“Go-To” Healthy Food Swaps

Written by Dietetic Intern Kathryn Murphy

drinksThere are so many varieties and types of food on our planet! Some foods fall into healthy categories and others into less healthy categories. A lifetime of eating the less healthy foods can potentially increase risk for developing chronic diseases like heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and contribute to obesity because the less healthy foods tend to be higher in sugar, salt, unhealthy fats and calories. The less healthy foods are okay to eat as sometimes foods, but by swapping out some of the less healthy foods for those in food groups like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you can increase your diet quality!

Healthy swaps are not just about cutting out your favorite treat! A swap can include not having your favorite dessert every night of the week, but instead having it 2 or 3 times a week and having it in a smaller portion.

This for That SWAPS

White Bread           Whole Grain Bread
Sour Cream            Plain Greek Yogurt
Sugary Cereals       Oatmeal with Fruit

Ice Cream               Greek Yogurt Popsicles
Toast with Butter  Toast with Avocado
Whole Milk            Almond Milk, Oat Milk, or Fat Free Milk
Chips                       Make Your Own Veggie Chips

Healthy Swaps to Make when Cooking

Frying → Bake it; Stew it; Broil it; Steam it.

White Flour → Wheat Flour or Almond Flour, A Variety of Grain Flours

Butter → Applesauce, puréed black beans, or mashed avocado, pumpkin purée, mashed banana, greek yogurt, puréed prunes

Refined Pasta  Whole Wheat Pasta, Zucchini Noodles

Tortilla  Lettuce Wraps

Eggs  Chia Seeds

Milk Chocolate Chips  Cacao Nips, Dark Chocolate

White Rice  Brown Rice, Quinoa, Cauliflower Rice

Meat in Lasagna  Spinach

Cheese  Nutritional Yeast

Red Meat  Seafood, Mushroom and Lentil


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2022, September 8). Poor nutrition. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from
WebMD. (n.d.). Food swaps to help you eat better. WebMD. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-food-swaps
Kubala, J. (2019, December 18). 8 healthy swaps for everyday food and drinks. Healthline. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/healthy-
Held, A. (2022, January 18). This for that – healthy baking substitutions. Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://scrippsamg.com/healthy-
Staff, C. (n.d.). 13 easy ingredient swaps for healthier cooking. CNET. Retrieved October 7, 2022, from https://www.cnet.com/health/nutrition/easy-ingredient-swaps-for-

This material is funded by UDSA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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