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Cancer Risk and Prevention

Cut Calories and Fat, Not Flavor

Most of your favorite recipes can be easily changed to increase the vegetables, fruits, and fiber, and lower the sugar, saturated fat, and calories.

Ask yourself: “Can I reduce or replace oil? Can I use low-fat milk instead of cream?” Try the strategies below to limit fat, then read on for healthful foods that can substitute for rich ingredients and snacks.

  • Fats (oil, butter, or margarines) can usually be cut by one-third to one-half in recipes. Try a small cut-back at first, then increasingly cut back little by little.
  • To replace some moisture and flavor loss when fat is reduced, make up the difference with broth, non-fat milk, fruit juice, and extra herbs, spices, and vegetables.
  • For a moist baked product when fat is reduced, add dried fruits or applesauce.
  • Substitute reduced-fat dairy products, like milk and cheese, for those higher in saturated fats and calories.
  • Use only small amounts of high-calorie foods like avocados, coconut, cheese, and nuts.

Fool your taste buds with healthy substitutions

Try making a few simple ingredient changes to cut the extra sugar, fat, and calories (c) in many recipes – without changing the taste you love! These substitutions allow you to enjoy great flavor and eat healthier.

Instead of...

Try this...

And save…

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup half and half

1 cup evaporated whole milk

1 cup evaporated skim milk

48 g fat or 432 c

53g fat or 477 c

72 g fat or 648 c

1 cup sour cream

1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup fat-free sour cream

12 g fat or 108 c

40 g fat or 360 c

1 cup low-fat, flavored yogurt

1 cup yogurt, unflavored or
with non-sugar sweetener

22 g sugar or 198 c

1 pound lean ground beef

1 pound ground turkey breast

78 g fat or 702 c

1 cup nuts

½ cup toasted nuts

21 g fat or 189 c

1 ounce hard cheese, such as Cheddar

1 ounce reduced fat cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

4 g fat or 36 c

6 g fat or 54 c

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Revised: June 9, 2020

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