How to make a recipe healthier—the guide to healthy substitutes

Good morning Superstars! How was your weekend??

I’ll get to our weekend drama after this…we had quite the experience. The other week one of my amazing holistic wellness clients  mentioned that she wanted to learn how to make recipes healthier, so I thought I would put this puppy up!

My favorite trick to healthifying recipes is to cut down on the sugar, and use applesauce. It’s fun experimenting with substitutes, and I’m sure you’ll find your own as you try this out.

ULTIMATE GUIDE! i love this! Simple ways I never thought of!

Photo credit

Butter/oil/shortening (1 cup)

  • Applesauce:
    • 1/2 c applesauce and 1/2 c butter. When you are used to the taste, do 1:1 ratio
  • Avocado puree
    • 1:1 ratio
  • Pureed pumpkin/sweet potato/mashed banana/beans
    • Start at 1/2 cup of each + 1/2 cup butter until you want to add more
  • Plain yogurt
    • Butter: 1/4 cup yogurt and 1/2 c butter
    • Oil: 3/4 c yogurt

Great for sweeter bread, such as banana bread, or muffins.

Heavy Cream (1 cup)

  • Evaporated skim milk
    • 1:1 ration
  • Plain yogurt
    • 1/2 c yogurt + 1/2 c cream
  • For soup: Cashews–soak for 3-4 hours. Here is an example.


  • Reduce sugar by half,  and/or use brown sugar instead
  • Applesauce
    • 1:1 ratio, BUT reduce the liquids by 1/4 cup for each cup of applesauce you use

Great for cookies, especially oatmeal raisin cookies!


  • Pureed fruit (Can add 2 T of Chia and let soak for 15 min)
  • Applesauce


  • Cocoa nibs or dark chocolate instead

White Flour (1 cup)

    • Whole wheat flour
      • 1/2 c whole wheat + 1/2 c white flour (or 7/8 c whole wheat for 1 c white)
      • OR whole wheat pastry flour at 1:1 ratio
    • Black beans!!
      • Rinse, drain, dry and puree. 1:1 ratio
      • GREAT for brownies

White Pasta

  • Whole Wheat pasta
    • Have as leftovers the next day and they say the glycemic load will be much lower.


  • Avocado puree
  • Plain greek yogurt
    • Add a touch of Dijon mustard for sandwiches


  • Use avocados instead-flavor and creamy texture

Sour Cream

  • Plain greek yogurt

Salad Dressings

  • Vinegar or lemon juice to olive oil in 2:1 ratio
  • Spices: Rosemary, thyme, oregano
  • I will make a post about this soon!


  • Nuts
Preparing Tips
  • Bake or pan fry instead of deep fry
  • Steam instead of boil
    • Loses less nutrients
  • Drink water instead of diet soda. Flavor it with fruit.

 Weird Vegan Substitutes


  • Chia eggs
    • 1 T chia seeds or ground flax, to 3 T water. Sit for 15 min.
    • Don’t sub for more than 2 eggs
  • 2 egg whites=1 egg btw

Egg whites

  • 1 tsp chia seeds (or ground flax) and 1/8th cups water


  • Beans, lentils




Hope that was helpful!

This week I am going to try turning my cashews into cheese…should be interesting.  Last week I made hummus and falafels. Josh went CRAZY about how good they were. Score! 20141026_191926 (2) Last weekend was a blast!

On days we don’t climb, I still go to the climbing gym and work on arm strength, abs, legs and glutes. So far so good!! I can tell I’m already getting stronger, because the routes I can do are remarkably harder than when I started.  Sweet!! I want to do one handed pull ups one day.

I’ll be making short movies soon about workouts for basic strength. Stay tuned…

Saw this beauty in our front yard:


And then galloped around the field with this beauty right after:


The results of pulling burs out of her hair 😉

Saturday was unique in that we got together with a bunch of my friends from High School. We made cookies with Kool-aid icing—they were amazing!! It was super fun catching up with old friends!


One more week til we go to Texas for Christmas at Josh’s house!!!

Weekend drama:

  • Locked out keys in the car on Friday night. Got the door open by using a coat hanger (miracle). We tried using a giant candy cane…didn’t work haha.


  • Ran out of gas on the freeway. At 11 pm. In the rain.

At least it wasn’t snowing!!! I’m so grateful for that. A man in a truck stopped and pulled us along with a rope to the gas station, 1 mile away. God bless you!!!!


It’s nice to make stupid life lesson mistakes early on…it at least increases the chances of it not happening in worse conditions.

Life couldn’t be better! It really couldn’t.

Have a GREAT week and check out my wellness site for this month’s discounts! If you have a friend or family member that could benefit from nutrition counseling, feel free to spread the love!

santa REAL

Carpe Diem everyone!!!


What do YOU use for healthy substitutes?

Ever locked your keys in the car…? What did you do to get them out?

Trying out any cool recipe this week??

23 thoughts on “How to make a recipe healthier—the guide to healthy substitutes

  1. Ugh, I hate locking my keys in my car. It’s happened on a few occasions (once being in the middle of nowhere Florida at a Subway – thank God for AAA).

    I love the list of substitutes! I knew of applesauce for butter and oil, but the rest were good to learn about. I’ll have to remember this post next time I do some baking.
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Tis’ the SeasonMy Profile

    • Hey Sue!

      Sorry i’ve been on the road for a few day and just got internet!

      GREAT question–nope it’s barely different. When it comes to different types of sugar–a lot of health experts just look at nutrition content–different forms of sugar have diff amount of nutrients.

      The ‘best’ type of sugar is the most natural you can find, which happens to be date sugar (dried dates ground into sugar). Brown sugar is ‘better’ than white sugar because it has molasses in it–which adds nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and magnesium…but really, it’s in such tiny amounts that it doesn’t make a huge difference!

      So the word is, just pick what you prefer if you must have sugar. The other and better option is just to reduce it. People are used to the sweet taste and think they have to have it in order for food to be good–while really, you can develop a taste for less sweet things.
      Check out this video about the Healthiest Sweeteners:

      Hope that helps!

  2. Pingback: Creamy cashew, chickpea, and veggie soup | The Gist of Fit

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