ACT Nutrition Support Service » Healthier cooking tips

Healthier cooking tips

ACT Nutrition Support Service » Healthier cooking tips

Healthier cooking tips

Most of your favourite recipes may only need small changes to make them healthier. You can modify the recipes simply reducing the amount of unhealthy ingredients or swapping them with healthier alternatives. 
Here are some ideas to lowering the fat, increasing dietary fibre, reducing salt and sugar and increasing protein in recipes.


Tips to Lowering Fat                       

If the recipe says

Swap it with this

Full cream milk

Skim milk or Low fat milk

Full fat yoghurt        

Reduced fat yoghurt


Evaporated skim milk, reduced fat natural yoghurt

Sour cream

Mix evaporated skim milk and lemon juice, reduced fat natural yoghurt


Smaller amounts of reduced fat cheese (e.g. feta & cottage cheese)

Butter, margarine, oil

Poly or mono unsaturated spreads or oil, use non stick pans, use oil spay (Canola or olive oil)

Mayonnaise & dressing

Commercial ‘no’ oil dressing, make your own using low-fat natural yogurt, lemon juice, ricotta cheese

Oil packed tuna

Water packed tuna


Lean meat, mince or legumes, trim all fat off meat before cooking, remove skin from chicken


Tips to increase dietary fibre          

If the recipe says this

Swap it with this

White bread

Whole grain, whole meal, or white high fiber bread

White flour

Whole meal flour or 50/50 mixture of white & whole meal flour


Avoid peeling if possible


Add extra vegetables to sandwiches, wraps, soups, salads


Whole meal pasta


Brown rice


Tips to reducing salt

  • Try not to add salt in cooking or at the table
  • Add a variety of herbs, spices, lime or lemon juice, fresh mustard, and garlic to recipes rather than table salt to get the flavour.
  • Use “reduced salt” or “no added salt” canned foods.
  • Choose “reduced salt” varieties for margarine and butter
  • Limit the consumption of commercial sauces and condiments such as soy sauce and tomato sauce.
  • Limit using cured meat, salamis, sausages as much as possible.


Tips to reducing sugar

  • Stew fruit without sugar. If fruit is tart (plum or rhubarb) add an apple for sweetness.
  • Add cinnamon, cardamon or ground cloves for extra flavour
  • Add dried and fresh fruits to muffins, cakes, scones and pikelets for added sweetness and flavour
  • If using tinned fruit choose fruit in natural juice and drain
  • Honey is not a healthy alternative for sugar. It does not help to reduce the sugar content in a recipe.
  • When baking cakes reduce sugar to ¼ cup per one cup of flour


 Tips to increase protein and energy

  • Add lentils, peas or kidney beans to your soup, stew or casserole.
  • Add baked beans, avocado or peanut butter to sandwiches, burgers and wraps.
  • Add skim milk powder, yoghurt, scoop of peanut butter or handful of ground nuts to your smoothies.
  • Add yoghurt, custard  or nuts to desserts and fruit salads


Always go for healthy cooking methods…

  • Stir frying                                              
  • Steaming
  • Microwaving
  • Roasting/Baking
  • Grilling
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