Ingredient Substitutions
for Healthy Recipes

Convert your old favorite recipes into healthy recipes with these ingredient substitutions.

To find the desired healthy ingredient substitution, click on the appropriate link:

Reduce Fat & Cholesterol

Learning about "good" and "bad" fats can help you make wiser selctions of cooking oils. Becoming more aware of the leanest cuts of meat and low fat dairy products can go a long way in making healthier choices in your menu selection.


To Reduce the Amount of Fat and Cholesterol

If your recipe calls for:

Try Substituting:


Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)

Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods


NOTE: To avoid dense, soggy, or flat baked goods, don’t substitute oil for butter or shortening, and don’t substitute diet, whipped, or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.

Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called for butter, shortening, or oil



Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking

Lightly spray with cooking spray or use non-stick pans

Creamed soups

Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents

1 whole egg

2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute

Evaporated milk

Evaporated skim milk

Full-fat cream cheese

Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth

Full-fat sour cream

Fat-free plan yogurt, or fat-free or low-fat sour cream

Ground beef

Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken, or turkey

1 cup Mayonnaise

½ cup fat-free plain yogurt &

½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise

Oil-based marinades

Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice, or fat-free broth

Salad dressing

Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing or flavored vinegars

Whole Milk

Reduced-fat or fat-free milk


Weight Watchers Magazine - Save 16%
Succeed and feel great about yourself with our recipes, tips, tools, and solid advice to lose weight and live your healthy lifestyle.

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Reduce Sodium

Becoming a master at skillfully using spices is a key in making ingredient substitutions for salt. is an excellent site for finding great low-sodium recipes.


To Reduce the Amount of Sodium

If your recipe calls for:

Try Substituting:

Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt, or onion salt

Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed, onion flakes, or using finely copped garlic, celery, or onions

Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish, or vegetables

Low-sodium or reduced sodium versions


Soy sauce

Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce, or low-sodium soy sauce

Table salt

Can either omit salt or reduce by one-half.


Or use…


Herbs, spices, fruit juices, or salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends.


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Reduce Sugar

Learning to read the labels on food items will help you avoid hidden sugar. The following ingredient substitutions will be beneficial in watching your sugar intake.


To Reduce the Amount of Sugar

If your recipe calls for:

Try Substituting:

Fruited canned in heavy syrup

Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit

Fruit-flavored yogurt

Plain yogurt with fresh fruit slices



Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup

1 cup sugar


NOTE: to enhance the flavor when reducing sugar, add vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg.

2/3 cup sugar




Diabetic Cooking Magazine - Save 38%
Offers great-tasting, nutritious recipes to help diabetics manage daily meals. These quick-to-fix recipes will satisfy the whole family. There are cooking tips, baking secrets, shopping hints, cooking lessons and menu suggestions; seasonal topics, easy instructions and recipe make-overs.
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Increase Fiber, Vitamins & Minerals

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into you diet is key in increasing the fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your meals.

The following ingredient substitutions will be helpful in assisting you creating more nutritious meals.


To Increase the Amount of Nutrients such as Vitamins, Minerals, and Fiber

If your recipe calls for:

Try Substituting:

All-purpose (plain) flour

Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour

Dry bread crumbs

Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal


Enriched pasta

Whole-wheat pasta

Iceberg lettuce

Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, or watercress

Meat as the main ingredient

Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups, and stews

White bread

Whole-wheat bread

White rice

Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, or pearl barley


Prevention Magazine - Save 53%
American's #1 choice for healthy living, with practical tips on weight loss, nutritional exercise, and the latest medical breakthroughs.
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Related Links

Ingredient Substitutions for Healthy Recipes

Enjoy these healthy ingredient substitutions.
To find healthy recipes, CLICK HERE.


This page was last updated on 11/1/06.