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December 18, 2018

A Simple Guide to Healthy Recipes with Easy Ingredient Substitutions

When getting into the swing of cooking healthy meals at home, it's great to begin with stocking up on all the groceries that you may need. But what happens when you're home and begin prepping your meals for the week, and you realize you don't actually have all of the ingredients that your recipes require?

Well firstly, purchasing every single ingredient included within healthy recipes is not very realistic, especially when trying to stick to a grocery shopping budget. You may buy a large quantity food for a recipe and only use a small amount, only to have the remaining portion sit in your refrigerator and grow mold, or sit in your cupboard unused. What a waste!

Secondly, you might run out of an ingredient, especially if you have multiple family members eating food from the same refrigerator. They unwittingly finish off the eggs that you were saving to use for a healthy recipe, and then what do you do? This simple list will help provide you with guidance for any substitutions you may need in your nutritious meal creations. 

An Easy Guide to Ingredient Substitutions for Healthy Recipes:

Fruits, Vegetables, and Herbs

Fresh chives = chopped green onions, or dried chives
Yams or sweet potatoes = carrots
Arugula = spinach
Shallots = red onion
Swiss chard = spinach (or) kale
Pear = apple
Persimmon = pear (or) rhubarb, depending on recipe
1 garlic clove = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Juice of 1 orange = 6 packets True Orange + 2 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 lime = 6 packets True Lime + 2 tablespoons water
Juice of 1 lemon = 6 packets True Lemon + 2 tablespoons water
Currants = raisins (or) dried cranberries

Meat, Dairy, and Eggs

Pancetta = bacon
Prosciutto = thinly sliced ham
Salami = pepperoni
Stew meat = steak meat (or) poultry meat, cut into chunks and cooked in less time
1 egg =  1/2 mashed banana (or) 3 tablespoons mayonnaise (or) 1/4 cup pureed silken tofu (or) 1 tablespoon powdered flaxseed soaked in 3 tablespoons water
1 cup chicken or beef broth = 1 bouillon cube or 1 tsp instant bouillon + 1 cup boiling water
1 cup buttermilk = 1 tablespoon vinegar + 1 cup of milk (or) 1 packet True Lemon + 1 cup of milk (whisk and let stand to thicken slightly), (or) 1 cup plain yogurt
Sour cream = plain Greek yogurt
Creme frache = plain mayonnaise
Coconut oil = butter
Ricotta cheese = 1 cup cottage cheese, drained (or) 1 cup soft tofu, mashed

Nuts and Seeds

Pine nuts = walnuts (or) chopped almonds
Hazelnuts = macadamia nuts (or) almonds
Pepitas = sunflower seeds

Flours, Spices, and Sweeteners 

1 teaspoon baking powder = 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch = 2 tablespoons flour
Arrowroot flour (or starch) = 1 tablespoon flour (or) 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon cream of tartar = 2 teaspoons water + 1 packet True Lemon (or) 2 teaspoons vinegar
1 teaspoon Allspice = 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ginger + 1/4 teaspoon cloves or nutmeg
Vanilla extract = omit entirely (or) use whatever extract is on hand depending on recipe (such as almond), (or) flavored brandy liqueur
Red pepper = hot sauce (or) paprika (or) black pepper
Breadcrumbs = 1 cup cracker crumbs (or) 1 cup matzo meal (or) 1 cup ground oats (all can be pulsed in a food processor)
1 cup corn syrup = 1 1/4 cup white sugar + 1/3 cup water (or) 1 cup honey
Saffron = turmeric

Now that you have a guideline for how to swap out certain ingredients for others in your recipes, try some healthier substitutions the next time you start cooking to take it one step further!

[Credit: Kitchen Equivalents Chart. Good Housekeeping.]
[Credit: Common Ingredient Substitutions. AllRecipes.]