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Recipe Substitutions
Healthy Recipe Makeovers

Cooking for yourself can be a great way to eat healthier foods. Since you're making the meals, you get to pick the ingredients. You may even have a collection of recipes that you like to cook. The trick is substituting healthier ingredients for the less healthy options.

To help you out, we've prepared this chart that lists what a typical recipe suggests, and then what you could use for a more nutritious substitute.

Fat

Your Recipe Suggests
Healthier Substitutions
Bacon Lean bacon, smoked turkey, turkey bacon or vegetarian bacon.
Butter, Margarine, Shortening, Oil (Ingredients in baked foods.) Substitute unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree for half of the called for butter, margarine, shortening or oil. In many recipes you can simply cut the butter, margarine, shortening and oil in half and keep all the rest of the ingredients the same.

NOTE: If you substitute diet or whipped margarine for regular, foods may become more dense, soggy or flat. That same can happen if you substitute oil for butter or shortening.

Butter, Margarine, Shortening,Oil (Ingredients used to prevent food from sticking to pans.) Fat free cooking sprays and non-stick pans. If you're sautéing food, use low sodium broth instead of butter.

NOTE: Never deep fry when you can bake, broil or poach food instead.

Cream Cheese Low fat or fat free cream cheese, low fat or fat free cottage cheese. Reduced fat feta or skim ricotta cheese can also be used.

NOTE: If using cottage cheese you should puree it until it's smooth.

Creamed Soups Soups with fat free milk, mashed potato flakes, pureed carrots, potatoes, tofu or yams for thickening agents.
Eggs 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute per whole egg. You can also use 1/4 to 1/3 cup silken tofu in cooked/baked foods.
Evaporated Milk Evaporated Skim Milk
Ground Beef 93% lean (or better) ground beef, lean ground chicken or lean ground turkey.
Mayonnaise Low fat or fat free mayonnaise, low calorie mayonnaise type salad dressing.
Milk Low fat or fat free milk.

NOTE: If a recipe needs heavy cream, use the lower fat or fat free milks but add some flour to thicken the consistency.

Oil based Marinades Balsamic vinegar, fat free broth (choose lower sodium versions), fruit juice or wine.
Salad Dressing (Full Fat Versions) Low fat or fat free salad dressings, flavored vinegars.
Sour Cream Low fat or fat free sour cream, low fat or fat free plain yogurt. Use salsa on top of potatoes.

Sodium (Salt)

Your Recipe Suggests
Healthier Substitutions
Salt Fruit juices, herbs, salt free seasoning mixes or spices like curry.

NOTE: Recipes that also call for yeast generally can't have the salt reduced. The salt is required for proper leavening.

Salt with Seasonings (Celery Salt, Garlic Salt, Onion Salt) Seasonings only (celery seed, garlic powder, onion flakes). You can also use minced fresh celery, garlic or onions.
Soy Sauce Low sodium soy sauce, sweet and sour sauce or hot mustard sauce.

 

Sugar

Your Recipe Suggests
Healthier Substitutions
Frosting (On Cakes) Frost the middle and top, but skip the sides. You can avoid frosting altogether if the cake is moist enough by sprinkling some powdered sugar on top.
Fruit in Heavy Syrup Fruit in its own juices, fruit in water or fresh fruit.
Jam or Jellies Sugar free jams and jellies.
Sugar Sugar free artificial sweeteners like Equal, Splenda or Sweet 'N Low. If you're baking some artificial sweeteners have low sugar or sugar free baking blends.

NOTE: If you just need sugar for the flavor, consider allspice, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, nutmeg or vanilla extract to enhance the sweetness.

Syrup Applesauce, pureed fruits or sugar free syrups. You can also use vanilla or almond extract
Eggs 2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute per whole egg.
Yogurt with Fruit Plain yogurt with fresh fruit or low-carb / low-sugar fruit yogurts.

To increase fiber, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

Your Recipe Suggests
Healthier Substitutions
Bread Crumbs (Dry) Crushed bran cereal or rolled oats.
Bread (White) Multi-grain or whole wheat bread, whole grain pocket or pita bread.
Butter, Margarine, Shortening,Oil (Ingredients used to prevent food from sticking to pans.) Fat free cooking sprays and non-stick pans. If you're sautéing food, use low sodium broth instead of butter.

NOTE: Never deep fry when you can bake, broil or poach food instead.

Cookies Fig bars, ginger snaps or molasses cookies.
Crackers Whole Grain Crackers
Flour Whole-wheat or whole grain flour. Whole wheat pastry flour mixed with whole wheat flour can also be used to give the dough a lighter texture.

NOTE: If you don't want to change the taste of the recipe as much, simply substitute ½ the all-purpose flour for whole-wheat flour.

Meat For every one part of meat you replace substitute three times as many vegetables. You can use the vegetables in casseroles, pizza, soups and stews.
Lettuce (Iceberg) Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, romaine, spinach or watercress.
Pasta Whole-wheat pasta.
Rice (White) Brown rice, bulgur, pearl barley or wild rice.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

2/18/2007