Simple Substitutions by Abigail McCleery, MPH, RD

Are you looking for ways to make your favorite recipes healthier without sacrificing the flavor?  Well, look no further!  These healthy recipe substitutions can help transform the foods you enjoy without diminishing the taste or texture.

  1. Fat.  Try replacing half of the butter, shortening or oil in your favorite baked goods recipe with unsweetened applesauce, prune puree or mashed banana.  The healthy substitutes give the right consistency without all of the fat!
  2. Sugar.  It is easy to cut the amount of sugar by one-third to one-half by substituting spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves or allspice, or flavorings such as vanilla extract or almond flavoring.  The healthy swaps can add just as much flavor with significantly fewer calories.
  3. Salt.  You can reduce the salt by one-half in baked goods that don’t require yeast.  For most other recipes you can eliminate it completely.  Most people don’t notice a difference in flavor!

Remember, the ideas listed above are just to get you started.  Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your own favorite recipes and healthy ingredient alternatives!  The healthy guacamole recipe below has been a hit with my friends and family.  Using peas with just a small amount of avocado will significantly reduce the fat and calories in this yummy dip and the great taste and vibrant color are sure to please!  Try serving it with crunchy vegetables such as carrot sticks, radishes, and sugar snap peas.


1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro

1 (10 ounce) bag frozen peas, thawed

2 small ripe avocados, pitted and chopped

1/3 cup chopped onion (optional)

3 cloves garlic

4-6 tablespoons lime juice


 Set aside 1-tablespoon cilantro and transfer the remaining cilantro to a food processor.  Add remaining ingredients to food processor and blend to desired consistency.  Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with reserved cilantro.

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