When it comes to certain recipes, nothing else can beat the taste of butter. But it’s so high in saturated fat and calories that you may have wondered, “Can it really be part of a healthy diet?” It can. Here’s how:
The key to having butter in your healthy diet is to use it when you really need it and skip it when you don’t. Making a sauce and need butter for the flavor? Or for the flake it gives to tender pie crusts? Go ahead and use it. But pay attention to how much and how often you use it. You might not need as much as you think you need to give a buttery flavor to sauces. And think about skipping butter when you don’t really need it. Rather than slathering it on bread, consider alternate toppings like nut butters, avocado or olive oil.
Since the main health concern with butter is its high levels of artery-clogging saturated fat, consider, too, where else you’re getting saturated fats in your day. Not consuming red meat, whole milk or cheese? Then go ahead, a little butter won’t hurt.
Use these extra tips to cook with butter without going overboard:
- If you can replace at least some of the butter with canola or olive oil, you’ll get the butter flavor while replacing some of the saturated fats with heart-healthy unsaturated fats. For instance, when making a fruit crisp, try scaling back a few tablespoons of butter and instead using some oil for binding.
- Use butter at the end of preparing a dish, where the flavor will really shine.
- See how low you can go — sometimes you really can use less than a recipe calls for without sacrificing flavor.
- Use nonstick pans, which let you use less oil and butter while still achieving good results.