Just because you are trying to eat healthier, doesn’t mean that you have to give up some of your favorite foods and recipes. There are many ways to substitute some of those not-so-nutritious ingredients and items. We have some suggestions for healthy food substitutions and swaps to incorporate into your daily meal times. It is important to remember, though, that you should consult your physician or nutritionist before making major changes to your diet.
Healthy Food Substitutions and Swaps
Bacon > Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)
Bread, white > Whole-grain bread
Bread crumbs, dry > Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods > Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don’t have trans fats Note: To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don’t use oil in place of butter or shortening. Also don’t use diet, whipped or tub-style margarine in place of regular margarine.
Butter, margarine, shortening or oil to prevent sticking > Cooking spray or nonstick pans, such as cast iron, stainless steel, stoneware or glass
Cream > Fat-free half-and-half, evaporated skim milk
Cream cheese, full fat > Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel, or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Eggs > Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Flour, all-purpose (plain) > Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour is less dense and works well in softer products like cakes and muffins.
Fruit canned in heavy syrup > Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Ground beef > Extra-lean or lean ground beef, ground chicken breast or ground turkey breast (make sure no poultry skin has been added to the product)
Lettuce, iceberg > Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Mayonnaise > Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise, avocado, hummus or greek yogurt
Meat as the main ingredient > Three times as many vegetables as meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews
Milk, evaporated > Evaporated skim milk
Milk, whole > Reduced-fat or fat-free milk, various nut milks, rice milk or soy milk Note: Opt for sugar-free versions of milk alternatives
Oil-based marinades > Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Pasta, enriched (white) > Whole-wheat pasta, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles
Rice, white > Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur wheat, pearl barley, quinoa or couscous
Salad dressing > Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing, flavored vinegars, lemon juice, hummus or guacamole
Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt > Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or finely chopped fresh herbs, garlic, celery or onions
Soups, creamed > Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables > Low-sodium or reduced-sodium and low-fat or reduced-fat versions
Sour cream, full fat > Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free/low-fat yogurt or greek yogurt
Soy sauce > Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce, low-sodium soy sauce, low-sodium fish sauce, coconut aminos or Bragg liquid aminos
Sugar > Honey, coconut sugar, date paste or agave nectar, half sugar in baked goods; add vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon to intensify sweetness
Syrup > Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Table salt > Herbs, spices, citrus juices (lemon, lime, orange), rice vinegar, salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends
Yogurt, fruit-flavored > Plain low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit slices
List courtesy in part by Mayo Clinic
In addition, there are numerous resources for recipes that include healthy substitutions such as buzzfeed.com, bhg.com and cooking.nytimes.com, as well as many other sites around the web just waiting to be discovered. Also, be sure to take advantage of our TNT Healthy Cooking Courses to learn from a professional on how to make to most out of your meals.
“Don’t knock it, ‘til you try it!” You may just find a new favorite dish.
For more nutritional information and your Free Consultation, contact us today.