These ideas both reduce the saturated fat in foods as well as lower the kilojoules which is useful for weight control.

Healthy cooking method alternatives and ingredient substitutions for reduced fat and calorie content.
Cooking method Alternative
Cooking ingredient Alternative
Deep fry
  • try roasting meat/chicken/fish or vegetables instead in the oven (see ‘roasting’).
Shallow fry
  • try using a non-stick frying pan or wok.
  • use just a small amount of oil or oil spray such as canola, sunflower or olive. Measure with a teaspoon (one per serve) rather than just pouring.
  • add a little water or stock when needed to keep the pan/wok moist if needed.
  • choose lean cuts of meat, or trim all visible fat. Place meat on a roasting/cake rack in a baking dish with 1-2cm of water. Add herbs, spices and/or mustard to meat or wine to the water for extra flavour.
  • try brushing meat with a marinade to prevent the meat drying out. Or cover meat with a lid or aluminium foil for part of the cooking time to retain moisture.
  • roast vegetables;
    • peel or wash the vegetables and make sure you dry them well with a clean paper or tea towel. 
    • toss first with a little unsaturated oil (using a plastic bag is great for this).
    • use baking paper on the tray for easy washing-up.
  • plan the cooking times to take out the meat 10 mins before the vegetables are done. Cover meat to rest for 10 mins before slicing. This helps meat to stay moist. 
  • trim all visible fat off meat before cooking and remove chicken skin.
  • add lots of vegetables and or legumes
  • after cooking, chill the casserole/stew so that any fat hardens on the surface. Skim this off before reheating and thickening.
    • If you’re in a hurry, drop in some ice cubes to cool the surface quickly.




  • use low or reduced fat varieties.
  • ricotta or blended cottage cheese with a small amount of icing sugar with or without vanilla is a great alternative for whipped cream.
  • light and creamy evaporated milk or double strength made up powdered skim milk, can be used in soups, quiches, sauces and casseroles instead of cream for a rich flavour. Add some blended cornflour to thicken if needed.
Sour cream
  • blend cottage cheese or ricotta & low or reduced fat milk to thin cream like consistency. Add a small amount of lemon juice or vinegar, if desired to create a sour flavour.
  • use low or reduced fat natural yoghurt (great on jacket potatoes, Mexican dishes and home made potato wedges).
  • use light & creamy (skim) evaporated milk with a dash of lemon juice or buttermilk instead of sour cream in cooking.
  • try to reduce the amount needed
  • use reduced fat cheese varieties
  • parmesan cheese gives more flavour & less is needed, use a fine grater – you need less cheese
  • mix grated reduced fat cheese with oats or breadcrumbs for toppings on baked dishes.
  • use a potato peeler for thin shaved slices for sandwiches and toast.
  • use unsaturated margarine instead of butter, dairy blends, lard, copha or cooking fat
  • reduced fat or light spreads are lower in kilojoules and great for spreading but sometimes not good for cooking
  • use a variety of oils for cooking including canola, sunflower, olive, peanut and sesame oil – depending on the flavour.
  • measure oil in cooking with a teaspoon, rather than pouring. Add just one teaspoon per serve.
  • reduce the amount of margarine or oil used or leave out if possible (such as on bread).
  • use ricotta, cottage cheese, hummus, avocado or unsalted nut spreads as an alternative spread on bread for variety.