OSF Saint Francis Medical Center

Peoria, Illinois

Recipe Modification

Use this guide to reduce the amount of fat, salt, sugar or calories in your diet, which may lower your risk for diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Baking Ingredients

Original Ingredient Substitution

Baking chocolate, unsweetened

3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or soft margarine

Tip: Since carob is sweeter than cocoa, reduce the sugar in the recipe by 25% when using this substitute

Butter, margarine, shortening, oils in baked goods



Reduce amount of fat in recipe by 1/3

When appropriate use an canola oil for solid fat (3/4 cup canola oil = 1 cup of solid fat)

Applesauce or prune puree for the amount of butter, shortening, or oil

Butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking, trans-fat free (Country Crock® Baking Sticks, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter® All Purpose Sticks, or Crisco® All-Vegetable Shortening Baking Sticks)

Tip: To avoid soggy or flat baked goods, don’t use diet, whipped or tub margarine for regular margarine

Chocolate chips                                             

Reduce the amount by ½ and use mini chocolate chips to help spread the chips throughout the recipe


Replace 2 egg whites for 1 egg

¼ cup of egg substitute for 1 egg

1 Tablespoon flax meal or chia seed + 3 Tablespoons hot water (Stir to combine and let stand for about 10 minutes or until thick)

Flour for baking


Whole wheat flour for half of the called for flour

White whole wheat flour (read package for directions)


Reduce amount by 1/4 or 1/3 for baked items

Use a sugar substitute such as Truvía® Baking Blend or SPLENDA® sugar blend (follow directions on package for the amount to use)

Tip: For best results, do not make more than 2 changes to recipes for baked good

Dairy Ingredients

Ingredient Substitution


Low fat buttermilk

Powdered buttermilk

Add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup of low fat milk.  Stir to combine and then let stand for 10-15 minutes until mixture begins to curdle

Cheese, sliced or shredded


Reduced fat, fat free, or light

Use a stronger flavored cheese, like sharp cheddar,  but use ½ the amount

Use dairy-free cheese like Daiya®, Go Veggie!® or SoDelicious®


Fat free half and half

Evaporated skim milk

Cream Cheese


Fat free or low fat/Neufchâtel cream cheese

Greek cream cheese (made with Greek yogurt)

Cream, whipped

Fat free or low fat whipped topping

Ice cream or Frozen yogurt

Fat free or low fat

Sugar free or no sugar added


Specialty ice creams such as Halo Top®, Chilly Cow®, Moophoria by Ben and Jerry’s®


Milk, evaporated

Milk, sweetened condensed

Nonfat (skim) or 1% milk

Fat free, evaporated

Fat free or low fat, sweetened condensed

Sour Cream

Fat free or low fat

Plain regular or Greek yogurt, fat free or low fat

Blended cottage cheese, fat free or low fat

Fat Ingredients

Ingredient Substitution


Lower sodium bacon

Turkey bacon

Vegetarian bacon (MorningStar Farms® Veggie Bacon Strips)

Canadian bacon

Smoked turkey

Lean prosciutto (Italian ham)

Butter, margarine, shortening, oils in cooking

Canola or olive oil

Cooking spray or water


Fat free, low fat, reduced fat, or light

Salad dressing

Balsamic vinegar or flavored vinegars

Low fat vinaigrettes

Low fat or fat free

Meat Ingredients

Ingredient Substitution

Beef and pork

Lean cuts (flank, round, loin)

Trim visible fat

Reduce portion size

Chicken and turkey

Remove skin before cooking

White meat more than dark

Ground turkey or chicken breast at least 90% lean, extra lean or white meat

Soy Chik’n Nuggets®

Lightly breaded chicken breast (Perdue® Simply Smart®)

Ground beef

At least 90% lean beef

Brown, drain, rinse before adding to recipe

Ground turkey or chicken breast at least 90% lean, extra lean or white meat

Tip: Replace some meat in soups or casseroles with beans or lentils

Miscellaneous Ingredients

Ingredient Substitution

Fruit, canned in heavy syrup

Canned fruit in light syrup or natural juice

Rinse fruit with water

Fresh or frozen unsweetened fruit

Gelatin or pudding mixes

Sugar free gelatin

Sugar free and fat free pudding

Make pudding with nonfat (skim) milk

Soups or broth

Lower fat and no salt added soups and broth


Lower calorie, sugar-free syrup

Pureed unsweetened fruit

Vegetables, canned

No salt added canned vegetables

Rinse canned vegetables

Fresh or frozen

Seasoning Ingredients

Ingredient Substitution

MSG “Accent®”



Eliminate except for yeast breads

Reduce the amount

Herbs, spices, or salt-free seasoning mixes or herb blends

Seasoned salts (garlic, onion, celery)

Fresh ingredients

Powdered seasonings

Soy sauce

Less sodium soy sauce

Tip: Flavor foods with juices, vinegars, citrus zest or strongly flavored vegetables, such as onion or garlic

Cooking Methods

Ingredient Substitution


Use a nonstick skillet. Less or no oil is required to prevent sticking

Use a nonstick cooking spray instead of butter, margarine, oil or shortening

Sauté foods in a small amount of wine, broth or juice instead of using fat or oil

Deep Frying

Bake, broil, grill, roast or stew instead

Pan Frying

Remove fat from cooked ground meat by draining in a colander or using paper towel to soak up grease


Place meat on a rack while cooking so grease will drain off

Watch this video to learn more!



American Heart Association. Web. 12 Feb. 2019. < https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/cooking-skills/cooking/smart-substitutions-to-eat-healthy>

“Cooking Tips for Weight Management.” Nutrition Care Manual. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Web. 12 Feb. 2019. <http://www.nutritioncaremanual.org/vault/2440/web/files/CookingTipsWeightMgmt.pdf>

“Your Guide to Healthy Ingredient Substitutions.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 26 July 2016, <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/healthy-recipes/art-20047195>