10 Substitute Ingredients for Lighter Cooking

Reduced-fat Dairy

Dairy products get a bad rap because the full-fat varieties contain, well … fat (along with many beneficial vitamins and minerals). Fortunately for fans of cream-based soups and sauces, the vast majority of recipes can be tweaked to drastically lower fat and calorie content. For example, cream-based soups can be made with reduced-fat milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream. Other recipes calling for high fat milk or cream can also replace the offending ingredient with evaporated skim milk or fat-free half-and-half. It's worth it to make the effort since a mere quarter of a cup of heavy whipping cream packs more than 22 grams of fat and 205 calories per serving [source: Magee]. When baking, using reduced-fat versions of sour cream, yogurt or cheese cut fat and calorie content drastically, while sacrificing little in the flavor department.

Occasionally, making the switch to reduced-fat products can be avoided altogether. In recipes where low-fat cheese won't cut it, nutrition experts suggest substituting a type of cheese with a stronger flavor than the one the recipe calls for. One caveat: Use this bolder cheese in sparing amounts. This maneuver keeps the taste alive while reducing the fat and calorie content.

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