Recipe Substitutions

Families, Food and Fitness January 06, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

Author: Annrose M. Guarino, Ph.D., Human Nutrition and Food, Louisiana State University, Louisiana Cooperative Extension

Do you have a recipe you want to change to make healthier? Changing ingredients in a tried and true recipe may take some trial and error. However, there are some ingredients that most times can be substituted and still contribute to a good overall product.

All-purpose (plain) flour Whole-wheat flour for half of the called-for all-purpose flour in baked goods
Bacon Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or lean prosciutto (Italian ham)
Butter, shortening or oil Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for-butter, shortening or oil
Note: To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don't substitute oil for butter or shortening.
Butter, margarine, shortening Cooking spray or nonstick pans or oil to prevent sticking
Creamed soups Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes, or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents
Dry bread crumbs Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Eggs Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Enriched pasta Whole-wheat pasta
Evaporated milk Evaporated skim milk
Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Full-fat cream cheese Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Full-fat sour cream Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Ground beef Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast (make sure no poultry skin has been added to the product)
Iceberg lettuce Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Margarine in baked goods Trans fat-free butter spreads or shortenings that are specially formulated for baking
Note: If ingredient lists include the term "partially hydrogenated," it may have up to 0.5 grams of trans fat in one serving. To avoid dense, soggy or flat baked goods, don't substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine.
Mayonnaise Reduced-calorie mayonnaise-type salad dressing or reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
Meat as the main ingredient Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in casseroles, soups and stews
Oil-based marinades Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Salad dressing Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing or flavored vinegars
Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or use finely chopped herbs or garlic, celery or onions
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables Low-sodium or reduced sodium versions
Soy sauce Sweet-and-sour sauce, hot mustard sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Table salt Herbs, spices, fruit juices or salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends
White bread Whole-wheat bread
White rice Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley
Whole milk Reduced-fat or fat-free milk

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