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Parents' Guide - List Of Healthier Ingredients For Recipes

Maggie LaBarbera • RN, MBA • Jul 14, 2012

holiday eating healthy foods for children

Create Healthier Recipes With Healthier Ingredients Substitution List

Creating healthier recipes means taking a look at the ingredients in your recipe.  You may be surprised how easy it is to find some healthier substitutions for your recipe that will have little or no effect on the taste!

We have put together a list of common recipe items that you can substitute to add more nutrition to your recipes.  You have to experiment with amounts.  In many cases, you can substitute the entire amount for a alternative healthier ingredient.  

healthy cooking

But if you are not sure, try going 1/2 current ingredient and 1/2 the alternative healthier ingredient.  Or 1/3 to 2/3s.  

But overall, you may be able to add more vitamins, minerals and reduce sugar, sodium, fat and/or cholesterol to your recipes!

Once you find the perfect substitutions, share it with your us on facebook or twitter!

Healthier Ingredients For Your Favorite Recipes


 Milk Food Group

Condensed whole milk or Evaporated milk Evaporated skim milk
Cream for soups Mashed potato flakes, pureed starchy vegetables or silken tofu
Creamed soups Fat-free milk-based soups
Eggnog Sparkling cider or reduced fat eggnog
Full-fat cream cheese Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Ice cream  Low fat whipped cream or frozen low fat yogurt
Sour cream  Low fat yogurt or reduced fat sour cream
Whole milk  Reduced-fat or fat-free milk, soy milk, or rice milk

Protein Food Group

Bacon Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, or lean prosciutto
Eggs Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
Ground beef  Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast
Meat Add vegetables and mix in with meat
Meat Tofu or soy based
Chicken, Poutry, Turkey dark meat  Chicken, Poutry, Turkey white meat
Chicken, Poutry, Turkey with skin Chicken, Poutry, Turkey without skin

Grains Food Group

All-purpose flour  Whole-wheat flour (you may only need 1/2 as much)
Dry bread crumbs  Rolled oats, whole wheat bread crumbs or crushed bran cereal
Enriched pasta Whole-wheat or brown rice pasta
Pie crust  Graham cracker crust
Traditional stuffing Add chopped vegetables to stuffing
White bread 100% Whole-wheat, whole grain or sprouted bread
White rice Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur, couscous or pearl barley

Vegetables Food Group

Creamed vegetables Steamed vegetables
Iceberg lettuce 
Arugula, chicory, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Mashed potatoes  Mashed sweet potatoes

Fruits Food Group

Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit
Pie and ice cream Fresh fruit with sorbet
Pecan or fruit pies Baked fruit based desserts with no added sugar
Pumpkin or pecan pie Low fat angel food cake served with fresh fruit

Sweetners and Seasonings

Chocolate chips Dried fruit
Seasoning salt Herb seasonings or minced garlic, celery or onions
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, Low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Soy sauce Low-sodium soy sauce
High sodium packaged
or canned foods
Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
Sugar for desserts Natural sweeteners such as fruit, honey, stevia or Agava


Butter, margarine, shortening or
oil to prevent sticking
Cooking spray or nonstick pans
Butter, shortening or oil  Margarine or 1/2 the amount of fruit puree when baking
Margarine in baked goods
Trans fat-free butter spreads or shortenings that are
specially formulated for baking
Mayonnaise Reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
Oil-based marinades Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Salad dressing
Fat-free or reduced-calorie dressing, herbed season olive oil or
flavored vinegars
Turkey drippings for gravy
Low fat turkey broth for gravy or skim all the fat off the










See All Our Nutrition Articles

Written by Maggie LaBarberaWritten on Jul 14, 2012Last updated on Aug 05, 2014




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