Makeover Your Holiday Recipes by Substituting Fats

Butter, oils and other fats can add flavor to your favorite recipes, but they can also add many calories. They act as a barrier so flour does not absorb as much water to give your dishes a moist, tender feel. There are many ways to reduce the fat without sacrificing taste; the trick is to replace fats with foods that add creaminess without cholesterol.

Will substituting the fats change how my food tastes?

Substituting fat in your favorite recipes may not give them the same texture, but it will be close. In addition to lower fat content, many of the substitute ingredients will add more fiber, vitamins, minerals and protein to your recipes.

How can I get started substituting?

To experiment, start by substituting one-third of the fat from the recipe and then increase or decrease to your desired likeness. For baking, use ⅓ cup applesauce or fruit juice and ⅔ cup butter instead of 1 full cup of butter. Instead of 1 cup of heavy cream, use 2 tsp. cornstarch whisked into 1 cup of fat-free milk.

Now that you have the basics, it’s time for you to try it out. With the holidays right around the corner, now’s the perfect time to makeover your beloved (and maybe not the healthiest) recipes.

Nutritional Information (per serving)

Total Calories 631
Total Fat 30 g
Protein 26 g
Carbohydrates 66 g
Dietary Fiber 8 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Sodium 125 mg
Total Sugars 5 g

Source: USDA

Super Stuffed Squash


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 medium onion (chopped)
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 medium sweet apple (peeled, diced)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 4 tsp. olive oil
  • Fresh parsley (chopped)


  1. Heat oven to 350 F. On a large baking sheet, place the squash in the oven for 30 minutes. Then remove from oven, cut in half, and remove and discard the seeds. Cook for another 20 minutes or until soft.
  2. In a large stockpot, bring the water and the rice to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, warm 3 tsp. olive oil over medium heat and add the pork. Once the meat is browned, add onions, garlic, apples, smoked paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. Cook until onion is soft. Add the brown rice.
  4. When squash is done, turn cut-­side up in the baking dish. Add a teaspoon of olive oil to the center of each squash half. Divide the meat and rice mixture amongst the four squashes. Return to the oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley and serve.

Makes: 4 servings

For more information and helpful links, please download our November 2018 Live Well, Work Well Newsletter.

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