Food Substitutions Are a Simple Matter of Taste

Publication Date: 
Fri, 05/01/2015
By: Alere Staff

Making changes towards a healthier lifestyle can sometimes mean taking foods out of your diet that you enjoy the most. Becoming healthier, though, doesn’t mean your food has to automatically become boring and bland. Some people say that these healthy changes remove delicious flavor of your favorite meals. With this gone, eating can become more of a habit than a joy, making many of us long for the days of butter, salt and full fat mayonnaise.

With the growth of interest in healthier diets, people have started to find foods to substitute when baking or cooking. These foods may be better for you, but foodies are swearing by their ability to make meals taste yummy again.

Let’s start with something easy. Perhaps you absolutely love baking and find yourself using white flour in your cookies, breads and muffins. Did you know that substituting 7/8 of a cup of whole wheat flour instead of one cup of white flour can make a difference? By using whole wheat flour, you increase the nutrients and flavor of your cooking while increasing your fiber intake. Having more fiber in your diet can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes.1

Perhaps you love to have sugar, butter and oil in your baking, but need to reduce your intake. Instead substitute unsweetened apple sauce. One cup of applesauce can provide the sweetness of one cup of sugar as well as giving the same consistency as one cup of butter or oil for muffins and cookies.2 Another butter substitute is avocado. Pureed avocado is a fat, but a much healthier fat, with almost the same consistency as butter. Next time you make a platter of brownies, try using a cup of avocado puree over a cup of butter. You may be pleasantly surprised by the creaminess it lends to your sweet.1,2

Other common substitutes include ground turkey for ground beef, using vanilla instead of sugar for baking, spaghetti squash for pasta and brown rice for white rice.1 Even using dark chocolate pieces in trail mix instead of coated chocolate candies can make a healthy difference. Sometimes you can even do better than low-fat or reduced fat versions of foods. For example, substituting natural peanut butter instead of reduced-fat peanut butter can help you out more than you may think as reduced-fat versions can have more sugar and artificial additives than their unsalted, natural cousins.1

As you can see, cooking and baking with healthier substitutions doesn’t have to cost you your food satisfaction. By finding substitutions that will work with your diet, you won’t have to worry about taking the fun out of food.  An additional tip: before substituting any ingredients, visit our Vitamin K Finder to make sure the food you’re using won’t drastically change your normal vitamin K intake. For normal portion sizes, most substituted products will not change your vitamin K levels.

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  1. Morin, K. 83 Healthy Recipe Subsitutions. Greatist. May 29, 2014. Retrieved from website
  2. The Heart Institute. Health Substitutions Food Chart. Retrieved April 17, 2015 from website: