Simple ingredient substitutions can benefit your healthy lifestyle without sacrificing flavor. It may be scary and foreign at first to swap the butter on your morning toast for a spread of avocado instead, but your body will thank you and so will your waistline.

Here’s a list of simple ingredient substitutes for healthier cooking that you can implement into your daily routine.

1. Greek yogurt for sour cream

Greek yogurt and sour cream are similar in texture and both have a mild flavor that can be used interchangeably. Switching out fat-laden sour cream for protein-rich Greek yogurt is a smart swap that doesn't affect the end result.

Nutritional breakdown:

Sour cream: 1 cup
Calories: 445
Total fat: 45 g
Total carbohydrate: 7 g
Protein: 4.8 g

Greek yogurt: 1 cup
Calories: 220
Total fat: 11 g
Total carbohydrate: 9 g
Protein: 20 g

Try using Greek yogurt on enchiladas, soups, baked potatoes, veggie dips or in this green bean casserole.

2. Extra virgin olive oil for vegetable oil and butter

The benefits of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) are vast. According to the FDA, two tablespoons of olive oil per day may reduce the risk of heart disease. While oils are high in fat, olive oil contains unsaturated fats, or “healthy fats.” Despite its name, vegetable oil is not healthy: it contains high amounts of polyunsaturated fats and can cause inflammation and clogged arteries. Butter should used in moderation because it contains high amounts of cholesterol, which may lead to heart disease.

Nutritional breakdown:

Olive oil: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 119
Total fat: 14 g
Saturated fat: 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.4 g
Monounsaturated fat: 10 g

Vegetable oil: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 120
Total fat: 13.6 g
Saturated fat: 1.7 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 6.7 g
Monounsaturated fat: 4.6 g

Butter: 1 tablespoon
Calories: 102
Total fat: 12
Saturated fat: 7 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.4 g
Monounsaturated fat: 3 g

Instead of baking with vegetable oil, use an equal amount of EVOO. When sautéing vegetables, leave out the butter and use a tablespoon of EVOO and some fresh herbs or spices. You can also make your own flavored olive oils with herbs like rosemary and basil.

3. Avocado for butter, Miracle Whip, and mayo

Avocados can help reduce your risk of certain diseases and help slim your waistline. Healthy fats like this can have anti-inflammatory benefits and help your skin and hair look healthier. Condiments like mayonnaise and Miracle Whip are high in "bad fats" and can contain more than 50 percent of your daily recommended amount of sodium.

Nutritional breakdown:

Avocado: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 50
Total fat: 4.5 g
Total carbohydrate: 3 g
Sodium: 0 mg
Protein: 1 g

Mayonnaise: 2 tablespoons
Calories: 180
Total fat: 20 g
Total carbohydrate: 0 g
Sodium: 140 mg
Protein: .02 g

Avocado tastes great spread on toast in place of butter and on a sandwich instead of condiments. Try it spread on a whole-wheat tortilla for a healthy wrap or in this creamy avocado and white bean wrap.

4. Prosciutto for bacon

Prosciutto may sound exotic, expensive, and hard to find. In reality, it’s just a fancy ham that has been cured and thinly sliced. Most grocery stores carry prosciutto (find it by the other cured meats), and it costs about the same as high-quality bacon or deli meat.

Nutritional breakdown:

Prosciutto: 3 ounces
Calories: 123
Total fat: 4.7 g
Sodium: 1023 mg
Total carbohydrate: 1.3 g
Protein: 18 g

Bacon: 3 ounces
Calories: 453
Total fat: 36 g
Total carbohydrate: 0
Sodium: 684 mg
Protein: 30 g

Since prosciutto is cured meat, it does have a high amount sodium and should be eaten in moderation. Try using prosciutto in salads, pasta, or in this mushroom and wild rice frittata.

5. Coconut milk for cream

For those who are vegan or lactose intolerant and want to use dairy-product substitutes, coconut milk is an alternative to almond and soy milk. Because of its high heat tolerance, coconut milk heats evenly and doesn't separate like almond milk. Coconut milk provides essential nutrients like vitamin C and iron. Its light nutty flavor can add depth to Thai dishes, curries, and desserts.

Nutritional breakdown:

Coconut milk: 1/2 cup
Calories: 40
Total fat: 2.5 g
Total carbohydrate: 3.5 g
Protein: 0.5 g

Cream: 1/2 cup
Calories: 411
Total fat: 44 g
Total carbohydrate: 3.3 g
Protein: 2.4 g

Coconut milk tastes great in smoothies, coffee, and tea. Try adding it to soups or a dairy-free chocolate ice cream.

*Nutrition data provided by and

To learn more on this topic:
5 Easy, Low-Carb Substitutions for Your Favorite Foods
Secrets to Cutting Carbs From Someone Who Knows How Hard It Can Be
5 Kitchen Gadgets to Improve Your Health