Plain Greek yogurt is now your substitute for sour cream in all situations.

Not only do they taste virtually the exact same, but they have similar texture, protein, vitamin and mineral content…the yogurt just has less calories and less fat per serving. So ask yourself again why you’re still using sour cream. You really have no excuse. Greek yogurt is just as versatile as sour cream; it can be used in baking, for dips, sauces, and everything in between. The important thing to remember about replacing sour cream for yogurt in baking is that the yogurt has less fat which means you might need to add a little more oil or butter to your recipe to keep your product tender. By no means is the yogurt going to make your end product tough, you might not even be able to tell a difference in most situations! However if your taste buds are extremely picky, go ahead and add a few tablespoons of extra butter. The calories and fat of the added butter still won’t equal the calories and fat of the sour cream. So next time you go to the grocery store for sour cream, don’t. Head to the yogurt aisle instead.

Could I have a side of salt with that please?

It’s almost impossible to find something without a TON of sodium in it in this day and time. However with this added sodium and the recent health kick of Americans, many canned goods and processed items are beginning to feature “lower sodium” or “no salt added” versions of their products. Buy these whenever possible. Sometimes you might have to pay a few cents extra, but its becoming more and more common for brands to offer lower sodium versions now, thus making it cheaper to buy the less salty alternative. I always think it’s better to add my own salt to my dish, not let the processor do it for me.This way I can control my sodium intake, and save room for these calories at dessert. On that note, I prefer sea salt over table salt because of the coarser texture and less processing. Always purchased iodized sea salt, because salt is one of the main sources of iodine we receive.

Olive oil is called Italian butter for a reason.

When I’m sautéing, broiling, stir-frying, or basically doing anything except baking sweet dishes nowadays, I use olive oil instead of butter. Butter is a saturated fat that is higher in calories than olive oil, a monounsaturated fat. Saturated fats can lead to heart disease whereas monounsaturated fats are “good” fatty acids that can actually help your heart in moderation. I’m not saying to replace the butter in your pound cake with olive oil, but whenever possible, try using olive oil instead. But caution: olive oil (or butter really) is not good for deep frying. Olive oil (especially extra virgin) has a low smoke point because it has not been processed, and therefore it should not be used to deep fry.

Fresh/frozen is cheaper than canned, and better for you too.

I always try to buy fresh or frozen produce over the canned stuff when I can. Don’t get me wrong, I stock up on the canned foods in the winter and for when I’m in a time crunch. But when veggies are in season I almost always buy fresh. Canned products have a lot of added sodium (even when you buy the lower sodium versions) and since they have been partially cooked and are stored in water, they have lost a lot of their water-soluble nutrients. If you’re cooking for one, like I usually do, its cheaper to buy fresh than canned because you can choose your own portions. Frozen is good too because you can buy larger quantities and continue to store what you don’t use. When considering nutrient content, frozen is actually better than fresh because it was picked at peak ripeness and quickly frozen. It has had the least amount of water contact (fresh veggies get the scheduled hourly “rain storm” in the grocery store), and the more water contact, the less nutrients the product will have. That being said, since the frozen produce will have ice crystals on it, it will have a somewhat mushier texture because the crystals will cause the cell walls to break in the veggie/fruit. So it’s up to you to decide and compromise over convenience, texture, and nutrient content. No matter what you decide, a vegetable is a vegetable so it is good for you regardless.