Question: January 7th, 2010

Question: Do you have any fat free or really low fat recipes? How can I lower the fat in recipes?


Answer: First of all, I do want to emphasize the importance of fat in the diet. Fat provides our bodies with energy, it helps us to feel full and satisfied after a meal and it aids in the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins, vitamins A, E, D and K.

It is not recommended to avoid fat or eliminate it from the diet. It is important to watch your overall fat intake and try to include more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (canola oil, olive oil, avocado, fish, nuts, grains, etc) in the diet than saturated fats. In general, less than 30% of your daily calories should come from fat. If you are following a 2,000 calorie diet, you would be recommended to have less than 65 grams of total fat for the day. Less than 10% of your calories should be saturated fat, no more than 10% should be polyunsaturated fat and 10-15% should be monounsaturated fat. If you are following a 2,000 calorie diet, this equals: about 65 grams of total fat, less than 22 grams of saturated fat, 22 grams of polyunsaturated fat and 25-33 grams of monounsaturated fat each day.

To help determine the best calorie levels for your needs, I would suggest going to the MyPyramid website ( and clicking on the link for the “menu planner”. It is a great tool and resource to determine your calorie needs. Plus, they also have a place where you can keep track of your daily intake of foods.

To answer your question about recipes, we do provide some low-fat recipes in our weekly nutritious menu on our Healthy Living website ( under the “Mean Planning” heading. Also, under the same heading is a link to our monthly recipes that also include some healthy low-fat recipes. To search for a variety of low-fat recipes, visit the meijermealbox on the right-side of the Meijer Healthy Living homepage and click on the “recipe” tab and then the “diet” tab. There is a link to 344 different low-fat recipes.

To help you to lower fat in your recipes, try following some of the substitution ideas below. Making a few ingredient changes while cooking and baking can add up to big calorie and fat savings over time. Remember to only substitute one ingredient in a recipe at one time. Too many changes from the original recipe can negatively affect the final outcome.

Instead of…



-          lower fat bacon or turkey bacon

-          reducing the amount that the recipe calls for by half


-          in baking: substitute with equal amounts of unsweetened  

      applesauce or plain, low fat or nonfat yogurt (*expect a  

      denser texture)


-          lower fat cheeses, like mozzarella (less than 5 grams of fat per ounce)

-          reducing the amount that the recipe calls for by half


-          using less chocolate, but in smaller pieces

Cream Cheese

-          using reduced fat or fat free cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese (however, fat free it not good for baking)


-          using egg substitute

-          replacing 1 whole egg with 2 egg whites

Evaporated Whole Milk

-          using evaporated skim milk

Ground Beef

-          using equal amounts of 90-96% lean ground beef or ground


-          replacing beef with beans or non-meat alternatives, such as  

      texturized vegetable protein or tofu

Heavy Cream

-          using evaporated skim milk or evaporated whole milk



-          using reduced fat or fat free mayonnaise

-          replacing with half of the amount of reduced fat mayonnaise and half the amount of plain, nonfat yogurt


-          using low fat sausage or turkey


Sour Cream

- In cold foods: use plain nonfat yogurt or sour cream

-  In hot foods: use plain, nonfat yogurt mixed with 1 tablespoon of flour per cup of yogurt


-          using Splenda®

-          reducing the amount of sugar by one-half (in most baked goods the food’s texture or taste will not be affected by the reduction) Sugar provides moisture in baked goods, so make sure you use ¼ cup of sugar, honey or molasses for every cup of flour


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