You can make many of your favorite recipes healthier by using lower-fat or no-fat ingredients.  These healthy substitutions can help you cut down on saturated fats, trans fats and cholesterol, while noticing little, if any, difference in taste.

 Smart Substitutions for Recipes

When recipe calls for  . . .

Use this instead  …

Whole milk (1 cup)

1 cup fat-free or low-fat milk, plus one tablespoon of liquid vegetable oil

Heavy cream (1 cup)

1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup plain low-fat unsalted cottage cheese

Sour cream

Low-fat unsalted cottage cheese plus low-fat or fat-free yogurt; or just use fat-free sour cream

Cream cheese

4 tablespoons soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) blended with 1 cup dry, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese; add a small amount of fat-free milk if needed

Butter (1 tablespoon)

1 tablespoon soft margarine (low in saturated fat and 0 grams trans fat) or 3/4 tablespoon liquid vegetable oil

Egg (1)

2 egg whites; or choose a commercially made, cholesterol-free egg substitute (1/4 cup)

Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce)

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or soft margarine; since carob is sweeter than cocoa, reduce the sugar in the recipe by 25%

Smart Substitutions for Snacks

You can snack healthier by substituting snacks that are high in

saturated fats and/or trans fats with these sensible snacks:

Instead of  . . .

Enjoy …

Fried tortilla chips

Baked tortilla chips (reduced sodium version)

Regular potato or corn chips

Pretzels or low-fat potato chips (reduced sodium version)

High-fat cookies and crackers

Fat-free or low-fat cookies, crackers (such as graham crackers, rice cakes, fig and other fruit bars, ginger snaps and molasses cookies)

Regular baked goods

Baked goods, such as cookies, cakes and pies, and pie crusts made with unsaturated oil or soft margarines, egg whites or egg substitutes, and fat-free milk

Devil’s food cake

Angel food cake

Ice cream bars

Frozen fruit bars

Pudding made with whole milk

Pudding made with fat-free or low-fat milk

Ice cream

Sherbet, ice milk or frozen, fat-free or low-fat yogurt


Bagel or toast

 Smart Substitutions for High-Fat Items at Restaurants

You can eat sensibly when you eat out by choosing

lower-fat foods instead of “the usual.”

Instead of

Try …

Cream-based soups

Broth-based soups with lots of vegetables

Quiche and salad

Soup and salad

Buffalo chicken wings

Peel-and-eat shrimp

Bread, muffins, croissants

Melba toast, pita bread, whole-grain rolls

Fried chicken sandwich

Grilled chicken sandwich

Chicken fried steak

Veggie burger

French fries

Baked potato, brown rice, steamed vegetables

Potatoes and gravy

Potatoes without gravy, baked potato

Creamy coleslaw

Sautéed vegetables, steamed vegetables or tossed salad

Hot fudge sundae or ice cream

Nonfat yogurt, sherbet or fruit ice

Smart Substitutions for Fast Food Restaurants

You can eat sensibly at fast-food restaurants by choosing

lower-fat foods instead of “the usual.”

Instead of



Small bagel

Jumbo cheeseburgers

Grilled chicken sandwiches, sliced meat sandwiches or even a regular hamburger on a bun with lettuce, tomato and onion

Fried chicken

Grilled chicken and a side salad

Fried chicken pieces

Grilled chicken sandwich

French fries

Baked potato with vegetables and/or low-fat or fat-free sour cream or margarine on the side

Article and picture courtesy of AHA website