Healthy Ingredient Substitutions

Finding healthy swaps for ingredients while cooking and baking are easier than you think. Making these swaps can help increase the nutrients you eat. Reference the charts below to learn which unhealthy ingredients can be substituted with a healthier alternative.

Cooking Ingredient Swaps:

Use This…Instead of This…How to Do It
Plain, low-fat yogurtSour cream MayonnaiseIn cream-based recipes, replace mayonnaise and sour cream with the same amount of plain, low-fat yogurt.
Whole wheat pastaWhite pastaMake the switch to whole wheat pasta in any of your favorite pasta recipes.
Sweet potato friesFrench friesSweet potato fries can be baked and seasoned as a nutritious alternative to french fries.
Baked chickenFried chickenBread chicken tenderloins or chicken breast meat with panko breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for crispiness.
Herbs and spicesSaltUse fresh or dried herbs like basil, cilantro, oregano, or rosemary, as well as pepper, chili powder, or garlic powder to season your dishes.
Olive OilButterChoose olive oil for flavor or cooking instead of butter or shortening.
Zucchini noodlesRamen noodlesZucchini noodles can be purchased in a prepackaged container or made using a vegetable spiralizer. These noodles go great in a stir fry or pasta dish.

Baking Ingredient Swaps:

Use This…Instead of This…How to Do It
BananasButterWorks best cakes, breads, muffins, and cookies. Substitute the same amount of mashed banana for butter in a recipe. If a recipe calls for a ½ cup of softened butter, use ½ cup of mashed banana.
Plain, low-fat yogurtOil or ButterWorks best in cakes, breads, and muffins. For every 1 cup of butter you take out, replace it with ¼ cup yogurt and ½ cup of butter.
Evaporated milk (low-fat or skim)Heavy CreamWorks best in sweet desserts. Cook with the same amount of evaporated milk as you would with heavy cream.
Egg whitesWhole eggTwo egg whites can replace a whole egg in recipes.
Unsweetened applesauceSugar Egg Butter or oilWorks best in cakes, cookies, muffins, and fruit dishes. Applesauce can substitute sugar equally. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, replace with 1 cup of applesauce. However, reduce the liquid in the recipe by a ¼ because applesauce is a wet ingredient.
For fat, take out a ½ cup of butter or oil and add ¼ cup of applesauce instead. One egg in baked goods can be substituted with 1/3 cup of applesauce.
Whole wheat flourWhite, all-purpose flourWhole wheat flour can substitute white flour equally. Or you can use half of the flour called for in a recipe as whole wheat and the other half white flour.