We hope you have enjoyed the healthy recipes featured each month in Healthy U. Hopefully a few of them have even made their way into your weekly dinner rotation, but you might be finding it hard to say goodbye to your favourite meals that might not be the healthiest. So instead of giving up on the things you love we're going to show you how you can give your favourite recipes a health makeover.


Diabetes Queensland dietitian Michelle Tong has shared her recipe makeover tips and there's so many ideas we couldn't cram them into just one issue! Some of Michelle's tips are shared below. Be sure to check the others out in the next edition of Healthy U.


1. Check your fats


For most recipes, especially savoury ones, you can reduce the amount of butter or oil by a third to a half straight away. This can make a huge difference to the overall fat content while having virtually no effect on the taste of your meal.

Michelle's tips on reducing fat in recipes:


  • Reduce the amount of butter or oil in most recipes by one-third to one-half


  • Swap saturated fats like butter with unsaturated fats like olive or canola oil


  • Remove all visible fats, including chicken skin, from your meatbeforeyou cook them


  • Use low fat alternatives such as reduced fat cheese or milk in your recipes


  • Swap sour cream for natural yoghurt


  • Swap cream cheese for ricotta or cottage cheese.


2. Add vegetables


At DQ we love vegetables and believe they should be added to everything! Every dinner and lunch recipe should contain veggies, so if they don't, add them in.


Veggies are low in kilojoules and high in vitamins and fibre. By adding more veggies you can reduce the overall kilojoule and fat content while increasing the fibre and nutrient value.


Try to think beyond just adding your veggies as a side dish and think about how you can also include them in your main dish and your meals will go further.


Michelle's tips on adding more vegetables to your recipes:


  • If your recipe already contains vegetables, double the amount suggested in the recipe


  • Add mushrooms, onion, capsicum, grated carrots, zucchini or whatever is in the fridge to mince, curries, stir-fries and casseroles


  • Swap a cream-based sauce for a tomato-based sauce


  • Try going for a meat-free Monday and substitute your meat for a vegetable- based alternative. 


Michelle's Favourite Recipe Makeover


I love lasagne! But I know with all that cheese, white sauce and fatty mince, it's not a great choice for me. That doesn't stop me from enjoying my favourite meal - I just give it a quick makeover.


  • Swap the white sauce for smooth ricotta whipped with some mixed herbs and a tablespoon of grated parmesan


  • Use half the amount of mince (this means I can afford to buy the lower fat mince) and add 1-2 cups of vegetables. I like to mash up some kidney beans and mix them through the mince along with carrots, mushrooms and zucchini


  • For every second pasta layer, use slices of eggplant or zucchini instead of a pasta sheet. This reduces the kilojoule content and increases the vitamins and fibre content


  • Instead of the cheese topping I top my lasagne off with a mixture of ½ cup bread crumbs, ¼ cup grated mozzarella and two tablespoons of parmesan. I also like to add a few herbs to this mixture.


Remember to check out next month's Healthy U for more of Michelle's recipe makeover tips.