Modify Your Recipe for Better Health

Families, Food and Fitness July 02, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF

There are ways to adapt recipes to decrease the amount of fat, calories, sugar and salt (sodium) and make them more healthy for your family. Fiber is an important nutrient in your diet, you can increase the fiber in your recipes to make them more nutritious. Experiment with recipes and change ingredients, you might be surprised at the healthy dishes you can make for your family. You may also be able to find other recipes that are similar to yours that have less fat, sugar, salt, and have more additions of nutritious ingredients.

Common Substitutions

Ingredient Substitution
1 whole egg 2 egg whites or 1/4 egg substitute or 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.
1 cup butter, lard or shortening 1 cup soft tub margarine (or special spreads such as Benecol, Take Control, Smart Balance) or 2/3 to 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 1 cup applesauce
1 cup vegetable oil 1 cup applesauce, fruit or vegetable purees
1 cup whole milk 1 cup 1% or skim milk
1 cup light cream 1 cup evaporated skim milk or 3 tablespoons vegetable oil plus 3 tablespoons skim milk
1 cup heavy cream 1 cup evaporated skim milk or 2/3 cup skim milk plus 1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream 1 cup plain low or non-fat yogurt; 1 cup low/non-fat cottage cheese plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice and 2 tablespoons low fat buttermilk
1 ounce cheese 1 ounce skim or low fat cheese (5 grams or less of fat per ounce)
Cream cheese "Light" cream cheese (3 grams or less of fat per ounce). Fat-free cream cheese; Neufchatel cheese; low fat ricotta cheese
Salad Dressing (1 Tablespoon) 1 Tablespoon reduced fat/fat free salad dressing. Thin cream dressings with plain low/non-fat yogurt.
Mayonnaise Low/non-fat mayonnaise; low/non-fat plain yogurt; 3/4 cup plain yogurt with 1/4 cup low calorie mayonnaise
Beef Choose leaner cuts: round, sirloin, flank, or tenderloin
Ground beef Use extra-lean ground beef (<10% fat). Drain fat after cooking and rinse with hot water. Replace up to half of total amount of ground meat with mashed beans.
Chicken Remove skin before eating. Look for ground chicken breast.
Turkey Remove skin before eating. Look for ground turkey breast.
Tuna, canned (oil) Tuna, canned in water
Lunch meat Fat-free, low sodium lunch meats (at least 95% fat free). Caution: Lunch meats tend to be high in sodium.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.