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Substituting a cup of whole-wheat flour for white flour will boost your vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals as well as bump the fiber up to 14 grams. It bumps up the vitamin B-6 from 3% of the Daily Value to 26%, folic acid from 18% DV to 29%, magnesium from 10% to 59%, potassium from 7% to 24%, and zinc from 7% to 29%. White flour also has more calories and carbohydrate -- and less protein -- per cup than whole-wheat flour.

4. Substitute Splenda for half of the sugar in bakery recipes. This is an easy way to trim sugar calories, and usually gives good results. Cutting out just 1/2 cup of sugar will shave 387 calories. If you or family members are sensitive to alternative sweeteners, try replacing one-third or one-fourth of the sugar with Splenda.

5. Discover fat-free half-and-half. I love this product because I can use it in soups, sauces, casseroles, and bakery recipes. It can be used as a replacement in most any recipe calling for liquid whipping cream or half-and-half. If you're leery, try blending it with regular half-and-half (for example, use 1/2 cup of each to equal 1 cup total).

6. Buy higher omega-3 eggs if you can find them. They do cost a bit more than regular eggs, but unless you're a big egg-eater, this will probably amount to an extra $3 or so per month (my family goes through a dozen eggs every two weeks). Several brands are available around the country. The brand I buy, EggLand's Best, has the following per large egg:

  • 4 grams fat (regular eggs have 5 grams)
  • 1 grams saturated fat (regular eggs have 1.5 grams)
  • 180 mg cholesterol (regular eggs have 213 mg)
  • 25% Daily Value of vitamin E (regular eggs have about 6% Daily Value)
  • 100 mg plant omega-3 fatty acids

7. Use a no- or low-trans-fat margarine with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon for cooking. Compare this to regular butter and stick margarine, with around 12 grams of fat per tablespoon. I've got to admit I haven't been a big margarine-lover in the past, but a couple of great-tasting products on the market have won me over (although I still use butter in recipes where it's required for flavor). The water content is a little higher in these margarines, but they still work well in most recipes -- even cookie and cake recipes. The two brands I tend to use, because they taste best and have better fatty-acid profiles, are:

  • Take Control
  • Land O' Lakes Fresh Buttery Taste Spread

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