Low Fat Cooking Substitutes

If you’ve decided it’s time to start eating healthier than you’re likely looking for ways to make your favorite dishes healthier as well—without  jeopardizing great taste, of course!

That’s why we’ve put together a handy list of the 14 best and most surprising low fat cooking substitutes. This way, you can substitute fat for fit and high calorie for low calorie, and still enjoy your most delectable recipes on a regular basis.

Here are our favorite 14 surprisingly low fat food substitutes…

Unsweetened Applesauce for Butter

It might not sound too appetizing, but it baking applesauce matches the consistency of butter and even adds a hint of sweetness to the mix—minus the high fat content (and I don’t mean the good kind of fat). You can swap butter for applesauce in just about any baking scenario—for cakes, muffins, sweet breads, and even cookies.  Whatever measurement the recipe calls for in butter; just swap out half the equal amount in applesauce.

Vanilla for Sugar

You can easily slice the sugar content from calories in half simply by adding a vanilla as a substitute. Think about it this way; that single cup of sugar equals about 400 calories. However, if you substitute it with a few teaspoons of vanilla extract, you literally get all the sweetness, minus the calories.

Cacao for Chocolate

Chocolate actually start out as cacao anyhow, so why not take your ingredients from the source— that’s until it’s roasted down and processed into its chocolate transformation. By opting for cocoa, you cut out the additives and excess sugar and ensure a beneficial dose of antioxidants gets into your baking.

Quinoa for Pasta

Pasta is made from processed wheat flour, which really means that it’s just chalked full empty carbohydrates. Quinoa, on the other hand, is a super grain, known as such because it’s packed with protein and nutrients and it goes just as well with pasta sauce, stir fries, and in casseroles.

Pureed Avocado for Butter

While butter and avocado are both filed under the fat category, however, the former is bad fat and the later is good fat. So which would you rather in your baking? Especially when you consider both have equal consistency and creaminess for baking room temperature.

Rolled oats for Breadcrumbs

While breadcrumbs pack extra sodium, but not a lot of fiber, rolled oats seasoned with herbs is a great way to sneak the goodness of whole grain fiber into your turkey or casserole, and no one will be the wiser!

Egg Whites for Whole Eggs

Did you know that if you swap one egg with the yolk with two egg whites, you get the same effect? Plus, that way you cut the cholesterol (and one egg yolk contains more than half the recommended daily dose) and double the protein.

Ground Turkey for Ground Beef

Ground turkey (or chicken) is a great substitute for ground beef to cut down on saturated fat and calories. Reminder: Because of the lower fat content, ground poultry often ends up drier than beef, but a few tablespoons of chicken stock can solve the problem in a snap!

Plain Yogurt for Sour Cream

Plain yogurt contains only half the fat and calories that sour cream does, and the taste and texture is virtually identical on top of a plate of nachos.

Avocado Mash for Mayo

If you’re looking to cut fat on your sandwich, mashed avocado is a delicious swap for mayo. Plus, it delivers the same creamy consistency and taste in health monounsaturated fats with an added dose of vitamin E.

Sweet potatoes for Regular Potatoes

Regular white potatoes don’t have a lot of nutritional value, but when you substitute them for sweet potatoes, you get fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6 all in one tader. And you cut the carbohydrates by over 20 grams!

Garlic Powder for Salt

If you’re trying to cut out salt, dried herbs, like garlic powder, can pack a savory-punch without the water-retaining, heart-stopping sodium.

Fruit Puree for Syrup

Maple syrup is a sinfully sweet topping for pancakes and plain oats. However, it’s a lot of empty sugar. Try a warm fruit puree of apples, berries, or pears instead on top of your flapjacks and cut the calories drastically while adding healthy antioxidants and vitamins to your morning breakfast.

Soda Water for Tonic Water

Both are clear, bubbly, and make excellent drink mixes, but tonic water is filled with sugar (and calories). Using plain soda water and a lemon or lime instead means bubblicious taste with 32 grams less sugar in a glass.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.