Ingredient Substitutions

Low-Fat Alternatives

Portion Control

We’ve done the math for you. The values below are for roasted or grilled meats in 3 different serving sizes. What a difference portion control makes!

OuncesCaloriesGrams of fat
Pork Tenderloin31414
8 376 11
Center Rib Pork Chop 31819
Beef Round Steak 3 150 5
8 40013
Beef Tenderloin3195 9
8520 24
12 780 36
Beef Flank Steak 31779
8 47224
12 70836

*Values are from the USDA Handbook.


AmountCaloriesGrams fat
Bacon (pan fried)1 slice353 g
Baco’s1 1/2 tablespoons301 g
Real Bacon Bits1 tablespoon301.5 g
Real Bacon Pieces1 tablespoon251.5 g

* These amounts are all comparable.


Here is a comparison of some high fat and lower fat cheeses. All of the values are based on a one ounce portion of cheese.

CaloriesGrams of Fat
Velveeta Light603
Kraft Mild Cheddar1149
Kraft 2% Mild Cheddar906
Sargento Light Mild Cheddar704.5

Breakfast Sausage

We’ve found that some fat free sausages can effectively replace the regular sausage. Most stores stock the Jimmy Dean 97% Fat Free sausage in the freezer department (usually with the frozen ground turkey).

In a 2.5 ounce serving ofCaloriesGrams fatMgs. Sodium
regular breakfast sausage25922 (76%)904
Jimmy Dean 97% Fat Free Sausage902 (20%)410

Egg Substitutes


There are several egg substitutes on the market. We feel the fat-free variety works well and saves some fat and calories. Egg whites can also be used in place of whole eggs (2 whites = 1 whole egg).

In a 2 tablespoon serving:caloriesgrams fatCholesterol
1 whole egg785212
1/4 cup Egg Beaters3000
1/4 cup Scramblers37.42
2 egg whites3400

Ground Beef / Hamburger


All values are based on 4-ounce raw portions of ground beef.

Calories Grams FatCalories
73% lean*35030100
83% lean*2641950
92% lean*160925
96% lean*14027

* USDA Handbook
** Laura’s Lean Beef

Italian Dressing Marinade


One of the easiest and tastiest marinades is Italian salad dressing. We are especially fond of some of the light versions and, as you can see, they do cut the fat and calories. We don’t usually recommend fat-free dressings for a marinade because they have more sugar and can burn, and, without the oil, they don’t provide the added moisture.

Serving sizeCaloriesFatSodium
Regular2 tablespoons11011 g510 mg
Light2 tablespoons504.5 g230 mg
Fat Free2 tablespoons200 g430 mg



Serving size GramsFatCalories
Hellmann’s (regular)1 tablespoon11100
Hellmann’s Light1 tablespoon550
Hellmann’s Low Fat1 tablespoon125
Nonfat Plain Yogurt1 tablespoon07


Milkcalories/8 ouncesgrams fat% Calories from fat
Skim Milk860.44%
1% Milk1022.623%
2% Milk1214.735%
Whole Milk2448.130%

Peanut Butter


The difference between freshly ground or natural peanut butter and the processed kind (Skippy, Jif, Peter Pan) isn’t the amount of fat but the kind of fat and the way it’s been processed.

The processed versions are made with hydrogenated soybean oil, which means:

  • more saturated fat
  • less monounsaturated fat

The natural peanut butters have the peanut oil in its liquid form, which means:

  • less saturated fat
  • more monounsaturated fat



In 1 tablespoonTotal FatSaturated and Trans Fat
(bad fat)
Poly and Monounsaturated (good fat)
Vegetable Shortening12 g5 g7 g
Butter12 g8 g4 g
Stick Margarine11 g2 g9 g
Canola Oil14 g2 g12 g

Sour Cream


There are many choices for sour cream substitutions. Both fat-free and light sour creams are available. They are great “potato toppers” and work well in uncooked items such as dips and spreads. When heated, however, fat-free sour cream often loses flavor. We have been able to intensify the sour cream taste with the addition of a little 1% buttermilk (1-2 tablespoons per 1 cup sour cream).

There is another choice. Long before fat-free and light sour creams were available, many of us used drained nonfat plain yogurt. In most recipes, it usually tastes like sour cream. To be honest, we frequently go back to using the yogurt, especially in cooked dishes where sour cream is the predominant flavor. The yogurt has a more intense flavor that doesn’t seem to get lost. You can add 1 tablespoon of flour to 8 ounces of yogurt to stabilize it when it’s heated.

In a 2 tablespoon serving:caloriesgrams fat% cals from fat
fat-free sour cream3000
non-fat plain yogurt1400
light sour cream36250%
regular sour cream60584%


Most people have a definite preference when it comes to turkey. Here are the numbers * for all of the cuts, without the skin, of course.

3.5-ounce portions CaloriesGrams of fatMgs. cholesterol