Healthy Food Substitutions

Food Substitutions

Milk and Milk Products

Evaporated whole milk

Evaporated fat-free (skim) or reduced fat (2%) milk

Whole milk

Fat-free (skim), low-fat (1%), or reduced fat (2%) milk

Ice cream

Sorbet and ices, sherbet, and low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt

Whipping cream

Imitation whipped cream (made with fat-free [skim] milk)

Sour cream

Plain low-fat yogurt

Cream cheese

Neufchatel or "light" cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese

Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, or jack)

Reduced calorie cheese, low-calorie processed cheeses, etc.

American cheese

Fat-free American cheese or other types of fat-free cheeses

Regular (4%) cottage cheese

Low-fat (1%) or reduced fat (2%) cottage cheese

Whole milk mozzarella cheese

Part-skim milk, low-moisture mozzarella cheese

Whole milk ricotta cheese

Part-skim milk ricotta cheese

Coffee cream (1/2 and 1/2) or non-dairy creamer (liquid or powder)

Low-fat (1%) or reduced fat (2%) milk or non-fat dry milk powder

Cereals, Grains, and Pastas

Ramen noodles

Rice or noodles (spaghetti, macaroni, etc.)

Pasta with white sauce (Alfredo)

Pasta with red sauce (marinara)

Pasta with cheese sauce

Pasta with vegetables (primavera)


Bran flakes, crispy rice, etc., Reduced-fat granola

White rice

Brown rice

Meats, Fish, and Poultry

Cold cuts or lunch meats (bologna, salami, liverwurst, etc.)

Low-fat cold cuts (95% to 97% fat-free lunch meats or low-fat pressed meats)

Bacon or sausage

Canadian bacon or lean ham

Hot dogs (regular)

Lower-fat hot dogs

Regular ground beef

Extra lean ground beef such as ground round or ground turkey (read labels)

Chicken or turkey with skin, duck, or goose

Chicken or turkey without skin (white meat)

Oil-packed tuna

Water-packed tuna (rinse to reduce sodium content)

Beef (chuck, rib, or brisket)

Beef (round or loin) (trimmed of external fat)(choose select grades)

Pork (spareribs or untrimmed loin)

Pork tenderloin or trimmed, lean smoked ham

Frozen breaded fish or fried fish (homemade or commercial)

Fish or shellfish, unbreaded (fresh, frozen, or canned in water)

Whole eggs

Egg whites or egg substitutes

Baked Goods

Croissants, brioches, etc.

Hard French rolls or soft brown and serve rolls

Donuts, sweet rolls, muffins, scones, or pastries

English muffins, bagels, reduced fat or fat-free muffins or scones

Party crackers

Low-fat crackers (choose lower in sodium)

Cake (pound, chocolate or yellow)

Cake (angel food, white, or gingerbread)


Fat-free or reduced fat cookies (graham crackers, ginger snaps, or fig bars)

Snacks and Sweets


Popcorn (air-popped or light microwave), fruits, vegetables

Ice cream, for example, cones or bars

Frozen yogurt, frozen fruit, or chocolate pudding bars

Custards or puddings (made with whole milk)

Puddings (made with fat-free milk)

Fats, Oils, and Salad Dressings

Regular margarine or butter

Light spread margarines, diet margarine or whipped butter

Regular mayonnaise

Light or diet mayonnaise or mustard

Regular salad dressings

Fat-free or reduced calorie salad dressings, lemon juice, or plain, herb-flavored, or wine vinegar

Butter or margarine on toast or bread

Jelly, jam, or honey on bread or toast

Margarine, shortening, or lard

Olive or vegetable oil


Canned cream soups

Canned broth-based soups (low-sodium)

Gravy (homemade with fat and/or milk)

Gravy mixes made with water or homemade with the fat skimmed off and fat-free milk

Fudge sauce

Chocolate syrup

Guacamole dip or refried beans with lard


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