Looking to save on fat, calories, or sodium in your favorite recipes? Use this list of popular healthy ingredient substitutes.

June 09, 2015
Get our free healthy cooking substitutions chart!
Baking Essentials

Bacon: turkey bacon, reduced-sodium and reduced-fat bacon, Canadian-style bacon

  • Reduced-sodium bacon reduces sodium by 40 percent, calories by half, and fat by about 60 percent.
  • Canadian bacon reduces calories by 60 percent, fat by about 80 percent, sodium by about 30 percent, and omits nearly all saturated fat.

Bread: whole wheat or whole grain instead of white; spinach, Swiss chard, napa cabbage instead of wraps; low-carb spinach or tomato tortillas

  • Whole wheat bread has about 40 percent more protein, less carbohydrates, and almost twice the amount of fiber than white bread.
  • Using spinach, Swiss chard, or napa cabbage omits added carbohydrates, lowers calories, and omits fat.

Canned beans: dried beans, cooked; no-salt-added canned beans

  • The above options omit any added salt from processing. Salt-free products have less than 5 mg sodium per serving, very-low-sodium products have less than 35 mg sodium per serving, and low-sodium products have less than 140 mg sodium per serving.

Canned vegetables: no-salt-added, salt-free, or low-sodium canned vegetables; frozen or fresh vegetables

  • Using no-salt-added, salt-free, or low-sodium canned vegetables reduces or omits added salt during the canning process.

Flour tortillas: corn tortillas

  • When compared to a 6-inch flour tortilla, 6-inch corn tortillas have about half the calories, 75 percent less carbohydrates and fat, and 95 percent less sodium.

French-fried onions: whole wheat panko bread crumbs in casseroles

  • Whole wheat panko has double the carbs but almost 98 percent less fat and about 80 percent less sodium than french-fried onions. Per cup, whole wheat panko also has 12 grams protein and 8 grams fiber, whereas french-fried onions have none. 

Fruit canned in heavy syrup: fruit canned in its own juice or in water; fresh fruit

  • The above options reduce calories, carbohydrates, and added sugar.

Jam/jelly: mashed berries instead of jam in baked goods and on sandwiches

  • Using mashed berries reduces calories and carbohydrates, and omits added processed sugar and salt.

Lettuce, iceberg: arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, watercress

  • The above options increase vitamins, minerals, and fibers. Dark leafy greens tend to be higher in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and folate.

Marinades, oil-based: wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice, fat-free broth

  • The above options reduce calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium. Wine adds alcohol, which may or may not be present in some marinades.

Mayonnaise: hummus, pesto, mashed avocado, mustard on sandwiches; plain Greek yogurt in dressings, casseroles, and salads

  • Hummus has about one-third the calories, six times the protein, and less fat and saturated fat than mayo. It also has about 10 grams fiber per cup.
  • Mashed avocado has less calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium than mayo. It has double the protein and 15 grams fiber per cup.
  • Yellow mustard has less calories and fat than mayo but has nearly double the amount of sodium. It has five times as much protein as mayo.
  • Plain Greek yogurt has less calories, fat, saturated fat, and sodium than mayo. It also has 10 times the amount of protein.

Milk, whole: skim milk

  • Skim milk has less calories, cholesterol, fat, and saturated fat. However, using skim milk instead of whole milk can change the richness of sauces and dressings.

Oil-packed foods: water-packed foods like tuna and sun-dried tomatoes

  • Using water-packed foods will omit any added fat and reduce calories by about half.

Salad dressing: fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing; flavored vinegars

  • Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressings reduce calories, fat, and saturated fat but tend to increase sodium and added sugars.
  • Flavored vinegars typically do not have any calories, fat, or sodium.

Soups, 10-3/4-ounce can condensed cream-based: See our substitute for cream-based soup.

Soy sauce: sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce, low-sodium soy sauce

  • Sweet-and-sour sauce has 66 percent less calories and 95 percent less sodium than soy sauce. However, it has three times the amount of carbohydrates and double the added sugar.
  • Hot mustard sauce has 80 percent less calories and 90 percent less sodium than soy sauce. However, it has four times the amount of carbohydrates and added sugar.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce has about 40 percent less calories and half the sodium of regular soy sauce.

Yogurt, fruit-flavor: plain low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit slices



Get our free emergency substitutions chart! Get our free healthy cooking substitutions chart!


Be the first to comment!