Healthy Food Substitutes

healthy food, father and son in kitchen slicing cucumbers

Small, healthy changes in the way we prepare food can lower saturated fats and sodium and can increase fibre. These types of change may reduce your risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

How? Pack a few more vegetables into meals, remove visible fats from meats, use low fat cooking methods such as steaming instead of frying or substitute healthier ingredients such as whole wheat flour for some white flour in recipes. It really can be that simple.

Small changes do make a difference

Make small, healthy changes to those recipes



Check out the difference it makes!

whole wheat bulgar

replacing half of the lean ground beef with lentils, brown rice or bulgur in lasagna, soups, pasta sauces and more

this cuts about five grams of fat and adds three grams of fibre per ½ cup (125 mL) serving. Plus you’ll get more disease-fighting phytochemicals

whole wheat pasta

substituting whole wheat pasta for regular pasta

this adds about 5 grams of fibre per 1 cup (250 mL) serving

can of evaporated milk

substituting 2% evaporated canned milk for 12% half and half cream in recipes

this cuts about 12 grams of fat per ½ cup (125 mL) serving

spoon and bowl of broth

using home-made or low sodium (salt) broth or lower sodium tomato juice instead of oil for sautéing

adds flavour and is fat-free. Tip: freeze extra broth or tomato juice in ice cube trays and use a cube or two as needed

garlic and onions

using jarred, fresh garlic or garlic powder instead of garlic salt. Use fresh onions or onion powder instead of onion salt

cuts sodium (salt) by 490 mg per teaspoon

skinless chicken breast

removing the skin from chicken before cooking

cuts 5 grams of fat per ½ cup (125 mL) serving

Simple baking substitutions



Here’s why…

dried fruit

replacing chocolate chips with dried cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots or half chocolate chips and half dried fruit or add some cocoa powder

  • more fibre
  • less fat
  • great taste and interesting texture

whole wheat flour

replacing half the amount of regular white flour with whole wheat flour

  • better taste
  • more fibre

stick of butter cut in half

Replacing butter, lard, shortening and hard margarine with non-hydrogenated margarine that is low in saturated fat

  • less saturated fat and possibly trans fats

unpeeled apples

leaving the peel on apples

  • more fibre
  • added texture

jar of vegetable puree

replacing about 1/4 - 1/2 of the fat (butter, margarine, oil) stated in a recipe with fruit or vegetable purees such as apple sauce, prunes or pumpkin

  • added taste
  • less fat


Wondering what to look for when choosing a recipe?

Look for recipes that:

  • use lower fat cooking methods such as baking, broiling, steaming, roasting, poaching, microwaving, grilling and barbequing instead of frying or preparing in higher fat creamy sauces
  • use herbs, vinegars, spices, salsa, mustard, fruit or low sodium vegetable juice or wine to flavour foods not fat
  • are loaded with vegetables or fruits
  • include higher fibre foods such as barley, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, millet, wild rice, oatmeal, beans, peas and lentils

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