PLATTSBURGH — After becoming a mother, Willow Nolland began looking for ways to make her children’s food more nutritious by adding or replacing certain recipe ingredients.
Through her research, however, the Plattsburgh resident discovered that whether a food is healthy for an individual depends on that person’s dietary goals, as well as any food allergies he or she may have.
Some people may be interested in cutting fat and calories, while others may need to avoid allergens, such as gluten.
Or, a person’s goal may simply be to give a meal a nutritional boost by adding a source of vitamins or protein.
“There aren’t cut-and-dry healthy substitutions that apply to everyone,” said Nolland, who recently hosted a “Healthy Substitutions for Your Favorite Recipes” workshop at Clinton Community College.
During the session, she discussed various ways to alter a brownie recipe to suit different dietary needs.
For those who wish to reduce the fat and calorie content of the treats, Nolland suggested making them with applesauce instead of oil.
And instead of wheat flour, she noted, people who are allergic to gluten or wish to avoid it can substitute coconut or nut flour.
Nolland has even found a way to pack protein into brownies by adding black beans, which, she added, are undetectable in the treats, even by her children.
“I gave them to a number of people who had no clue there were beans in them,” Nolland said.
Beans, in fact, are a good addition to many things, like spaghetti sauce and goulash, according to Kim Emery, chef and instructor in SUNY Plattsburgh’s Hotel, Restaurant & Tourism Management program.
“If you add beans to it, it adds protein, and it bulks it out, so you can serve more people,” she said.
Emery, too, is a mother and is often trying to add nutrition to her children’s meals.