Healthy Ingredient Alternatives [Infographic]

From healthy butter substitutes to gluten-free alternatives we’re sharing some of our favorite ingredient swaps that can add a healthy twist to most of your favorite recipes. Whether you are looking for gluten free or vegan substitutions, these healthy food substitutions listed below can help you get started. Have any other ingredient swaps to add? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Healthy Ingredients_Final

Whether eating healthy is your New Year’s resolution, or you’re just looking to make small improvements to your health, there are several ingredient swaps that can be easily incorporated into your everyday life. When selecting your ingredient swaps, try to choose the foods that are as natural and unprocessed as possible. Limiting ingredients like butter, sugar, and flour, will not only save you calories, but will also help improve your overall health!

Below is a list of our most favorite ingredient swaps. Next time you are in the kitchen, test a few of our suggestions, and see just how easy it is to live a healthier life!

Vegetable Noodles for Pasta Noodles

vegetable noodles
This easy swap takes away those added carbs and replaces them with nutrient-rich vegetables. You can purchase a vegetable spiralizer or even just use a vegetable peeler to create long ribbons of carrots, zucchini, or even yellow squash. Another vegetable-centric idea is swapping traditional noodles with spaghetti squash. Pair your spaghetti squash with an organic or homemade pasta sauce and, voila, you’ve just created a fresh and satisfying dinner.

Applesauce for White Sugar

apple sauce
For the moments when you just need to satisfy your sweet tooth craving, try swapping organic applesauce with any refined sugar in all your favorite baked good recipes. Applesauce is naturally sweet, working as a perfect switch for any artificial sweetener or refined sugar.

Lettuce Leaves for Tortillas

sub lettuce for tortillas
Not willing to give up your weekly taco Tuesday night? Don’t worry; you can still have your Mexican fiesta without ruining your healthy eating efforts! To cut back on added carbs, use fresh lettuce leaves as a taco shell or wrap.

Corn Tortillas for Flour Tortillas

corn tortillas
If there is no way you are giving up on your tortillas, at least make it a healthier alternative. Corn tortillas are half the calories and half the fat compared to standard flour tortillas.

Ground Turkey for Ground Beef

ground turkey burger
Do you have a favorite homemade burger or lasagna recipe? Try switching out the ground beef for ground turkey or ground chicken. These two alternatives have less fat and still pack in all the flavor and protein.

Greek Yogurt for Sour Cream

greek yogurt
This creamy swap has the tangy punch you get from sour cream but is a whole lot healthier. Create sauces and spreads with Greek yogurt for a lighter alternative to sour cream.

Whole Wheat Flour for White Flour

Any recipe that calls for white flour can be easily switched with its healthier counterpart. Whole-wheat flour is rich in fiber and is less processed, making it a smarter food choice.

Honey for Sugar

Eliminating sugar completely is nearly impossible. For a smarter alternative, use honey or organic maple syrup as a more natural and raw form of sweetener. Honey supports anti-inflammatory functions in your body and also contains many beneficial vitamins and nutrients.

Mashed Bananas for Oil

Mashed bananas can be swapped for many different ingredients in the kitchen. They provide the perfect replacement for sugar, butter, and oil. This ingredient swap is great for baked goods like muffins and cookies.

Avocado for Butter

avocado for butter
Butter seems to be one of the hardest ingredients to give up. If you are looking for a swap that adds all the richness that butter provides, try trading it in for avocado. This ingredient switch works especially well with baked goods!

Rolled Oats for Instant Oats

rolled oats
Before reaching for that processed individual brown bag of artificially sweetened oatmeal, try making it from scratch. Not only can you customize these oats with whatever flavor you desire, but you also dodge all that added sugar and preservatives that come in instant oats. Rolled oats are a great source of fiber that will keep you satisfied throughout the day.

Black Beans for Flour

black beans
Okay, now this one seems a little far-fetched, but hear me out. Many healthy bakers will swap one can of drained and rinsed black beans for a serving of flour when baking brownies. This substitution will get rid of refined carbs and replace them with a healthy dose of protein.

There you have it, implementing a healthier diet doesn’t have to be as difficult as it might seem. If revamping your entire food intake seems like a daunting challenge, try slowing incorporating these healthier ingredient swaps. These simple alternatives will get you one step closer to living a long and happy life! Check out the infographic below for a few more healthy ingredient swaps.


Lynn Huber says:

Would the almond flour and coconut flour need xantham or guar gum as well?

It depends on your recipe. Typically coconut flour has enough fiber to hold baked goods together.

kim says:

Lynn, Good thinking. I would use a bit of Your suggestions and perhaps a tad bit more water due to increased fiber and crumb factor of the coconut flour

Karen says:

I use almond flour all the time since I have diabetes and am on a low carb high fat diet. It’s not the same as wheat flour, although I don’t use xantham or guar gum in my recipes. I’d recommend you just google almond flour for recipes. Coconut flour is even less like regular flour and tends to expand tremendously. Again, google it for recipes. I personally never use all coconut flour in a recipe.

