Not all margarines are created equally and they are certainly not all made the same. I am going to take you through the list of general ingredients that will go into making quality margarine. Choosing a quality made margarine is perfect for those of you who want to live healthier. Most quality margarines and spreads contain more good fats than butter and there are even some varieties that can help you lower blood cholesterol (such as those that contain plant sterols). It is always best to choose a soft margarine that is in a tub that is labelled one of the following: “vegetable oils based fat spreads”, or “margarine spreads” or “spreads.” Generally speaking these types of margarines contain more good fats, but as always check the food label to be sure.
We think margarine is the best thing since (and on!) sliced bread. But wait just a minute – what is margarine, exactly?
There are lots of myths and stories spread around about margarine and they’re mostly all out-dated rumours. I am here to tell you the margarine true facts and answer the big ‘what is margarine?’ question, so that you can make a balanced decision on what’s best for the health and lifestyle of your family.
Originally developed as an alternative to butter, margarine is a spread that can be used in just about every recipe as a substitute for butter which is lower in saturated fats. It’s produced with a combination of different types of vegetable and plant oils from all around the world.
Soft spread margarines usually have fewer calories per serving than you’d normally find in solid fats, such as butter. You can even make your own margarine at home with simple ingredients which you probably have in your kitchen already. So why not give it a go?
Okay, so what is margarine made of? Put simply, margarine is a blend of plant oils and water bound together with an emulsifier – such as lecithin of egg yolk fame – with a dash of salt added for flavour and a sprinkling of vitamins A and D for that nutritional boost we all need. Margarine is a healthy, tasty way of giving your body the good fats and oils that it needs, but cannot create on its own.
Switching to margarine from butter doesn’t mean reducing the flavours in your cooking; in fact, it could mean the exact opposite! Why not try some festive cookies or a hearty winter soup?
Making simple switches in your diet can make a huge difference – simply swapping butter for margarine in everyday recipes can help maintain healthy cholesterol levels. With today’s extensive variety of flavoursome margarines you won’t notice a change in the taste!
Sue Batty loves margarine and has been using it as her preferred ingredient in cooking since she was very young. Always the baker of her family Sue now cooks, writes recipes and taste-tests new foods professionally and has years of experience behind her. To know more about what is margarine and its ingredients