Every March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds us to focus on the importance of making smart food choices and creating healthy, positive eating and physical activity habits. The theme of this year’s Nutrition Month is “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”

Food is such an important part of culture, tied to traditions, memories and emotions, and often the center of social gatherings. To help “Savor the Flavor,” we want to share some ways to enjoy age-old food traditions, recipes and flavors, while making simple changes to make them healthier.

Recipe Substitutions for Heart Healthy Cooking

Use the suggestions below to lower saturated fat and calories in your favorite recipes. Add herbs and spices instead of salt to enhance flavor.


Recipe calls for: Substitute:
Whole milk •Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk


• Evaporated fat-free milk

• Mix equal amounts low-fat (1%) milk and fat-free evaporated milk

• Sour cream

• Fat-free or low-fat sour cream

Mayonnaise • Fat-free or low-fat mayonnaise
1 cup of Butter


• ⅔ cup vegetable oil

• 1 cup tub margarine

Oil (for baking) • Equal amount of applesauce
Oil (for sautéing) • Water

• Nonstick cooking spray

• Low-sodium broth

1 whole egg • ¼ cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites
1 egg to thicken

ground beef


• 1 tablespoon flour

• Extra lean ground beef or turkey (10% or less fat)

• Turkey (10% or less fat)



• Turkey sausage (10% or less fat)

• Vegetarian sausage

Salad dressing


• Fat-free or low-fat dressing

• Flavored vinaigrette (made with olive oil, water and vinegar, or lemon juice)

Cream-based soup


• Fat-free or low-fat canned cream soup

• Homemade broth after removing the fat

• Fat-free broth mixed with fat-free milk or fat-free evaporated milk


Download the Heart Healthy Home Cooking African American Style recipe book for delicious – and healthy – recipe ideas including Candied Yams, Smothered Greens, Crispy Oven-Fried Chicken, and Southern Banana Pudding.

crispy over-fried chicken recipe image

Sources: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics