Nutrition Articles

Smart Substitutions Calorie Chart

Discover Some Easy Trades

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The tiniest changes can add up.

Save 100 calories just by using fat-free ranch dressing instead of regular ranch or by drinking water instead of a can of soda.

The world is full of smart substitutions like these. You just have to keep your eyes open for the opportunities.  Take a moment to look at how you can eat smarter. You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make.

None of these changes are earth-shattering, and we’re not talking about replacing pancakes with rice cakes. Most of the substitution ideas here take very little effort, but can often taste just as good and be just as satisfying. And they can add up fast.

SparkPeople Smart Substitutions Chart

Instead Of: Try: Calories Saved
(One Serving)
mayonnaise (1 tsp) mustard 54
New England clam chowder Manhattan clam chowder 60
soft drink (1 can) water 100
cream of chicken soup chicken noodle soup 140
guacamole salsa 46
buttered popcorn (1 cup) airpopped popcorn 108
regular potato chips (1 oz) baked potato chips 90
potato chips (1 oz.) unbuttered popcorn 60
pudding (1 cup) sugar free applesauce 108
ice cream (1/2 cup) non-fat frozen yogurt 153
cream (1 cup) evaporated milk 300
whole milk (1 cup) skim milk 60
nachos w/ the works tortilla chips & salsa 414
fettuccine alfredo (16 oz) spaghetti w/ tomato sauce 426
veggie pizza (2 slices) no-cheese veggie pizza 314
chocolate (1 cup) cocoa 492
bagel w/ cream cheese (1 tbsp) apple slices w/ peanut butter 119
ranch salad dressing (2 tbsp) raspberry vinaigrette 68
ground beef (4 oz.) ground turkey 132
hollandaise sauce (1 cup) white wine sauce 160
chocolate chip cookies (5) vanilla wafers 200
5th Avenue candy bar fig bar (3) 115
cinnamon Pop Tart (2) large graham crackers (4) 140
carrot cake (3 oz.) gingerbread 51
peking/hoisin sauce (3 oz.) oyster sauce 99
flaked coconut (1 cup) diced pineapple 265
tartar sauce (1 tbsp) lemon juice 70
Hershey chocolate bar Nestle Rich chocolate hot cocoa 105
cheddar cheese (1 cup) mozzarella cheese 141
cinnamon raisin bagel cinnamon raisin english muffin 106
café latte hot tea 122
ricotta cheese (1 cup) low-fat cottage cheese 172
sour cream (1 cup) plain yogurt 343
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About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • Great article. I like eating veggies. So I have had a veggie pizza and it was really good. At first I didn't think I would like it but it was good. - 9/19/2013 5:42:11 PM
  • The substitution chart has inspired me. I am going to create a wall space in my kitchen for all of these great tips on nutrition. I am also going to create a similar one in my office to do with exercise! (I use my computer to exercise to Coach Nicole's videos). - 5/14/2013 1:51:17 PM
  • I think a lot of us are here because we eat those things on the left side of the list. I believe that the right side of the list is healthier, and tastier than low-cal versions of the left side. That having been said, when I crave something, no substitute on the planet will take that craving away! Good list. - 4/28/2013 12:10:04 PM
  • i must agree with the comments for guac. all of the substitutions are good ideas except guac. if homemade and you know whats in it it is full of good for you fats and nutrition. - 1/9/2013 8:22:46 PM
  • BGOULDI2
    Some people seem very difficult to please lol. - 1/9/2013 5:07:30 PM
  • It seems people aren't really taking this list the way (I feel) it was intended.

    This isn't like a baking substitute chart, or a 'if you want this, eat this instead!'. It's a way of helping people realize where the calories in their eating come from and ways to curb the calories by making different choices.

    If you're craving pudding, *eat the pudding*! If you really just want that latte, have the latte.

    But if you're scratching your head trying to figure out where you can help cut calories because you seem to be constantly going over, try mustard instead of mayo on your sandwich, or if you're eating out, have the tomato based sauce instead of the white sauce. If you just want a snack, have baked chips instead of regular chips. Need something sweet? Try apple sauce instead of pudding.

    But by all means, if you're craving the pudding, eat the pudding. - 1/9/2013 4:39:25 PM
  • Thank you for the article. Like the others who have posted, not everything will work for me, but it's good information. You are never going to please everyone. I've copied ithe chart to a spreadsheet. I'll delete the lines that will never happen in this house, print it out and use the rest for reference. I'm hoping my husband will look at it too if it's right in front of his face on the refrigerator door. - 1/9/2013 3:38:38 PM
  • these substitutions are ridiculous lol. How about 'light mayo' for 'regular mayo'... I mean mustard tastes nothing like mayo and is NOT a substitute! Just like almost all the other things on this list. Guacamole is healthy in small amounts, you don't need to SUB salsa for it. - 1/9/2013 3:38:10 PM
  • Good substitutions.

    But I'm definitely NOT eating no-cheese veggie pizza. I eat the pizza for the cheese. I just watch my portions.

    Make it a great day!
    Matt - 1/9/2013 2:38:32 PM
  • Yeah...there's no way I'm subbing tea for a latte. If you make the latte with skin milk or just do black coffee, that would make a little more sense. Some of these substitutions are good, but some make no sense at all. I also agree with the chocolate substitution and how that one doesn't really work either. Fig bars (in my opinion) are nasty. Give me a little square of high-quality dark chocolate any day (and it's probably at least a little better for you because of the antioxidants) - 1/9/2013 12:14:00 PM
  • I agree not all of the substitutions are perfect but some will work and sometimes it helps to see things like this to make you think a little differently about your choices. - 1/9/2013 12:12:55 PM
  • I agree alot of these didn't make sense to me either there is no way that I will sub applesauce for choclate and what about the healthy qualities of a food? Guac (real avocado only guac) is super healthy! coconut flakes are much better than dried pineapple too - sigh wont use this one too much! - 1/9/2013 11:47:07 AM
  • Great Information - Thank you ! - 1/9/2013 11:36:03 AM
  • I like the idea of this list, but I'm not sure that it's all that practical. If you're really craving a piece of chocolate, no amount of fig bars are going to satisfy that. Better to eat ONE fun size candy bar and be done with it than trying to displace the craving with something that won't satisfy it...and ending up eating more unhealthy food in the process. - 1/9/2013 10:16:49 AM
  • yikes! - 1/9/2013 10:01:36 AM

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