Nutrition Articles

Sensational Substitutions for Cooking and Baking

Make Your Favorite Foods Diet-Friendly

New Year’s Resolutions…always made and often broken.

Is your motivation waning? Are you already feeling deprived because your favorite recipes are off limits? Making meals count is important. Meals should be satisfying, good tasting, pleasing to the eye, nutritious, and have a texture that is pleasing to your palate. Otherwise, you WILL feel deprived. The good news? It is easy to modify some of your favorite recipes by using the sensational substitutions listed below. You don’t have to eat a sparse and boring "diet meal" any longer.

Cooking Substitutions
Instead of…

1 Cup Cream

1 Cup Evaporated Milk

Cream to thicken Soups

Pureed Potatoes or Vegetables

Oil-based Marinades

Citrus Juice or Flavored Vinegar

Stick Margarine

Small amounts of Olive oil, Canola oil, or Broth

2 ounces of Mild Cheddar Cheese

1 ounce Reduced-fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese

White Rice

Brown rice, Bulgur, Kasha, Quinoa, Whole Wheat Couscous

Meat or Poultry for Stir Fry

Tofu (Extra Firm, Cubed) or more Vegetables

Ground Meat

Ground Turkey Breast; Finely Chopped Vegetables with Less Meat; Crumbled Tofu, Tempeh, or Soy Crumbles; Beans

Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I totally agree with the above comments referring to fat free Greek yogurt in place of sour cream. It tastes like full fat sour cream and is much healthier for you than light sour cream! When I get to the end of my day, am lacking protein and calories but have nearly maxed out my fat for the day, I mix a cup of plain Greek yogurt with honey or stevia (or even fruit), ground cinnamon, and some vanilla extract. Yummy, satisfying, and usually helps me meet my nutritional needs before bed! - 12/12/2014 4:23:28 PM
  • Light and nonfat sour cream are filled with chemicals and additives. I substitute nonfat Greek yogurt instead to great success. - 7/17/2014 11:08:59 AM
  • silken tofu is also a great sub for cream - its got no flavor on its own, so you can use it in sweet or savory dishes, and it just sucks up the flavor of whatever youre using it with. im currently putting it in smoothies all the time, to add creaminess without extra calories. plus, protein! - 6/24/2013 10:17:47 PM
  • For baking results to be worthwhile the fat-liquid-starch proportions have to be exact. If you remove fat in one place you have to add it or the equivalent. Read the ingredients on "lowfat" prepared food. Manufacturers have access to substitutes that home bakers just don't have. Those chemical names may sound scary but they are there for a reason. - 12/21/2012 7:08:32 AM
  • Instead of using eggs, oil and water with cake mixes from the box. I used a 16 oz can of pumpkin with the cake mix and it turned out great and it was healthier for me. It was less calories, and its a fruit as well. I did it with Red Velvet Cake mix and Chocolate Cake mix. For the frosting I used Whipped Cream. Just a thought. - 11/9/2012 9:54:27 AM
  • If you want to save this to your favorites just click on the save button on the right hand side of the screen. :o) - 10/28/2012 9:19:38 AM
  • Great info. Just what I need! - 5/1/2012 6:23:15 PM
  • I want to save this! Amazing! - 4/10/2012 11:42:22 PM
  • i also wish this could be added to the favorites list. i will need to reference back to it many times thru the year I am sure. - 4/10/2012 10:16:46 PM
  • Where is the save to favorites button? - 4/10/2012 9:50:04 PM
  • I use coconut oil in my recipes because it's a healthy fat, much better than canola oil. - 4/10/2012 3:20:40 PM
    I also love using pureed white beans (Great Northern, etc.) to replace half the fat in baking. I have used them in Snickerdoodles, side-by-side with regular Snickerdoodles, and my kids couldn't tell the difference. It also boosts the protein and fiber of baked goods. - 4/10/2012 12:49:09 PM
    I'm not on a fat free/reduced fat diet either but I go low fat when I can to reduce the calories. (I get adequate amounts of fat with the coconut oil and olive oil I use.) I agree about the Greek Yogurt. I can't eat/cook with sour cream because of lactose intolerance. Greek yogurt is 99% lactose free and and works great as a sour cream substitute. Also as previously mentioned, ground flax seed is a great substitute for oil. - 4/10/2012 12:37:24 PM
  • Where's the add to favorites button?? - 4/10/2012 12:30:21 PM
  • I expected something to help with peanut butter cookies. They are my weakness. Maybe applesauce in place of extra fat and bits of apple with raisins (or is that part oatmeal cookies. - 4/10/2012 12:29:00 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by May 8! Get a FREE Personalized Plan