12 Recipe Substitutions that Save Mega Calories

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

healthy recipe substitutionsWhen we think of potato salad, fried food, cookies, and cakes, we think of those as high calorie, fattening foods.

But, what if you could easily make a lower calorie and tasty food with a simple recipe substitution?

12 Simple Swaps

  1. Greek yogurt for mayonnaise: I recommend using half the mayonnaise needed in a recipe, and the other half substitute with Greek yogurt. Ex: Recipe calls for ½ cup total, so use ¼ cup yogurt and ¼ cup mayonnaise. This is a great way to make a lighter potato salad.
  2. Greek yogurt for sour cream
  3. Greek yogurt for butter: Substitute ¼ of the butter amount with yogurt. Ex: Recipe calls for 1 cup butter, so use ¾ cup butter and ¼ cup yogurt.
  4. Applesauce for butter: This works for baking recipes like cookies or vanilla cakes only.
  5. Pureed prunes for butter in chocolate cake or chocolate cookie recipes. You can puree your own prunes, or buy a jar of prune baby food!
  6. Pumpkin for oil in a baking recipe.
  7. Whole wheat bread crumbs, panko bread crumbs, or crushed whole wheat crackers for breading and baking instead of frying foods.
  8. Olive oil spray instead of vegetable oils or butters. You can make your own olive oil mister with a clean spray bottle filled with ¾ cup water and ¼ cup oil.
  9. Flaxseed (1 tsp) and water (1/4 cup) to substitute 1 egg in a baking recipe.
  10. Ground oats or almond meal for flour in a recipe. This can help to add fiber, a healthy fat, and a small amount of protein to the recipe!
  11. Stevia for half of the sugar.
  12. Avocado can replace most of the oil, butter, or shortening in recipes.

Use Your Judgment

If you feel like you know your way around the kitchen, you can use your judgment to scale back on some of the higher calorie ingredients.

Use your smarts to swap out white flour, and use wheat flour, or use less olive oil than the recipe calls for. Also try adding extra herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of the recipe.

See Also: A Great Collection of Healthier Makeover Recipes.

Do you have an ingredient swaps that you use?


  1. liza

    Mashed banana can sub for oil in a baking recipe too!

    • Ted

      As long as you don’t mind banana flavor in whatever it is you’re baking.

  2. Sue

    Good ideas! Thanks!

  3. Ann

    On number 3, 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup adds up to 3/4 cup not 1 cup. Is that intentional or a math mistake?

    • ted

      Thanks for pointing that out, it was a typo and it’s fixed. sorry for the confusion

  4. name

    diet-blog.com rocks!

    • ted

      Well, Thank you! 🙂

  5. Foizul

    Good job! This blog is totally an informative blog I ever read. Thanks for sharing your wisdom on fat burning food. Looking forward to see some of your incoming post.

  6. Jessica

    In recipes for cookies and apple pie and such I substitute dried prunes, raisens and apricots for sugar. I cut them in little pieces and mix them into the dough. I replace sugar in my yoghurt by these pieces of dried fruit, too.
    Sometimes when making cookies or pie I also use a bit of natural sugarfree jam instead of sugar.

  7. Spectra

    I use yogurt for everything. I don’t even buy sour cream or mayo anymore–I just use the yogurt. It’s fantastic and I think it actually tastes better than the sour cream or yogurt. I have yet to try the flaxseed thing for eggs–I just don’t know if I’d like the texture or not, but it might prove to be interesting.