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Smart Substitutes

Rather than deprive yourself, lighten up your favorite recipes with these heart-healthy ingredient substitutes.

Instead of butter, try: Equal parts mashed banana

Substituting banana for butter works great for baked goods because it reduces fat and calories while adding a nice, dense texture. But be sure to watch your cooking time: this swap can reduce baking time by 25%.

Instead of 1 egg, try: Chia seeds

Combine 1 Tbsp. finely ground chia seeds with 3 Tbsp. water and refrigerate it at least 15 minutes. The gel-like mixture acts as a binder for almost any recipe and also adds fiber and healthy omega fats to your dish.

Instead of 1 cup heavy cream try: 1 cup evaporated skim milk

Chilled evaporated skim milk combined with vanilla extract is a great option for soups or sauces. Make sure the evaporated milk is cold, and then add vanilla extract until the desired taste is achieved.

Instead of cream cheese, try: Margarine

To get a creamy taste and texture in recipes with less fat, blend 4 Tbsp. soft margarine with 1 cup dry-curd, unsalted low-fat cottage cheese. You can add fat-free milk if the texture seems thick.

Instead of ½ cup sugar, try: ½ cup unsweetened applesauce

Using unsweetened applesauce in place of sugar for baking drastically reduces the number of calories in your recipe. Simply replace the sugar with equal parts of applesauce. For every cup of applesauce used, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.