Michelle Cardel, Ph.D., R.D., was featured in a news segment about healthy eating that aired to more than 14,000 Orlando-area viewers March 28 on the TV news station Fox 35 Orlando. In the segment, titled “Sweet Swaps: Healthy Alternatives for your Favorite Foods,” Cardel presented intriguing ‘food swaps’ that can lower the fat and calorie count of your next meal. Cardel, a nutrition and obesity researcher, is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Outcomes & Policy and a registered dietitian.
Among the numerous food swaps presented, Cardel suggested replacing sour cream in recipes or as a food topping with nonfat plain Greek yogurt. In a taste test she conducted, children could not tell the difference between the two products, making this substitution kid-friendly while cutting the amount of fat and calories in half. She also suggested switching from croutons to almonds or walnuts in salads, from cream to evaporated skim milk in soups and other recipes, from salt to spices such as garlic and onion powder to season foods, from flour to black bean puree for baking, and from butter to avocados in recipes.
“It’s important for people to know that they can still have their favorite foods and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Cardel said. “Part of my research focuses on finding ways to help people and children lose weight in a healthy manner. By replacing ingredients that we wouldn’t necessarily notice in a recipe, we maintain the healthy side while still being able to indulge our sweet – or savory – tooth.”