Sara says:

My biggest is honey for sugar, but I am always open for more suggestions! Too bad I cannot read your graphic, which I bet was done on purpose….

I’m so sorry that you’re not able to read our graphic. I assure you, this was not done on purpose. I am not having trouble seeing it on my end. What browser are you using?

Gordon MIller says:

I had the same trouble but then I clicked the magnifier icon and it was all clear.

Karen says:

Your body responds to honey in exactly the same way it does with sugar — by converting it to glucose. There may be some reasons for exchanging honey for sugar but if you’re trying to reduce your carb intake it will make positively no difference which one you use.

Carol S says:

My pancake recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons of oil and 1 Tablespoon of sugar. I omit these and replace with 2 Tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce. Taste great and healthier.

Karen says:

Now if you had the equal measures

MA Gach says:

Can’t wait to see list

Diane says:

I can’t read it either. It is all blurry.

Lois Ballard says:

Very interesting

mel says:

I am not having any trouble reading any of it.

Cheryl says:

It would be really great and useful if this list could be printed as two columns on a standard letter-sized sheet of paper so it can be posted on the fridge door.

Jane says:

All blurry please resend. I am not ALONE. — others CAN’T read it either. Thanks

Cindy says:

I am having trouble seeing the printing. It’s all blurry.

I an using Internet Explorer on WIN 10.

CONSTANCE Hampton says:

No matter what you is always delicious. And now ingredient alternatives. What a wonderful way of sharing this fabulous information. That’s why I love your products .

Kathy says:

I have to go Gluten free. I don’t know where to start.

Mary Anne says:

When swapping out ingredients, do you swap, say, cup for cup? Is the swap an equal swap?

No, each individual ingredient would need to be looked into to make sure you have the right amounts.

Diane Schrum says:

Also very blurry here on 2 browsers.
So it is useless… Can’t read

Rebecca Odell says:

I can’t read this…To blurry…Is it just me?? Thanks,

Vicki McMichael says:

I love the steel cut oats.

Marsha BeLusko says:

Can’t see alternatives…just a blur!!

Vbgc says:

This list we would be more helpful if the substitutions listed contained the amount you’re supposed to use.

Penny says:

Love red mill

Kay Garriott says:

What’s wrong with real butter? Butter is a healthy fat. Margarine, hydronated anything and nut and seed oils are the nasty ones. Eggs are one of the best powerhouses for health out there. All sugar derived from a plant are fructose and your liver can only hold so much for energy then stores the excess it as fat. The only true natural sweetener out there is honey.
Heavy full fat cream is also a healthy fat.

Karen says:

I agree regarding butter and cream, especially if they come from grass fed cows. However, i’d disagree with your statement about honey. Refined table sugar (sucrose) is processed in our bodies by insulin, which is produced by the pancreas. Honey is about 55 per cent fructose, a fruit sugar that’s processed by the liver. Despite the chemical difference, our bodies still react to honey in much same way as it reacts to refined sugar – with a blood-sugar spike. This encourages the pancreas to produce insulin, which leads the body to store fat and gain weight. When eaten to excess, products containing fructose contribute to obesity, heart problems and liver disease, just like products with granulated sugar. Other research has shown fructose drains minerals from your body.

Peggy Miller says:

For those having trouble with blurriness, you need to select the chart by tapping on it, then it will be clear and printable

For the people at Bob’s Red Mill, thank you so much for your time in creating this, it will come in handy. Love your products!

judith owens says:

thanks for suggesting tapping on chart. It worked!!!!

Juli says:

Aquafaba for eggs (chick.pea juice)

Vicky says:

Does the coconut flour taste like coconut? Also, it is coming across facebook very blurry. Is there a way to find this somewhere else? Thanks.

I’m sorry to hear that. Yes, the coconut flour does have a light coconut flavor

Lori Cochran says:

The graphic is reading just fine on my screen.

Ursula Smith says:

I can see everything very clearly. I am using Google Chrome on Windows 10. Maybe that has something to do with it. I agree that it is always better to post information in an easy to print or copy format. I can copy this and switch it to a desired format in Word though. Thank you for the information. 🙂

Jackie Lake says:

butter and eggs are good for you and a better alternative to cooking with olive oil is coconut oil

sharon says:

Well said! I am also not sure why they suggest synthetic vanilla powder over the real food extracts from vanilla. If you are a Celiac and can’t have gluten, just make sure that the extract is made from a grain that doesn’t contain gluten.
This is a list worthy of research.

Helen says:

The website that is being shown here is blurry, can’t read a lot of it.

Carolyn phelps says:

Interested in the healthy advantages of grains.

Brinn says:

Don’t forget seeds like pumpkin and sunflower for anyone allergic to nuts! 🙂

Kathy says:

I need to go Gluten free. So what flours can I use. It is so confusing.

We suggest starting with our gluten free 1 to 1 flour to replace all purpose flour in your baked goods. It’s the easiest place to start. We have recipes on our site too that can help you work with other flours when you’re ready to start experimenting.

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