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Lighten Up: Your Favorite Recipes, Healthier

  • Tina Rupp

    Penne with Vodka Sauce and Vegetables

    Makes: 6 servings

    Prep: 20 minutes

    Let Stand: 10 minutes

    Cook: 16 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Multigrain pasta mixed with lots of greens effortlessly ups your family's whole-grain and vegetable intake. We used fat-free half-and-half to achieve the creaminess and richness we wanted while keeping fat down. No-salt-added diced tomatoes help reduce sodium. Canadian bacon is lean but still loaded with flavor.

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  • Tina Rupp

    Individual Sweet & Savory Meat Loaf

    Makes: 4 servings

    Prep: 20 minutes

    Bake: at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Boosting the meat loaf with vegetables adds fiber, keeps fat down, and helps you fill up faster. Small loaf pans create instant portion control. Lean ground beef helps keep fat in check. Sweet potatoes as a side dish are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium. Oats replace bread crumbs for less sodium, fewer calories, and more fiber.

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  • Tina Rupp

    New England Clam and Corn Chowder

    Makes: 4 servings

    Prep: 15 minutes

    Cook: 17 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Traditional New England clam chowder is made with a generous dose of bottled clam juice, which is very high in sodium. Here, we used reduced-sodium chicken broth to cut the salt and enhance flavor. Potatoes bulk up chowder, making it a filling meal. We slashed fat by switching out heavy cream for reduced-fat (2%) milk.

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  • Tina Rupp

    Grilled Chicken "Francese-Style"

    Makes: 4 servings

    Prep: 15 minutes

    Grill: 10 minutes

    Cook: 6 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Chicken Francese is usually battered and then sauteed in butter, but ours is grilled and has a lighter version of the sauce on the side so you can control how much you're consuming. Adding a small portion of butter to the sauce at the end maximizes flavor. Ours has just one-quarter the amount found in traditional Francese recipes. Grilled polenta is a crunchy, satisfying side dish that is also a good source of fiber.

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  • Tina Rupp

    Pork Teriyaki

    Makes: 4 servings

    Prep: 20 minutes

    Marinate: 2 hours

    Cook: 12 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Swapping out some of the meat for extra vegetables adds vitamins and fiber and cuts fat. Keep microwave-ready produce on hand to make meal prep easier. Stir-frying in a nonstick skillet requires less oil, which means less fat. Pork tenderloin is a very lean protein source.

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  • Tina Rupp

    Peanut-Chip Cookies

    Makes: 60 cookies

    Prep: 15 minutes

    Refrigerate: 15 minutes

    Bake: at 350 degrees F. for 12 minutes

    How It's Healthier: Adding fewer chocolate chips and chopped nuts reduces calories—but your kids won't notice. Using reduced-fat peanut butter and less butter in our recipe helps cut fat. Making our cookies smaller means you get to eat more than one.

    Originally published in Family Circle, January 2011.

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