Healthy Food Substitutions for Better Health

Healthy Food Substitutions for Better Health

Sour Cream Substitutes

  • Plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese blended with 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Fat-free sour cream

Whipped Cream Substitutes

  • Chilled, whipped evaporated skim milk
  • Nondairy whipped topping made from polyunsaturated fat

Cream Substitutes

  • Evaporated Milk:
    Use: Evaporated skim milk
  • Whole milk (as a beverage or in recipes) substitutes:
    Use: Skim, 1-percent or 2-percent milk

Ice cream substitutes:

  • Low-fat or nonfat ice cream
  • Frozen low-fat or nonfat yogurt
  • Frozen fruit juice products
  • Sorbet

Full-fat Cheese Substitutes

  • Low-fat, skim-milk cheese
  • Cheese with less than 5 grams of fat per ounce
  • Fat-free cheese

Ricotta cheese substitutes:

  • Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
  • Nonfat or low-fat ricotta cheese

Meat Substitutes

Ground beef substitutes:

  • Extra lean ground beef
  • Lean ground turkey or chicken

Bacon substitutes

  • Canadian bacon
  • Lean ham

Sausage substitutes

  • Lean ground turkey
  • 95-percent fat-free sausage

Whole Egg Substitutes

  • Two egg whites
  • 1/4 cup cholesterol-free liquid egg product
  • 1 egg white plus 2 teaspoons oil
  • One egg yolk equals one egg white
  • One egg (as thickener) equals 1 tablespoon flour

Mayonnaise and Salad Dressing Substitutes

  • Low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
  • Whipped salad dressing
  • Plain low-fat yogurt combined with low-fat cottage cheese

Salad dressing substitutes:

  • Low-calorie commercial dressings
  • Homemade dressing made with unsaturated oils, water, and vinegar or lemon juice

Nut Substitutes

  • Dried fruit such as raisins, chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries

Cream Soup Substitutes

  • Broth-based or skim milk-based soups

Chocolate Substitutes

  • 1 ounce baking chocolate equals 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon oil

Butter, Lard, and Other Saturated Fat (coconut oil, palm oil) Substitutes

  • Soft tub margarine (first ingredient on food label listed as liquid vegetable oil)*
  • Corn, cottonseed, olive, rapeseed (canola), safflower, sesame, soybean or sunflower oil


*When cooking, it is better not to substitute reduced-fat margarine or corn oil spreads for regular butter and margarine unless a recipe has been specifically developed for their use. Their increased water content can make a substantial difference in the food’s taste, appearance and texture.

Simple Low Calorie/Fat Substitutions

Here are a few suggestions for simple changes you can make in your daily diet that can add up to big savings around your waistline. Take little steps. If you can’t imagine coffee without cream, try it with less, or use half cream and half milk.
Remember:  Every little bit helps!

In your coffee:

  • Instead of:  Two teaspoons sugar (30 calories)
    Try:  Two teaspoons sugar-free sweetener (0 calories)
  • Instead of:  Two tablespoons half-and-half (40 calories)
    Try:  Two tablespoons reduced-fat milk (15 calories)

On a sandwich:

  • Instead of:  One tablespoon mayonnaise (100 calories)
  • Try:  One tablespoonlow-fat mayonnaise (50 calories)
  • Or One tablespoon mustard (15 calories)

On a bagel:

  • Instead of:  2-teaspoons butter (72 calories) or 2-teaspoons stick margarine (66 calories)
  • Try:  Two teaspoons cream cheese (33 calories)
  • Or Two teaspoons nonfat cream cheese (25 calories)
  • Or Two teaspoonsall-fruit jam (35 calories)

On a salad:

  • Instead of:  One tablespoon creamy dressing (80 calories)
  • Try:  One tablespoon vinaigrette dressing (40 calories)
  • Or One tablespoon fat-free dressing (10 calories)

Sweet snacks:

  • Instead of:  One candy bar (150 calories per ounce)
  • Try:  One granola bar (110 calories per ounce)
  • Or One banana (26 calories per ounce)

Salty snacks

  • Instead of: potato chips (140 calories per ounce)
  • Try:  Baked chips or pretzels (110 calories per ounce)
  • Or unbuttered popcorn (80 calories per ounce)

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