Sensational Substitutions for Cooking and Baking

Is your motivation waning? Are you feeling deprived because your favorite recipes are off-limits? Meals should be satisfying, good tasting, pleasing to the eye, nutritious, and have a texture that is pleasing to your palate. Otherwise, you will feel deprived. The good news? It is easy to modify some of your favorite recipes by using the sensational substitutions listed below. You don’t have to eat a sparse and boring "diet meal" any longer.

Cooking Substitutions

Instead of… Try…

1 Cup Cream

1 Cup Evaporated Milk

Cream to Thicken Soups

Pureed Potatoes or Vegetables

Oil-Based Marinades

Citrus Juice or Flavored Vinegar

Stick Margarine

Small amounts of Olive oil, Canola oil or broth

2 ounces of Mild Cheddar Cheese

1 ounce Reduced-Fat Sharp Cheddar Cheese

White Rice

Brown rice, Bulgur, Kasha, Quinoa, Whole-Wheat Couscous

Meat or Poultry for Stir Fry

Tofu (Extra Firm, Cubed) or more Vegetables

Ground Meat

Ground Turkey Breast; Finely Chopped Vegetables with Less Meat; Crumbled Tofu, Tempeh, or Soy Crumbles; Beans


Baking Substitutions

Instead of… Try…

1/2 Cup Oil, Butter or Margarine

1/4 Cup Applesauce + 1/4 Cup Canola Oil, Butter or Margarine

1 Egg

2 Egg Whites

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Nonfat Sweetened Condensed Milk

Evaporated Milk

Evaporated Skim Milk

1 Cup Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips, Chopped Dried Fruit or Chopped Nuts


Sliced Fresh Fruit with a dusting of Powdered Sugar

Sour Cream

Nonfat Sour Cream, Low-Fat Sour Cream, Pureed Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Whole Milk

Skim Milk

Cream Cheese

Low-Fat Cream Cheese


Artificial sweetener for some or all (follow manufacturer’s directions); 1/4 to 1/2 Less Sugar in the recipe

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Member Comments

In Cooking Matters classes, we made Black Bean brownies, and they were pretty good. Report
In Cooking Matters classes, we made Black Bean brownies, and they were pretty good. Report
thank you for the suggestions! Report
Thanks Report
Thank you so much. Report
I like it! Report
Thank you Report
Thanks Report
These are great swaps. Thank you! Report
Good ideas, thanks. Report
Thanks!!! Report
Great info, Thanks!!!! Report
This is from 2004! We have learned so much since then. Grains and seed oils make you sick. Not good advice. Carbs=sugar=high insulin=fat storage. Every time you eat carbs you spike your insulin. Seriously, even whole grains turn into sugar in your body within in 15 minutes! Go low carb, remove the bloat. Enjoy butter, bacon, eggs and healthy oils (olive, coconut, palm, avocado). Not canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut, corn or "vegetable oil". Calories and hunger are not even a concern when you become a fat burner. Read Wheat Belly by William Davis. Check out Benjamin Bikman, Jason Fung and Sten Ekberg among many others (with CURRENT info) who actually know what they are talking about. Report
Good article with helpful info. Report


About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.