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Healthy Food Substitutions

Food Fitness. Nourish your body.

By changing out food items you use on a regular basis for a lower fat version, you can save a lot of fat and calories from your waistline! Some products are made so well it truly is difficult to tell the difference - others you may have to get used to. Here we'll give you alternatives to high fat products.

Start out with a reduced fat version if you have an aversion to totally fat free. Many reduced fat dairy products are good. Non fat, on the other hand, is another story. For example, some non fat cheeses have a "rubbery" texture and do not melt well in cooking.

Give some a try! You may be pleasantly surprised and your body (and your belly!) will thank you...

Reduced Fat Substitutions

Sour Cream Substitutes

  • Plain low-fat yogurt
  • Instead of sour cream, blend 1 cup lowfat, unsalted cottage cheese with 1 tablespoon fat free milk and 2 tablespoons lemon juice, or substitute plain, fat free or lowfat yogurt or sour cream.
  • Fat-free sour or reduced fat sour cream

Whipped Cream Substitutes

  • Chilled, whipped evaporated skim milk
  • Nondairy whipped topping made from polyunsaturated fat

Evaporated Milk Substitute

  • Use Evaporated skim milk

Whole milk (as a beverage or in recipes) substitutes:

  • Use: Skim, 1-percent or 2-percent milk
  • Use: fat free dry or evaporated milk
  • Cook with lowfat (1 percent fat) instead of whole milk or cream

Ice cream substitutes:

Blueberry Sorbet

  • Low-fat or nonfat ice cream
  • Frozen low-fat or nonfat yogurt
  • Frozen fruit juice products
  • Sorbet or Sherbet

Full-fat Cheese Substitutes

  • Low-fat, skim-milk cheese
  • Cheese with less than 5 grams of fat per ounce
  • Fat-free cheese

Ricotta cheese substitutes:

  • Low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese
  • Nonfat or low-fat ricotta cheese

Meat Substitutes

  • Ground beef substitutes: Extra lean ground beef or lean ground turkey or chicken
  • Bacon substitutes: Canadian bacon or lean ham
  • Sausage substitutes: Lean ground turkey or 95-percent fat-free sausage

Whole Egg Substitutes

  • 2 egg whites for 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup cholesterol-free liquid egg product for 1 egg
  • 1 egg white plus 2 teaspoons oil for 1 egg
  • One egg yolk can equal one egg white
  • One egg (as thickener) equals 1 tablespoon flour
  • In baking or cooking, use 3 egg whites and 1 egg yolk, instead of 2 whole eggs, or 2 egg whites or 1/4 cup of egg substitute, instead of 1 whole egg

Mayonnaise and Salad Dressing Substitutes

  • Low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
  • Whipped salad dressing
  • Plain low-fat yogurt combined with low-fat cottage cheese

Salad Dressing Substitutes:

  • Low-calorie commercial dressings
  • Homemade dressing made with unsaturated oils, water, and vinegar or lemon juice

Nut Substitutes

  • Dried fruit such as raisins, chopped dried apricots or dried cranberries

Cream Soup Substitutes

  • Broth-based or skim milk-based soups

Chocolate Substitutes

  • 1 ounce baking chocolate equals 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and 1 tablespoon oil

Butter, Lard, and Other Saturated Fat (coconut oil, palm oil) Substitutes

  • Soft tub margarine (first ingredient on food label listed as liquid vegetable oil)*
  • Corn, cottonseed, olive, rapeseed (canola), safflower, sesame, soybean or sunflower oil
  • Use cooking spray, water, or stock to saute onions for flavoring stews, soups, and sauces

Note: *When cooking, it is better not to substitute reduced-fat margarine or corn oil spreads for regular butter and margarine unless a recipe has been specifically developed for their use. Their increased water content can make a substantial difference in the food's taste, appearance and texture. Use low-sodium bouillon and broths, instead of regular bouillons and broths in soups and stocks.

Simple Low Calorie, Low Fat Substitutions

Here are a few suggestions for simple changes you can make in your daily diet that can add up to big savings around your waistline. Take little steps. If you can't imagine coffee without cream, try it with less, or use half cream and half milk.

Remember:  Every little bit helps!

Remove fat from homemade broths, soups, and stews by preparing them ahead and chilling them. Before reheating the dish, lift off the hardened fat that formed at the surface. If you don't have time to chill the dish, then float a few ice cubes on the surface of the warm liquid to harden the fat. Then, remove and discard the fat.

In your coffee:
Instead of:  Two teaspoons sugar (30 calories)
Try:  Two teaspoons sugar-free sweetener (0 calories)

Instead of:  Two tablespoons half-and-half (40 calories)
Try:  Two tablespoons reduced-fat milk (15 calories)

On a sandwich:
Instead of:  One tablespoon mayonnaise (100 calories)
Try:  One tablespoonlow-fat mayonnaise (50 calories)
Or One tablespoon mustard (15 calories)

On a bagel:
Instead of:  2 teaspoons butter (72 calories) or 2-teaspoons stick margarine (66 calories)
Try:  2 teaspoons reduced fat cream cheese (33 calories)
Or 2 teaspoons nonfat cream cheese (25 calories)
Or 2 teaspoonsall-fruit jam (35 calories)

On a salad:
Instead of:  One tablespoon creamy dressing (80 calories)
Try:  One tablespoon vinaigrette dressing (40 calories)
Or One tablespoon fat-free dressing (10 calories)

Sweet snacks:
Instead of:  One candy bar (150 calories per ounce)
Try:  One granola bar (110 calories per ounce)
Or One banana (26 calories per ounce)

Salty snacks:
Instead of: potato chips (140 calories per ounce)
Try:  Baked chips or pretzels (110 calories per ounce)
Or unbuttered popcorn (80 calories per ounce) Or Stacy's Pita Chips#

Note: Calorie amounts of items are based on averages and not meant to apply to or indicate any specific brands.

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