It’s getting to be that time of year again. Cooler temperatures, sweater weather and comfort food. Things like chowder, bisque and some of our favorite pasta sauces and desserts. The problem is, all of these foods are typically made with heavy cream.
Heavy cream is also known as heavy whipping cream. If you’re wondering why it’s called “heavy”, here’s a few reasons:
- It has nearly 40 percent milk fat content
- It’s the richest cream readily available
- It’s used for thickening sauces and making desserts
If you’re making your own whipped cream, you’ll find your recipe is better off with heavy cream than whipping cream because it whips better and holds its shape longer.
So, before your diet blows away with the fall leaves, you may want to find a healthy substitute for heavy cream.
Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
If you’re looking for a healthy substitute for heavy cream you can start in the dairy case. Good dairy substitutes for heavy cream include:
- Greek Yogurt
- Cream Cheese
Mixing ¼ cup of melted butter with ¾ cup of milk (or half and half) will get you a heavy cream that’s better for baking, but won’t whip as well. If you don’t want to use half and half, you can also try evaporated milk. This will get you one cup of heavy cream.
For your Alfredo sauce you can mix low-fat or non-fat versions of sour cream, Greek yogurt or cream cheese with either chicken broth or milk. This will get your sauce the proper consistency. Greek yogurt will provide more protein than regular yogurt, but you determine the ratio of ingredients based on how thick you like your sauce.
Non-Dairy Substitutes for Heavy Cream
If those dairy options don’t delight you there are some health substitutes for heavy cream that are non-dairy, too. Non-dairy options will eliminate things like saturated fat and include:
- Soy milk
- Olive oil
For a vegan, dairy-free alternative, mix soy milk with olive oil. It will turn out similarly to pairing milk and butter. Combining ⅔ cup of soy milk with ⅓ cup olive oil creates a consistency and flavor comparable to heavy cream. Mixing tofu and soy milk may also work for you.
Pureed cauliflower is often used by vegetarians in place of the heavy cream found in most Alfredo recipes.
Cashew cream can also be used as the base of your sauce. This cream is made by soaking raw cashews overnight and blending them with water until creamy. Although this option is a bit higher in fat, it is mainly the healthy monounsaturated or “healthy” fat.
Other Ways to Make Alfredo Sauce Healthier
A couple of other things to consider when you’re looking for a healthy substitute for heavy cream include:
- Using a small amount of olive oil instead of butter will decrease the amount of saturated fat.
- Low-sodium chicken broth will help to keep your soups and sauces heart healthy.
By eating healthier you can prevent many diseases that kill thousands of people each year. A little forethought can easily decrease the calories and fat from your recipes, without losing a lot of taste or consistency. The American Heart Association also has some recommendations.
If you’d like to get more tips to eat healthier, especially on a busy schedule, download our guide: “Eating Healthy on a Busy Schedule.” Inside you’ll find a week’s worth of easy meal planning and preparation.