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How to Substitute High-Fat for Fat-Free

Focused on Health - April 2012

Want to maintain a healthy weight — and make your body more fit to fight cancer?

Trimming calories and fat from the foods you eat can help.

Get started by making these easy cooking substitutions. Only your waistline will know the difference!

Instead of:                                                         Substitute:
BaconLean turkey bacon
Bread crumbsToasted wheat germ or whole wheat bread crumbs
Butter, margarine, or oil (1 cup)½ cup apple butter or applesauce
Butter, margarine, or vegetable oil for sautéingCooking spray, chicken or vegetable broth, or olive oil
Canned cream soupsCanned broth-based soups
Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, jack)Reduced-fat/part-skim cheese
CreamEvaporated fat-free milk
Cream (for soup thickening)Pureed potatoes or vegetables
Cream cheese (1 cup)½ cup ricotta cheese pureed with ½ cup fat-free cream cheese
Eggs (1 egg)2 egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute
Flour (all-purpose, 1 cup)1 cup whole wheat flour or ½ cup whole wheat flour + ½ cup all-purpose flour
Ground beefExtra-lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
MayonnaiseReduced-fat or fat-free mayonnaise
Meat/poultry for stir-fryExtra-firm tofu, cubed
Oil and vinegar dressing (3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar)1 part olive oil + 1 part flavored vinegar + 1 part orange juice
Sour CreamFat-free sour cream or unflavored Greek yogurt
Tuna (oil-packed)Water-packed tuna (rinse to reduce sodium)
White riceBrown rice, bulgur, kasha, quinoa or whole wheat couscous
Whole milkFat-free milk


**Unless otherwise noted, substitute the same amount as the original recipe calls for.

fat-free substitutePrint out this list of fat-free and low-fat cooking substitutes.

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© 2014 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center