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Simple Ingredient Swaps for a Healthier Meal

April 16, 2012

With summer right around the corner, everyone is trying to watch what they eat and go extra hard with their workout routine.  I have some great news; you can still eat the foods you love while watching your figure, just by making simple ingredient substitutions.  Swapping one or two ingredients still keeps the delicious taste of the recipe but can cut down the cholesterol, fat, sodium, sugar, and overall calories.  Follow these easy substitutions the next time you make your favorite recipes:

Original Ingredient


Healthy Substitutions


1 whole egg  2 egg whites Reduce cholesterol, double protein 
Whole or 2% milk  1% or skim milk Reduced calories and fat
Sour cream Greek yogurt, low fat cottage cheese  Reduced calories and fat
Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, etc.)  Reduced or fat free cheese Reduced calories and fat
Whole milk mozzarella cheese  Part-skim or fat free mozzarella cheese Reduced calories and fat
Butter  Margarine made with canola or olive oil  Reduced calories and fat
Bread crumbs Rolled oats, crunched fiber cereal  Reduced sodium, higher fiber
Croutons Unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts)  Reduced sodium, higher omega 3 and healthy fats
Salt Herb blends  Reduced sodium, increased antioxidants
Canned beans Dried beans  Reduced sodium
Ice cream Sherbet or ices Reduced fat
Oil, shortenings, or lard Applesauce or prune puree (in baked goods) Reduced fat
Canned soups Homemade soups Reduced fat and sodium

Additional quick tips for a healthier recipe:

–          Increase vegetables in pastas and casseroles

–          Cut back on fat, sugar, and/or sodium by reducing the amount called for by 1/3.

–          Make your own blend- if a recipe calls for 1 cup of cheese, prepare ½ part-skim :½ fat free

–          Opt for baking or grilling instead of frying

–     Lastly, watch those portion sizes!  By taking ½ of the portion you would normally take, you can significantly cut down on calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.  Think of the MyPlate when portioning your  foods and don’t forget to double up on those        fruits and veggies!

Feel free to share some of your tips that make your recipes healthier.

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