I have dozens of recipes on my blog and while some are on the healthier end, a lot came from my grandmother’s recipe box — meaning they were created purely for enjoyment! Not for those watching their waistline.

I’ve always said “Everything in moderation” and I’m a huge proponent of having a tasty treat when that craving hits. Life is too short not too! But I also understand that many people have to watch sugar levels, fat content, and more because of health reasons.

That’s why I wanted to put together a blog with a few healthier ingredient swaps you can use for the next recipe you create. That way, you can still enjoy your favorite treats with a healthier spin!

Take a look at some of the cooking and baking ingredient alternatives below and let me know if you give them a try!

Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream

One of my favorite ingredient swaps (and one I use most often) is swapping Greek yogurt for sour cream. You can use any Greek yogurt, but I choose to use plain nonfat yogurt.

It’s such a simple way to cut down on fat and calories in something that’s essentially a garnish or condiment. My favorite times to use it are to top my nachos, my fajitas, or my brand new taco soup. But the options are endless!

Unsweetened Applesauce for Oil or Butter

Applesauce is very low in fat and calories. But the reason it’s an especially helpful swap when you’re baking is because it gives whatever you’re baking with a nice, moist texture.

Worried about using applesauce in a recipe that has nothing to do with apples? You won’t be able to taste it!

Pumpkin Puree for Eggs, Oil, or Butter

Another great substitute for these regular recipe ingredients is pumpkin. Unlike applesauce which doesn’t contribute much to flavor, pumpkin will be more obvious. Just so you’re aware!

I love the taste of pumpkin so I don’t really mind this. But other benefits of using pumpkin puree are that it’s low in fat and calories, and it includes valuable nutrients like vitamins A, C, E, and other beneficial additions like potassium (among others).

Avocado for Mayonnaise

Packed with healthy fats, avocado makes a great swap for mayo. It’s also lower in calories and contains more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

The reason people recommend swapping it for mayonnaise on something like a sandwich is that it still gives you that creamy and satisfying mouth feel.

Whole Wheat Flour for All-Purpose Flour

You can substitute whole wheat flour for all-purpose flour in most recipes. The benefit? Whole grains provide more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to your diet.

But don’t just make the swap without knowing how! Since whole wheat flour will make your recipe denser, be sure to make some adjustments. First, you can try replacing some of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of all-purpose flour, try using 3/4 cup of all-purpose flour mixed with 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour. You’ll have to experiment depending on the recipe, but just know that the texture and flavor can change with this swap (especially if you’re making something light and airy)!

Mashed Bananas for Oil or Butter

Mashed bananas are creamy and thick — which is why they’re one of those healthier ingredient swaps for butter or oil. You follow the same ratio you would with the other ingredients, and both the texture and taste of your recipe will stay primarily the same!

Nutritional Yeast for Cheese

If you’re looking for that cheesy flavor without using cheese, try nutritional yeast instead. Now, this won’t work if cheese is a main ingredient in the recipe, but it’s great for things like adding a cheesy flavor to popcorn, on top of salad or pasta, to add some cheesiness to soups or sauces, and more!

Olive Oil for Butter

While this one won’t do much for cutting calories, you can get healthy monosaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits by swapping your butter for olive oil. By a general rule of thumb, you’ll need to swap 3/4 of the butter with olive oil. So, for example, if you need a stick of butter (8 tablespoons), use 6 tablespoons of olive oil instead!

Egg Whites for Whole Eggs

Watching your cholesterol? Try using egg whites instead of eggs. For every whole egg, use two egg whites. I think the yolk contributes to texture in some recipes, but you may not even notice the swap with this one. You’ll also get double the protein!

Quinoa for White Rice

Packed with protein, fiber, and essential vitamins and minerals, quinoa makes a great substitute for white rice. This is especially helpful if you’re serving rice as a side or in a bowl (like a veggie bowl or burrito bowl). It offers the same volume, but really does some good work when it comes to nutrients!

Cottage Cheese for Cream Cheese

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but cottage cheese is ALL the rage right now. And while swapping cream cheese for cottage cheese might sound surprising, it’s actually possible!

First thing is first, you have to drain your cottage cheese to get rid of excess moisture. Next, you’ll need to blend it by putting it in a blender, food processor, or by using an immersion blender to make it smooth and creamy. Now, it’s ready to use in sauces, dips, or non-bake recipes!

Using it for baking? After the blending step listed above, you’ll place the blended cottage cheese in a cheesecloth and squeeze out even more moisture. Then, add an equal amount of heavy cream to the blended cottage cheese. A great way to get some protein into a recipe!

So whether you’re trying to be healthier in 2024 or you simply want to do some experimenting, I hope you find these healthier recipe swaps helpful!

From my kitchen to yours,


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