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Low-Calorie, Lower-Fat Alternative Foods

These low-calorie alternatives provide new ideas for old favorites. When making a food choice, remember to consider vitamins and minerals. Some foods provide most of their calories from sugar and fat but give you few, if any, vitamins and minerals.

This guide is not meant to be an exhaustive list. We stress reading labels to find out just how many calories are in the specific products you decide to buy.

Higher-Fat Foods

Lower-Fat Foods          

Dairy Products
Check Box Evaporated whole milk Check Box Evaporated fat-free (skim) or reduced-fat (2%) milk
Check Box Whole milk Check Box Low-fat (1%), reduced-fat (2%), or fat-free (skim) milk
Check Box Ice cream Check Box Sorbet, sherbet, low fat or fat-free frozen yogurt, or ice
Check Box Whipping cream Check Box Imitation whipped cream (made with fat-free [skim] milk)
Check Box Sour cream Check Box Plain low-fat yogurt
Check Box Cream cheese Check Box Neufchatel or "light" cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese
Check Box Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, jack) Check Box Reduced-calorie cheese, low-calorie processed cheeses, etc.
    Check Box Fat-free cheese
Check Box American cheese Check Box Fat-free American cheese or other types of fat-free cheeses
Check Box Regular (4%) cottage cheese Check Box Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) cottage cheese
Check Box Whole milk mozzarella cheese Check Box Part-skim milk, low-moisture mozzarella cheese
Check Box Whole milk ricotta cheese Check Box Part-skim milk ricotta cheese
Check Box Coffee cream (1/2 and 1/2) or nondairy creamer (liquid, powder) Check Box Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) milk or non-fat dry milk powder
Cereals, Grains, and Pastas
Check Box Ramen noodles Check Box Rice or noodles (spaghetti, macaroni, etc.)
Check Box Pasta with white sauce (alfredo) Check Box Pasta with red sauce (marinara)
Check Box Pasta with cheese sauce Check Box Pasta with vegetables (primavera)
Check Box Granola Check Box Bran flakes, crispy rice, etc.
    Check Box Cooked grits or oatmeal
    Check Box Reduced-fat granola
Meat, Fish and Poultry
Check Box Coldcuts or lunch meats (bologna, salami, liverwurst, etc.) Check Box Low-fat coldcuts (95 to 97% fat-free lunch meats, low-fat pressed meats)
Check Box Hot dogs (regular) Check Box Lower-fat hot dogs
Check Box Bacon or sausage Check Box Canadian bacon or lean ham
Check Box Regular ground beef Check Box Extra lean ground beef such as ground round or ground turkey (read labels)
Check Box Chicken or turkey with skin, duck, or goose Check Box Chicken or turkey without skin (white meat)
Check Box Oil-packed tuna Check Box Water-packed tuna (rinse to reduce sodium content)
Check Box Beef (chuck, rib, brisket) Check Box Beef (round, loin) (trimmed of external fat) (choose select
Check Box Pork (spareribs, untrimmed loin) Check Box Pork tenderloin or trimmed, lean smoked ham
Check Box Frozen breaded fish or fried fish (homemade or commercial) Check Box Fish or shellfish, unbreaded (fresh, frozen, canned in water)
Check Box Whole eggs Check Box Egg whites or egg substitutes
Check Box Frozen TV dinners (containing more than 13 grams of fat per serving) Check Box Frozen TV dinners (containing less than 13 grams of fat per serving and lower in sodium)
Check Box Chorizo sausage Check Box Turkey sausage, drained well (read label)
    Check Box Vegetarian sausage (made with tofu)
Baked Goods
Check Box Croissants, brioches, etc. Check Box Hard french rolls or soft brown ’n serve rolls
Check Box Donuts, sweet rolls, muffins, scones, or pastries Check Box English muffins, bagels, reduced-fat or fat-free muffins or scones
Check Box Party crackers Check Box Low-fat crackers (choose lower in sodium)
    Check Box Saltine or soda crackers (choose lower in sodium)
Check Box Cake (pound, chocolate, yellow) Check Box Cake (angel food, white, gingerbread)
Check Box Cookies Check Box Reduced-fat or fat-free cookies (graham crackers,
      ginger snaps, fig bars) (compare calorie level)
Snacks and Sweets
Check Box Nuts Check Box Popcorn (air-popped or light microwave), fruits, vegetables
Check Box Ice cream, e.g., cones or bars Check Box Frozen yogurt, frozen fruit or chocolate pudding bars
Check Box Custards or puddings (made with whole milk) Check Box Puddings (made with skim milk)
Fats, Oils, and Salad Dressings
Check Box Regular margarine or butter Check Box Light spread margarines, diet margarine, or whipped butter, tub or squeeze bottle
Check Box Regular mayonnaise Check Box Light or diet mayonnaise or mustard
Check Box Regular salad dressings Check Box Reduced-calorie or fat-free salad dressings, lemon juice, or plain, herb flavored, or wine vinegar
Check Box Butter or margarine on toast or bread Check Box Jelly, jam, or honey on bread or toast
Check Box Oils, shortening, or lard Check Box Nonstick cooking spray for stir-frying or sautéing
    Check Box As a substitute for oil or butter, use applesauce or prune puree in baked goods
Check Box Canned cream soups Check Box Canned broth-based soups
Check Box Canned beans and franks Check Box Canned baked beans in tomato sauce
Check Box Gravy (homemade with fat and/or milk) Check Box Gravy mixes made with water or homemade with the fat skimmed off and fat-free milk
Check Box Fudge sauce Check Box Chocolate syrup
Check Box Avocado on sandwiches Check Box Cucumber slices or lettuce leaves
Check Box Guacamole dip or refried beans with lard Check Box Salsa


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