It’s time to start being smart about your health and you money. Why not combine the two with these easy substitutions you can make in your own kitchen or dorm?

1. