Cooking Substitutions for Fitness-Conscious Chefs By Connie Du Cooking delicious meals does not have to mean ruining your fitness goals. By substituting high-calorie ingredients, such as white sugar and refined flour, with more nutritionally rich foods, fitness-conscious chefs can cook up delicious meals that help them maintain healthy bodies. Here are some handy substitutions that boost the nutritional quality of traditional recipes without sacrificing flavor. — Butter: Replace with pureed avocado, mashed bananas (in sweet baked goods), or olive oil for added nutrients and decreased saturated fats. — Sugar: Try swapping sugar with applesauce for sweetness without all the calories. Or cut the amount of sugar in half and add in vanilla extract and other spices to boost flavor. — Refined flour: In some desserts, flour can be replaced with black beans. In other recipes, whole-wheat flour and nut flours provide added nutritional benefits. — Sour cream: Swap sour cream for nonfat Greek yogurt to cut calories and boost protein with very little change in flavor. — Dressings and marinades: Cut fat and sodium by whipping up your own dressing from olive oil, vinegar, mustard, and whatever herbs you like. Keep in mind that the best substitution for each item depends on the recipe, so check online before starting to cook. About Connie Du Currently an Assistant Consultant at Thirteen, a public relations and consulting firm, Connie Du hopes to enroll in medical school soon to achieve her goal of becoming a psychiatrist. Outside her professional life, Du enjoys pursuing fitness and nutrition activities such as training for sports events and cooking.