Swap it Out! Lower Calorie Options for Common Ingredients

Swap it Out!  Lower calorie options for common ingredients

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Want to make a favorite family dish lower calorie? Run out of an ingredient and need to make a substitution? Experiment with these suggestions from ThedaCare’s dietitians. You’ll enjoy great-tasting food that’s better for you!



All-purpose, enriched, white flour

Whole wheat flour (use the same amount)

Sugar or syrup

Unsweetened applesauce or pureed fruit (use half the amount of sugar or syrup)

White rice

Brown rice (use the same amount)


Olive oil in entrees, or prunes or applesauce in baked goods (typically, use half the amount of butter)

Mashed potatoes

Mashed cauliflower or turnips

Enriched white pasta

Whole wheat pasta

Ground beef

Ground bison or turkey

Heavy cream

Coconut milk or evaporated skim milk, equal amounts, plus 2-3 Tbsp. of cornstarch or gelatin to thicken

Sour cream or mayonnaise

Yogurt, Greek-style or plain

Tortilla wraps

Lettuce leaves

Canned fruit

Fresh or frozen fruit

Instant oatmeal

Whole or steel-cut oatmeal


Salt-free, herb-based, seasoning mix

Bottled salad dressing

Homemade salad dressing (healthiest is vinegar and olive oil)

Buttermilk, 1 cup

1 Tbsp. lemon juice or vinegar with 1 cup milk, less 1 Tbsp.


Ground whole oats

Corn or canola oil, 1 cup

Mix applesauce and buttermilk (1/2 cup each) or the buttermilk substitute (above)