Ingredient Swaps for Healthier Recipes

Updated: May 23, 2016

I’m always on the lookout for healthy substitutions to make in my meals — that way I can have what

I’m always on the lookout for healthy substitutions to make in my meals — that way I can have what I’m craving without the extra calories and fat. The American Heart Association shares a great list featuring common healthy substitutions, such as egg whites for eggs. But the list also features other heart-healthy swaps like combining margarine and low-fat cottage cheese in place of cream cheese.

To add to this list, here are my personal go-to’s for healthy substitutions:

Ingredient: Sour Cream or Mayonnaise
Swap: Fat-free, plain Greek yogurt. Just as thick and creamy, but with less fat and more than double the protein. Quick tip: Mix a scoop of fat-free, plain Greek yogurt with your favorite salsa for a delicious and healthy dip or use yogurt instead of mayonnaise in potato salad.

Ingredient: Oil in baked goods
Swap: Applesauce. Adds a little sweetness and fluff to your baked good. The texture may be slightly different, but at least you get to eat your cupcake without guilt.

Ingredient: Egg in baking
Swap: 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed whisked with 3 tablespoons of water replaces 1 egg. This is a great substitution if you’re out of eggs, or looking to make vegan baked goods. Just don’t try to use it to make scrambled eggs!

Ingredient: Ground Beef
Swap: Soy crumbles. Don’t turn your head in disgust just yet. While you can’t create a burger out of these, they are a great substitution in tacos or meat sauce. Soy tastes the same as beef, but without all the artery-clogging saturated fat.

Ingredient: Rice
Swap: Quinoa. While rice isn’t necessarily bad for you, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. Known as one of the world’s healthiest foods, it’s loaded with protein, fiber, and iron.

Ingredient: Tortilla Chips
Swap: Endive. Packs the same crunch as your favorite tortilla chip but without the calories and fat, plus you can get a really good scoop of dip without breaking it. Quick tip: try it with hummus, salsa, and guacamole.

What are your favorite healthy swaps?

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest