How to Change Ordinary Recipes to Extraordinary Healthy Dishes!

Quick Modifications to Healthier Eating 

Family eating healthy foods

Modifying ingredients in your recipe is a quick and effective way to reduce calories, sodium, fats, and sugars to keep your body healthy. To modify, the most valuable tip we can provide is to approach recipe change in a step-wise fashion.

For instance, it might be your goal to reduce the fat in your beef stroganoff recipe so if you’re currently using regular sour cream, try using a reduced-fat version. Then, gradually mix reduced-fat with fat-free until you and your family fully transition into the taste of using 100% fat-free sour cream.

Likewise, when increasing the vegetable content in casseroles or soups, add more volume each time you prepare the recipe. Below are some other modifications you can try:

Less Fats 

Oil, butter, fats

When baking, replace butter, margarine, and oils with equal amounts of applesauce or other fruit purees. (Reduces 5 grams of fat per teaspoon)

Make yogurt cheese from low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt instead of using sour cream, cream cheese, and mayonnaise. Reduces 7 grams of fat per tablespoon.

Try low-fat or fat-free mayonnaise and salad dressings in place of regular mayonnaise and dressings. Reduces 7 grams of fat per tablespoon.

Use evaporated skim milk in place of whole milk or cream. Reduces 5-14 grams of fat per 1/2 cup.

Use 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg. Reduces 5 grams of fat per egg.

Less Sugars 


Replace 1/4 of the sugar in cookies, bars, and cakes with an equal amount of nonfat dry milk. Reduces 50 grams of sugar.

Substitute 1/2 cup Splenda for 1 cup sugar. Reduces 200 grams of sugar.

More Phytonutrients 

Greens and vegetables

Add berries to cereal, yogurt, and frozen yogurt or have as a dessert. Adds flavonoids.

Add tomatoes to salads, sandwiches, soups and mixed dishes. Adds lycopene.

Add dark green leaves (spinach, mustard, and turnip) and carrots to salads, sandwiches,  and soups. Adds carotenoids.

Add cruciferous vegetables to casseroles, salads and side dishes (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, Bok Choy, and kale). Adds isothiocyanates, indoles, and sulforaphane.

Cooking Methods

Couple cooking a healthy meal

Oven Fry: Coat item with fat-free mayonnaise or yogurt cheese instead of egg/flour dip, roll in bread crumbs, and spritz both sides with spray margarine or olive oil spritzer.

Sauté: Cook onions, garlic, and peppers in broth instead of oil.

Marinade: Use fat-free salad dressings with an acid-like, lemon-lime juice instead of oil mixtures.

Baking, Broiling, Grilling, and Steaming are terrific ways to prepare foods without adding fat.


With all these great modifications, you can change your ordinary recipes to extraordinary healthy dishes! Do you have a favorite replacement recipe to liven up your food without excessive sugars and fats? Let us know!

Anschutz Health and Wellness Center