Health Advocate Blog

Flavor food the healthy way!

Searching for ways to reduce butter, salt and sugar in your meals? Experiment with tasty—and healthy—swaps like herbs, spices, fruit and yogurt to make your everyday dishes extra delicious while reducing sodium, fat and calories. Here are several tantalizing trade-offs to try in your favorite (or new) recipes.

Fresh herbs and spices

Herbs and spices make a great addition to any meal. They provide much more flavor than salt does. We’ve compiled a great list for you here; plus, check out the recipes below.

  • Adobo seasoning – This recipe features many of the common spices in the Adobo seasoning you’d find in stores, but without the salt.
  • Taco seasoning – If you’re looking for a way to season fish, chicken or steak for tacos, you may be interested in this tasty recipe.
  • Garam masala – This versatile spice blend is customarily used in Indian dishes such as chicken curry. You can also use it in desserts, to season nuts, or in homemade salad dressing.
  • Cajun spice mix – Another versatile spice blend, it tastes great on chicken, beef and seafood (including shellfish!) as well as in soups and chili.
  • Italian seasoning mix – Use this spice mix to make tomato sauce, flavor olive oil to dip bread, use as a marinade for chicken, sprinkle on veggies to roast or add to oil and vinegar for a quick salad dressing.
  • Blackened seasoning mix – A great spice mix for tofu, chicken or fish! It has great depth of flavor.
  • Jamaican jerk seasoning mix – Enjoy a taste of the islands with this delicious mix that complements almost any protein.

Butter replacements

  • Use heart-healthy oils such as canola and olive oils. ¾ cup of oil is the equivalent to 1 cup of butter.
  • Swap butter for applesauce in baked goods for extra-moist treats.
  • Replace butter with avocado for greater nutritional value and unique texture.
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt or regular yogurt tastes great on baked potatoes or when baking cakes and breads.

Sugar swaps

  • The spices below can be a tasty way to cut down on sugar in recipes for baked goods or instances where you would sprinkle sugar, such as in oatmeal, tea, coffee, or over fruit.
  • Fruit can be added as a healthy sugar substitute in many recipes.
    • Try swapping a cup of smashed blueberries or pomegranate juice for a cup of sugar in your next cupcake, cake or cookie recipe.
    • Zest the peel of lemons, limes or oranges to increase the flavor in any recipe. It can be a tasty addition to marinades, salad dressings and baked goods.