Have you ever wanted to make a recipe, but dared not because it was filled with ingredients high in calories, fat, sugar and sodium?
Maybe it was your grandmother’s famous apple pie, a lasagna recipe from a cookbook, or the bacon cheeseburger dip you saw on Pinterest. Recipes containing heavy creams, sugar, butter, white flour and other non-nutritive ingredients can pack on calories fast. In fact a ½ cup of butter, or 1 stick, contains 810 calories, 92 grams of fat and 651 mg of sodium, so for that cookie recipe that calls for 1-2 sticks of butter, that’s 810-1620 calories from the butter alone!
Knowing how and when to replace ingredients with a healthier alternative can help cut calories, fat, sugar and sodium so you can enjoy those recipe favorites as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve listed a few of my personal go-to recipe substitutions in the chart below. Just remember, whenever you are swapping ingredients, take into account the differences in flavor, moisture content, texture, and weight. In addition to the chart, here are a few extra tips to consider:
- Opt for whole grains when possible. If a recipe calls for spaghetti, use whole wheat spaghetti noodles—or better yet, spaghetti squash. If a recipe calls for white rice, consider brown rice instead.
- When it comes to dairy foods, low-fat or non-fat options often make great alternatives. For example, if a recipe calls for whole milk, try non-fat or low-fat milk instead.
- For canned vegetables or beans, look for options that have no salt added or that are low in sodium. For canned fruits, look for fruit packed in water or in 100% juice.
- Search for a healthier version of the recipe in cookbooks or online. Go to www.medifastrecipes.com for healthy spins on some all-time favorite recipes.
- In the mood for chocolate chip cookies? Perhaps a Medifast Chocolate Chip Soft Bake will do the trick. No baking required and only 110 calories!
Canadian BaconTurkey Bacon
|Baking Powder||Sodium Free or Reduced Sodium Baking Powder|
Crushed Medifast CrackersCrushed Bran Cereal or Corn Flakes
|Butter & Oils in Baking||
Applesauce & ButtermilkApplesauce
Pureed or mashed prunes, pumpkin, or bananas
|Butter & Oils in Cooking||
Non-stick cooking spray
Extra Tip: To add flavor, incorporate aromatic vegetables such as garlic, ginger, leeks, and shallots or herbs and spices to your dish.
Low-fat Buttermilk1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar with enough non-fat milk to make 1 cup
Extra Tip: Allow the lemon juice and milk combination to stand for 5 minutes before using.
|Cheese||Low-fat or reduced-fat optionsLight cheese wedges such as Laughing Cow® cheese|
|Coconut Milk||Light coconut milk|
Fat-free half and halfEvaporated skim milk
Low fat or non-fat milk
Fat-free or low-fat ricotta or cottage cheese blended to a smooth consistencyYogurt cheese
Medifast Cream of Broccoli or Cream of Chicken SoupPureed carrots, pumpkin, potatoes or tofu for thickening purposes
Low sodium varieties
Per one egg:2 egg whites
¼ cup liquid egg substitute
½ banana mashed with ½ tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. flaxseed meal soaked in 3 Tbsp. water
|Flour (all purpose)||
Whole wheat flourWhite whole wheat flour
Whole wheat pastry flour
Flaxseed or almond meal
|Iceberg Lettuce||Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, collards, spring mixes, mustard or turnip greens|
WineFlavored vinegars (i.e. balsamic)
Low sodium broth
Low sodium dry rubs
Light mayonnaiseNon-fat yogurt
Low-fat cottage cheese (blended)
Lean or extra lean varietiesChicken or turkey breast without skin, Fish
Non-fat or low fat milkUnsweetened rice, soy or almond milk
Evaporated skim milk
Instant non-fat dry milk
|Salt & Seasoning Salts||
Herbs and spicesCitrus juices
|Shortening||Trans fat-free margarine|
|Soy Sauce||Low sodium soy sauceTamari|
|Sour Cream||Plain low-fat Greek yogurtFat-free/low-fat sour cream|
Use 1/3 to ½ half less sugar than what is called for.Extra Tips:
|Syrup||Pureed fruit such as applesauceLow-calorie syrup such as Medifast Syrup|
|Whipped Cream||Fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawedFat-free whipped cream|