10 smart calorie substitutes

Reaching for that jar of mayonnaise or stick of butter? Stop! First consider these tasty, low-calorie substitutes from Susan Irby, author of Substitute Yourself Skinny (Adams Media, 2010).

1. Nonfat vanilla yogurt is a delicious substitution for mayonnaise. Use in chicken salad, tuna salad, or in dipping sauces such as roasted red pepper remoulade. It is very flavorful and naturally creamy so you don’t need to use a lot of it.

2. Another delicious, low-cal, low-fat stand-in for mayonnaise is soynaise. It’s a soy based mayonnaise-like product great in recipes such as crab cakes, potato salad, and dips and spreads such as aioli.

3. Use grilled or broiled Portobello mushrooms as my “bread” for burgers or sandwiches. You save on calories, fat, and mushrooms are high in fiber which help breakdown the proteins in your meal.

4. Drizzle balsamic vinegar on steamed, roasted, or grilled vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, corn, and potatoes instead of butter or even olive oil. For even more balsamic flavor, simmer 2 cups of balsamic on the stove until liquid is reduced by two-thirds, then drizzle over vegetables.

5. Add flavor to salads, broiled, or grilled fish and chicken by topping with a little fresh tomato salsa or other fresh salsa such as mango or papaya instead of using fat laden creamy dressings.

6. Using ½ wheat flour and ½ plain flour when baking biscuits and scones. Add in fresh wild raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries to liven up the flavor, wake up the color, and give new twist to what can be an otherwise boring biscuit.

7. For recipes that call for fat and calorie laden heavy whipping cream, use ½ nonfat milk and ½ nonfat sour cream instead for the same creamy texture and flavor.

8. Summer is coming which means more grilling outside. When making burgers, use lean ground turkey.

9. Use whole wheat whenever possible. Whether it’s burgers, sandwiches, or wraps, use whole wheat buns, whole wheat bread, or whole wheat tortillas. For an even lighter version, enjoy an open faced burger or sandwich and use only ½ the bread.

10. Get rid of tortilla chips and crostini and opt for light, lean, and flavorful wonton crisps. Simply purchase square wonton wrappers, cut in half making triangles and place in a 225 degree oven for about 18 minutes until crisp and golden. Serve with dips, appetizers, or as your “cracker” with chicken or tuna salad. For added flavor, brush wonton triangles lightly with extra virgin olive oil before baking.

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