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Easy and Healthy Ingredient Substitutions

Have you ever been so excited to make a recipe only to realize you’re missing a necessary ingredient? We’ve compiled a list of common ingredient substitutions to prepare you for situations like these.


Swap mayonnaise or sour cream for plain greek yogurt (1:1 ratio). Both mayonnaise and sour cream are high in saturated fat. By swapping these ingredients for greek yogurt, your dish will not only be lower in fat content but also higher in protein and probiotics (hello healthy gut!).

Swap granola for mixed nuts and seeds (1:1 ratio). Store-bought granola is often high in added sugars. By swapping granola for mixed nuts and/or seeds, your dish will be lower in sugar content and higher in protein and healthy fats. Tip: Toss 2 cups mixed nuts and/or seeds with ½ tbsp coconut oil + ½ tbsp maple syrup + ½ tsp salt and bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet at 325°F for 10-20 minutes (stirring halfway) for a granola-like flavor and crunch!

Swap breadcrumbs for crushed crackers (¾ cup crushed crackers for every 1 cup dry breadcrumbs). Aim for whole wheat crackers to increase the fiber content of your dish. Looking for more ways to involve your kid in the kitchen? Place whole crackers in a sealed freezer bag and allow your kid to crack, smash, and pound the crackers into crumbs!

Swap white vinegar for lemon juice, or vice versa (1:1 ratio). The acid content of white vinegar and lemon juice are similar in nature and easily mimic each other in recipes.

Swap oil for unsweetened applesauce in baking recipes (1:1 ratio). This substitution reduces the fat content of your dish while also adding flavor, moisture, and fiber. Note: This substitution works best in recipes for muffins, breads, cakes, and cookies. If using applesauce for a substitution in a recipe other than what is listed, you may need to decrease any additional liquid content (milk, water, etc.) to achieve the same result!

About the Author: Rebecca Housh is a dietetic intern at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is earning her Master’s in Nutrition. Rebecca is passionate about pediatric nutrition and believes in the importance of building healthy habits from a young age. Rebecca hopes to go into the field of clinical nutrition where she plans to specialize in pediatric or neonatal nutrition.

Sources used for inspiration:

“Common Ingredient Substitutions That Will Bring Your Recipes to Life: Food Network Canada.”,!ingredient-apple-sauce-for-oil.

Miller, Robin. “Robin's Rescue: Baking Fat Substitutes.” Azcentral, 26 Nov. 2014,

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