins us. mah madeline, good morning. i'll terrorist you that it tastes good.

>> people eat for taste. you want to eat healthy but taste is number one. you want really good food and taste which is what you want.

>> let's start off with carbs. we know why our bodies love them and they taste so good, right? what do youdo?

>> really high in calories, and a couple of ways to swap this out is first to replace zucchini for your strips of lasagna noodles. use all of them or part of them and you'll save about 200 calories.

>> will it taste the same?

>> it will taste very good. a lot of people blend it because they don't want as many starchy noodles.

>> nice.

>> a really good tip that cuts out the starch all the way if you use the spaghetti squash .

>> i asked you in commercial break, what is this?

>> it's a squash, kind of like a pumpkin and when you open it up you have to cook, it doesn't look like this but when you strip it down it's strands that look like pasta, top it with a tomato sauce , a meat sauce.

>> can i taste it?

>> okay.

>> not spaghetti but it's good.

>> i love mashed potato and how do we knock off a mashed potato ?

>> by using another white vegetable, something like parsley. mix them half and half with potatoes or just substitute them. pasnips are like carrots, cook them and mash them like a potato this. will cut the calories to almost nothing.

>> this is what this turned into. that's like magic so let's keep going. let's see our next knockoff. fats come in the version of mayonnaise and things like that.

>> sometimes we cut out fat, we cut out a lot of flavor. i don't want this. thick and gunky and what you can do to get the flavor of a rick and creamy dressing like butter milk . it's got some tang.

>> i would think fat if i saw butter milk .

>> in current times butter milk is 1%.

>> not in the olden days.

>> not living on the fm anymore.

>> i've been dissed. i am from the country. i thought it was fattening. what do we do in.

>> use butter milk as a base and use a little bit of mayonnaise and sour cream to get the tang from the yogurt and put this on. this is thick. that's what people look for. not going to be watery.

>> i'll be the tester. is it good?

>> it's tangy, but i like it. that's good stuff.

>> something people want. they want the creaminess of a soup. cream is a key word but there's going to be, just in a tablespoon of cream, five tablespoons of fat and 50 calories, what you can do is thicken up soups either with evaporated regular milk. that means take out water. you have the dairy product and flavor with far fewer calories, or kind of a lazy man's way. take instant potato flakes so if you were going to make mashed potatoes , dump in some water and they poof and plump up and you have mashed potatoes . if you put these flakes in anything else, things you want to thicken, it will soak up and give you a natural blend.

>> creaminess without all the calories.

>> i'm a chocolate fanatic. probably won't convince me but i'll listen.

>> these were developed at our nbc commissary here and the big difference instead of a cup of oil this is replaced with greek yogurt . it will give the thickness and creaminess because texture is important. i want you to taste this.

>> oh, okay.

>> you can cut down most of the fat with yogurt.

>> you can put this in any brownie mix recipe and you cut down the fat from nearly a cup of oil to about two tablespoons.

>> oh, okay.

>> someone said don't do it as i was doing it. it's delicious. i'm not kidding.

>> again, these are not no calories. it goes from 200 to about 120.

>> good enough for me. i'll take it home. next. that's how you know it's good. i'm taking it with me.

>> one of the best ways to cut down on sugar, instead of fluff, peanut butter fluff. two tablespoons of this is about 40 calories.

>> instead of frosting.

>> instead of frosting.

>> and it cuts the sugar down by 75%.

>> is this safe for me?

>> why do you say that?

>> because somebody said don't do it. coming up next, kathie lee and hoda after your local news. oh, it's good.

>> don't do it.