Cooking 101: Healthy Recipe Substitutions

Probably the most common type of question I get in my email and comments involves asking for healthy recipe substitutions.

Healthy Recipe Substitutions by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

While I do enjoy eating healthy, I’ll be the first to admit that several of my recipes aren’t the healthiest they can be. What can I say? I like my butter and bacon.

That being said, healthy eating is a great idea in theory!. So, I figured it’d be helpful to share what I have found to be great, easy-to-find and consistently tasty ingredient substitutions.

Healthy Recipe Substitutions by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

Feel free to use this list if you’re looking to lower the calories in a particular recipe or even if you just might not have something in your pantry.

Healthy Recipe Substitutions by Lacey Baier, a sweet pea chef

This list is by no means all-inclusive, but it shares some of my most common healthy recipe substitutions.

And, of course, please feel free to contact me if you have a specific question or ingredient not found on this list.

I’m always happy to help!


Ingredient Called For In Recipe:

Healthy Recipe Substitution(s):

Bread

Whole-grain bread

Butter, margarine, shortening or oil (in baked goods like breads and muffins)

Applesauce or mashed bananas for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; olive oil

Cream

Fat-free half-and-half, whole to low-fat milk

Eggs

2 egg whites

Flour, all-purpose

Whole-wheat flour

Fruit canned in heavy syrup

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

Ground beef or chuck

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

Lettuce, iceberg

Arugula, spinach, romaine or mixed baby greens

Mayonnaise

Reduced-fat mayonnaise

Milk, whole

Reduced-fat or fat-free milk

Pasta

Whole-wheat pasta, zucchini noodles

Peanut Butter (Regular)

Natural Peanut Butter

Rice, white

Brown rice, wild rice, quinoa or pearl barley

Salad dressing

Balsamic vinaigrette

Seasoning salt (garlic salt)

Garlic powder, fresh herbs or fresh garlic with a small amount of kosher or sea salt

Sour cream

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

Soy sauce

Low-sodium soy sauce

Sugar

Usually, you can reduce the amount of sugar by one half and intensify the sweetness by adding vanilla, ground nutmeg or ground cinnamon

Tortillas

Lettuce leaves


There you go! Feel free to add your favorite (healthy) food substitutions in the comments!

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