5 skinny recipe substitutes

Plain Greek Yogurt for Baking

Skinny Zucchini Muffins

Plain greek yogurt is a great substitute for oil and butter in your baking. When baking muffins or other breads that call for oil or butter replace the it with plain greek yogurt to lower the calories and the fat!

I still use butter in our diet because I believe in healthy fats. But for baking I use plain greek yogurt as a partial replacement to cut down on calories. Use 1/4 cup greek yogurt + 1/2 cup butter instead of 1 cup of butter.

  • 1 cup butter = 1,628 calorie & 184g fat
  • Greek Yogurt + Butter = 847 calories & 92g fat

We’ve cut all oil out of our diet, especially vegetable oil. You can use 3/4 cups greek yogurt for every 1 cup of oil in your recipes.

  • 1 cup vegetable oil = 1,927 calories & 218g fat
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt = 100 calories & 0 fat

Plain Greek Yogurt for Dips

Light Artichoke & Spinach Dip

I also love to use plain greek yogurt in the place of sour cream or mayonnaise in dips.

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream = 60 calories
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise = 180 calories
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt = 33 calories

Hint: Try it on your tacos or other Mexican dishes instead of sour cream

Use your favorite dip mix and replace the sour cream or mayonnaise with plain greek yogurt. Or make your own dips with your own spices and herbs.

Amazing Light Dilly Dip

  • 1 teaspoon fresh dill or dill paste
  • 1 tablespoon plain greek yogurt

You will find that some brands of plain greek yogurt are strained more so they have a thicker consistency. Find the perfect brand for you, if you like thick dips use a thick yogurt if you like a dressing like dip use a thinner yogurt.

Hint: Try 1/2 greek yogurt and 1/2 light mayonnaise for your chicken or tuna salads

Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic White Sauce

Pasta is very high in calories and carbs. I will eat whole wheat pasta every so often, but my favorite substitution that offers no guilt at all is spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash is a squash that once you cook it comes out in spaghetti like strings.

  • 1 cup whole wheat paste = 174 calories & 37 carb
  • 1 cup spaghetti squash = 42 calories & 10 carbs

Extra Lean Ground Meat

Teriyaki Meatloaf

Switching from full fat ground meat to only 7% fat will quickly lighten up your meals. You don’t necessarily have to give up ground beef either.

My husband is a big red meat eater and he really doesn’t love the taste of turkey. But after really looking at some labels I realized I could get ground beef with the same percentage of fat as ground turkey.

  • 4 ounces ground beef 80/20 = 288 calories & 19g fat
  • 4 ounces ground turkey 93/7 = 150 calories & 7g fat
  • 4 ounces ground beef 93/7 = 170 calories & 8g fat
  • 4 ounces ground chicken 93/7 = 140 calories & 5g fat

We still do eat ground turkey but I let us have one serving of lean red meat a week so that my husband can have his favorite meals.

Sugar Substitutes


My favorite sugar substitute is stevia, it is all natural and no calorie. My favorite brand of stevia is Truvia, mainly because they add another natural sweetner to cut the bitterness stevia can have.

I do also use Splenda for cooking as it is easier for me to get ahold of. I once was able to find a bag of off brand truvia for cooking, but haven’t been able to find it again.

  • 1 teaspoon sugar = 15 calories & 4 carbs
  • 3/4 teaspoon Truvia = 0 calories & 3 carbs
  • 1 teaspoon Splenda = 0 calories & 0 carbs

What do you use to make your recipes lighter?

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Written by

Pepper Ferguson

Hi I'm Pepper. My family and I are sharing pieces of our lives.
We hope to inspire you by showing that even small changes can make the biggest differences in your life. You don't have to go to extremes to become healthy. Just do it one habit, one meal, one walk, and one hug at a time.

Let's work together one piece at a time making better habits, eating healthier, getting moving, and most of all loving our families.

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