Smart Substitutions for a Healthier Meal

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December 18, 2013 by thehealthyheartcenter

You don’t have to give up your favorite recipes! Try substituting some ingredients with healthier alternatives to make recipes even better. These tricks are commonly used and many times go unnoticed. Using the smarter options listed below can be a great way to add in more nutrients while taking out some calories, fat and sugar.


Bread Crumbs: rolled oats, or chopped nuts

Butter/Shortening/Margarine/Oil: use puree applesauce for half the called for butter

Butter/oil in Baking: mashed avocado can replace the saturated fats in butter and oil with healthier fats such as mono and poly-unsaturated fats

Eggs: Two eggs whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg, or go for a mashed banana instead of an egg

Cream soups: instead of cream add in pureed potatoes as a thickener

Sugar: Try substituting half the amount of sugar called for with vanilla, nutmeg, and/or cinnamon 

Buttermilk: Use one cup of milk and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and let mixture stand for 5 minutes


Smarter Choices

Milk/Cheese:  Non-fat or low-fat (1%) milk instead of whole milk or full fat cheese

Flour: Wheat flour

Meat: Choose leaner meats with less fat such as chicken, turkey and leaner cuts of dark meats, also add more veggies to your dish to bulk it up and allows you to use less meat

Pasta: Whole wheat pasta

Rice: Brown rice, bulgur, wild rice, quinoa

Soups/Sauces/Dressings: choose the lower sodium options as these can be big contributors

Lettuce: Iceberg is mostly water with not a lot of nutrients, try using raw spinach, arugula, kale or romaine instead


Tips: Look for options with less fat and lower sodium and more nutrient density. Smoothies are also a great way to sneak in extra nutrients by adding kale or spinach along with the fruit and milk. Many times you can’t taste those additional greens yet they are providing more nutrients. 




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