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Make healthy substitutions when cooking

Take This Action Commit to this action for yourself to help overcome the obesity epidemic.

Preparing meals and baked goods from scratch is a great way to control what's in them so they can both taste great and be healthier. Substituting healthier ingredients for less healthy ones can reduce calories while adding nutritional value - and the food can still be delicious!

Use Substitutions to Make Your Favorite Foods Healthier

Easy substitutions to create healthier and lower - calorie alternatives can be made to many recipes, both savory and sweet:

  • Dairy
    • 1% or skim milk for whole milk.
    • Plain, low-fat yogurt for sour cream.
    • Light cream cheese for regular cream cheese.
    • Egg whites or egg substitutes for whole eggs.
  • Fats
    • Cooking spray instead of butter or oil for saut√ɬ©ing.
    • Applesauce, mashed bananas, or prune puree for butter or vegetable oil when baking.
    • Natural peanut butter or no-sugar-added fruit preserves for butter or margarine on toast.
    • Lower-fat versions of mayonnaise.
    • Olive oil and vinegar or lemon juice instead of creamy salad dressings.
  • Protein Sources
    • Lean ground turkey or chicken breast instead of ground beef for tacos, burgers, chili, etc.
    • Skinless chicken breast for chicken with skin.
    • Dry beans or tofu instead of meat.
  • Dessert
    • Sorbet, sherbet, low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt for regular ice cream.
  • Grains
    • Brown rice, whole-wheat couscous, quinoa, or another whole grain for white rice.
    • Whole-wheat flour for white flour in baked goods, breads, etc.
  • Miscellaneous
    • Flavored vinegars, citrus juices, and herbs and spices for salt and sugar.
    • Low-sodium stocks for higher-sodium broths.
    • Broth-based soups instead of cream-based.
Read the Disclaimer

The information included on this site is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.


Make healthy substitutions. For example, low-fat or fat-free milk in your favorite macaroni and cheese recipe, to save as many as 225 calories per serving.