Although it’s not the absolute worst food out there for anyone on a diet, we often get asked “What are some alternatives to butter I can use in my daily meals”?. A tablespoon of butter provides about 100 calories and no carbs. However, where it becomes bad for potential fitness buffs is when you consider the saturated fat. That same tablespoon of butter has 11 to 13 grams by itself which (while some fats are good) can end up causing trouble if every meal you cook happens to have at least one tablespoon of butter included.
Let’s do some math, let’s say we make eggs for breakfast with butter as our cooking agent, some garlic butter sauteed potatoes and chicken breast for lunch, and create a vinaigrette reduction which, for some reason, we decided to also use butter in. With just three square meals a day, you’ve increased the average tablespoon of butter in each meal to 3 tablespoons a day or 39g of saturated fat. In a week of “good eating” you’ve hit a total of 273g from just the butter alone! Your healthy meals don’t seem so healthy after all do they?
So what can we switch in to keep the nice calorie pump without gaining carbs and not sacrificing all the flavor? Here’s some great & healthy alternatives to butter you can try that shouldn’t immediately change how everything tastes.
- Olive Oil – When in doubt, do like the Greeks do! For every tablespoon of butter your recipe calls for, try adding 2 1/4 teaspoons of Olive oil instead. While the flavor is a little stronger, the cooking ability in eggs and even cakes matches (and in some cases exceeds) what you’ll find with traditional butter.
- Apple Sauce – Primarily to be used during baking, can be used to change out half or the whole amount of butter needed within a recipe. This change will of course adjust the way your protein cookies may taste but also cut calories and saturated fat at the same time. For best results, replace half the amount of butter if you want to keep the consistency similar or the whole amount for a denser baked good.
- Earth Balance Butter Spread – While the name butter may be in the title, this is actually a vegan butter that you can use in exactly the same way. It does have a sweeter taste to it so be cautious not to overuse in a more savory dish. The benefits of this butter is that it has similar calories per tablespoon weighing in at 102 calories, but the fat gained is not from saturated sources. An easy win win to keep that buttery flavor while also losing some of that extra saturated fat.
Outside of these options there are of course different nut oils, canola oil variations and all sorts of things to switch out that stick of butter and make your fitness goals even more of a reality. So what are some alternatives to butter you use in your diet? Share in the comments below and until next time, think healthy, be healthy.