Cook healthier at home

bell peppers

Tips, tricks, and substitutions

When you cook at home, you have control over the ingredients and portion sizes at your table, which is key to maintaining a healthy weight. It can also reduce your risk of lifelong health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease.

photo of a person cutting mushroomsCooking at home saves money, too. (Eating the leftovers makes your money go even further.)

Start by planning one healthy meal at home each week. You don't have to stop eating out or change your regular cooking routine all at once — every small step adds up to greater overall health.

Update your recipes

Even if you cook at home now, there may be ways to make your family favorites healthier with substitutions.

Turn your favorite recipes into smart meals by making one or more of these simple swaps.

The recipe calls for: Substitute it with:
Butter, lard, or margarineOlive oil, canola oil, or tub spread (trans-fat free)
CheeseLight cheese, reduced-fat cheese, nonfat cheese, or try smaller amounts of strongly flavored cheese
Cream (heavy)Low-fat milk in soups and casseroles
Flour (white)Substitute 1/2 of the flour with whole wheat flour
Frying in oilSautéing in small amount of oil, broth, wine, or nonstick cooking spray
Ground beef95 percent or 93 percent lean ground beef or ground turkey breast
MayonnaiseLight mayonnaise or plain non-fat Greek yogurt
Bottled salad dressingOive oil, vinegar, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, herbs
SaltUse half the amount of salt in soups, stews, etc. and add extra herbs and spices
Sour creamLow-fat Greek or plain yogurt or low-fat sour cream
Whole eggEgg white or egg substitute
Whole milk and yogurtFat-free or 1 percent milk and nonfat yogurt

Reviewed by Kaiser Permanente in 2018

Eating better together

Join a healthy eating class in your area.

Need support? Find a wellness coach.

Fresh produce and exciting flavors

Explore your healthy eating lifestyle at a farmers market near you.

Your eating-well toolkit