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Healthier Ingredient Substitutes

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This information has been reviewed and approved by Emily A. McCloud, MS, RD (January 2015).

Summary: Love Your Recipes: Healthier Ingredient Substitutes

Try these substitutions to cut down on calories, fat, cholesterol and sodium while keeping the flavor in your favorite recipes.


Fat & Cholesterol

  • Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked good can be substituted at a 1:3/4 ratio with a healthy oil such as canola, corn, olive, sunflower or any non-tropical oil. Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter or shortening.
  • Cooking spray or nonstick pans can be substituted for butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking.
  • Instead of full eggs, try 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg.
  • Evaporated milk can be substituted in a 1:1 ratio with evaporated skim milk.
  • Substitute fat free or low-fat cream cheese or low fat cottage cheese (pureed until smooth) for regular cream cheese in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Sour cream can be substituted at a 1:1 ration with fat-free plain yogurt, or fat free/low-fat sour cream.
  • Try plain yogurt as a substitute for mayonnaise in a 1:1 ratio.



  • Substituting table salt in a 1:1 ratio with other spices such as cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.



  • Reduce amount of sugar used in recipe by 1/2.
  • Instead of canned fruit in heavy syrup, at a 1:1 ratio, use fresh fruit or canned fruit in its own juices or water.
  • Fruit-flavored yogurt can be substituted for plain yogurt in a 1:1 ratio



  • Substitute wheat flour for white flour in a 1:1/2 ratio.
  • Oatmeal or bran cereal can be used in place of bread crumbs at a 1:1 ratio.
  • Use wheat bread or whole grain bread at a 1:1 ratio instead of white bread.

More Information on Healthy Nutrition

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