A Guide to Ingredient Substitutions

November 26, 2019
Chef tests her latest recipe.

This content is courtesy of Mayo Clinic, the No. 1 hospital in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. Middlesex Health is a member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. This relationship provides us with access to information, knowledge and expertise from Mayo Clinic.

Whipping up healthy meals may be easier than you think. Use this guide to make simple ingredient substitutions to reduce salt and saturated fat—and boost fiber—in your favorite recipes.

If a recipe calls for these ingredients, try these substitutes:
  • Bread crumbs, dry = Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
  • Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods = Applesauce or prune puree for half of the called-for butter, shortening or oil; trans-free spreads or shortenings formulated for baking
  • Butter, margarine or shortening to prevent sticking = Cooking spray
  • Canned meat, fish, vegetables and soups = Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
  • Cream = Fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk
  • Cream cheese, full fat = Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel cheese, or pureed low-fat cottage cheese
  • Eggs = Two egg whites or 1/4 cup egg substitute for each whole egg
  • Flour, all-purpose (plain) = Whole-wheat flour for half of the flour called for in baked goods
  • Ground beef = Extra-lean or lean ground beef, ground chicken breast or ground turkey breast
  • Mayonnaise = Reduced-calorie, reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Meat = Vegetables for half of the meat called for in casseroles, soups and stews
  • Milk, evaporated = Evaporated skim milk
  • Pasta, enriched (white) = Whole-wheat pasta
  • Rice, white = Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur wheat or pearl barley
  • Seasoning salt, such as garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt = Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, or finely chopped fresh herbs, garlic, celery or onions
  • Sour cream, full fat = Fat-free or low-fat sour cream, or plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt


This article was written by staff at Mayo Clinic with expertise in nutrition.

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