Coconut milk is high in calories and fat which make finding a substitute for coconut milk important if you want to eat healthier, or are trying to lose weight. Unfortunately certain recipes require the rich thick creamy and absolutely delicious taste of coconut milk. It is almost a must have ingredient.
Many Southern Asian countries use it in many of their meals including curries. The wonderful high calorie desserts that we enjoy also use coconut milk; it helps add that smooth, sweet, rich and creamy texture to the desserts. However there are healthier alternatives that can be used, but will still create that delicious taste.
When you realize what helps make those creamy textures, you find coconut milk has 3.6g 6% saturated fats, 3.2g 16% a tablespoon which has 34 calories and a cup has 550+calories. Great for an occasional meal but for everyday use we need to find alternatives. The high calorie and levels of saturated fats and BPA levels have been linked through research to many serious health risks including certain types of cancers, strokes, and cardiovascular disease.
A Healthier Substitute for Coconut Milk
Soy and Almond Milk
Soy and almond milk are both a great replacement for coconut milk. It eliminates the high calorie count as well as the fat content. It still provides a rich creamy texture with the benefit of higher amounts of protein. For people who are lactose intolerant or for vegetarians soy milk will provide you with a healthier choice than coconut milk. The consistency of soy and almond milk is thinner than coconut milk and for some recipes you may need to thicken the base with cornstarch.
An easy substitute is thickened milk or spiced milk. You simply warm the milk in a small pan increasing the heat gradually. Stir constantly to avoid scorching it. For use in baking you may want to add a small amount of cornstarch or flour. To enhance the flavors you can also add your favorite spices such as vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon and honey.
When baking a good substitute for coconut milk is yogurt. It has a smooth creamy texture while being lower in calories and fat. Using low fat yogurt will cut the calories even more. For a sweeter taste you can add honey, vanilla, or even a sugar substitute like Stevia or Sweet and Low. Get the taste, cut the calories.
Half and Half
Another alternative is to use half and half cream or evaporated milk. While these are still considered high fat and high calorie, it will still be less than the coconut milk.
Eating healthy and still enjoying great tasting foods sometimes can become quite a challenge. Finding a good substitute for coconut milk is just one of the few small steps we can take to have great tasting food and it still be healthy for us. Never sacrifice your health for fantastic tasting foods. Moderation is key in maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.
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