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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato


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When your recipes calls for:


Bacon Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or Italian ham (prosciutto)
Butter (1 Tablespoon) 1 Tablespoon polyunsaturated margarine or 3/4 Tablespoon polyunsaturated oil. Or a butter substitute for baking (Lighter Bake, applesauce, etc.) If using a pureed fruit such as applesauce, use it for half of the called for butter. For non-stick purposes: use a cooking spray, available in many flavors, even flour for baking
Buttermilk (1 Cup) 1 cup milk + 1 Tablespoon vinegar
Cream Cheese Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese, Neufchatel or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth. Light cream cheese or four Tablespoons of margarine blended with 1 cup dry low-fat cottage cheese. Add a small amount of skim milk if needed in the blending mixture. Add chopped chives, pimento or herbs and seasonings for variety.
Creamed Soups Fat-free milk-based soups, mashed potato flakes or pureed carrots, potatoes or tofu for thickening agents.
Cornstarch (1 1/2 teaspoons) 1 Tablespoon flour
Dry Bread Crumbs Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Eggs (1 egg) 1 egg white plus 2 teaspoons of unsaturated oil or 3/4 cup cholesterol-free egg substitute. Replace each whole egg with two egg whites. For baking, you may want to add a tablespoons or less of liquid vegetable oil such as canola, safflower, sunflower or soybean for a moister consistency.
Enriched pasta Whole-wheat pasta. If not ready to fully switch, try using half whole-wheat and half enriched.
Evaporated milk Evaporated skim milk.
Flour Whole-wheat flour for half of the called for flour in baked goods. Works best in cakes and muffins.
Fruit canned in heavy syrup Fruit canned in its own juices or in water, or fresh fruit.
Fruit-flavored yogurt Plain, low fat yogurt with fresh fruit slices.
Ground Beef Extra-lean or lean ground beef, chicken or turkey breast (no skin added). Also try a meatless product such as ground soy or tofu.
Heavy Cream (1 Cup) 1 cup evaporated skim milk or 1/2 cup low-fat yogurt and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
Iceberg lettuce Arugula, chicory, collard greens, spinach, romaine and other dark leafy greens
Margarine in baked goods Trans fat-free butter spreads or shortenings formulated for baking. Don't substitute diet, whipped or tub-style margarine for regular margarine in baked goods.
Mayonnaise Reduced-calorie or fat-free mayo
Meat as the main Ingredient Three times as many vegetables as the meat on pizzas or in baked dishes, soups and stews. You can also substitute a meatless product such as soy or tofu.
Oil-based marinades Wine, balsamic vinegar, fruit juice or fat-free broth
Oil (1 Cup) 1 1/4 cups polyunsaturated margarine (or butter/oil substitute for baking)
Salad dressing Reduced-fat or fat-free dressing or flavored vinegar
Seasonings and Salt Herb-only seasonings, such as garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes, fresh herbs, no sodium products such as Mrs. Dash
Shortening (1 Cup) 2 sticks polyunsaturated margarine
Soups, sauces, dressings, crackers, or canned meat, fish or vegetables) Low-sodium or reduced-sodium versions
Sour cream Low-fat or fat free sour cream or try one of the following: Low-fat cottage cheese plus low-fat yogurt for flavor; Ricotta cheese made from partially skimmed milk (thinned with yogurt or buttermilk); one can of chilled evaporated skim milk whipped with one teaspoon of lemon juice; or low-fat buttermilk or low-fat yogurt.
Soy sauce Sweet- and- sour sauce, hot mustard sauce or low-sodium soy sauce
Sugar (1 Cup) In Baking: Honey- 3/4 Cup + 1 TBSP Maple Syrup: 3/4 Cup Molasses- 1 1/3 Cup Artificial sugars: Use according to package directions
Syrup Pureed fruit, such as applesauce, or low-calorie, sugar-free syrup
Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce) 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or carob powder plus 1 Tablespoons of polyunsaturated oil or margarine. (Carob is sweeter than cocoa, so reduce the sugar in the recipe by one-fourth)
White (enriched) bread Whole-wheat bread
White (enriched) rice Brown rice, wild rice, bulgur or pearl barley
Whole Milk (1 Cup) 1 Cup of skim or nonfat milk plus 1 Tbsp. of unsaturated oil or reduced milk