Young Woman Cooking

So you’re hosting the holiday party and want to make the meal a little healthier? That’s great.

You don’t have to give up those favorite family dishes. But you can make simple-ingredient swaps (without compromising taste), to serve healthier food during the holidays.1,2,3

And you don’t need to be a food scientist, nutrition expert, or culinary genius.

Here are some simple substitutes you can make:

1. Dairy Products

  • Replace whole milk or cream with fat-free milk or soymilk.
  • Substitute plain, fat-free or low-fat yogurt for sour cream.

2. Spices & Seasonings

  • Use a variety of herbs and spices in place of salt.
  • Use low-sodium bouillon and broths, instead of regular bouillons and broths.Large spice and herb collection

3. Oils & Butter

  • Instead of cooking with lard, butter, shortening, or other fats that are hard at room temperature, use a small amount of vegetable oil.
  • Replace hard-stick margarine with regular-soft margarine made with vegetable oil. Healthier margarine includes no trans fats and lists liquid-vegetable oil as the first ingredient on the food label.

4. Eggs

In baking or cooking, use egg whites or an egg substitute.

5. Meats & Poultry

  • If you eat meat, choose a lean cut of meat and remove any visible fat.
  • Remove skin from chicken and other poultry where fat is stored before cooking.

6. Sandwiches & Salads

  • Use fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise, instead of regular versions.
    Make your own low-calorie vinaigrette salad dressing with equal parts water and vinegar or lemon juice, and half as much oil.
  • Garnish salads with fruits and vegetables instead of cheese and meats.

7. Soups and Stews

  • Use cooking spray, water, or stock to sauté onion for flavoring stews, soups, and sauces.
  • Remove fat from homemade broths, soups, and stews by chilling after cooking. Before reheating the dish, lift off the hardened fat that formed at the surface.
  • If you don’t have time to chill the dish, then float a few ice cubes on the surface of the warm liquid to harden the fat. Then, remove and discard the fat.

8. Breads

  • When making muffins or quick breads, use 3 ripe, well-mashed bananas for each 1/2 C of butter or oil called for in the recipe.
  • Applesauce also works as a good substitute for butter, margarine, oil, or shortening in muffins, quick breads, and cookies.

9. Desserts

  • Make your own pie crust without the trans fat used in pre-made pie crust. Use vegetable oil in place of butter or shortening.
  • For chocolate desserts, use 3 T of cocoa instead of 1 ounce of baking chocolate. If fat is needed to replace the fat found in chocolate, add 1 T or less of vegetable oil.
  • To make cakes and soft-drop cookies, use no more than 2 T of fat for each cup of flour.

Before you start cooking, review this list of substitute ingredients and make sure you have everything you need to make your holiday meal a little healthier.

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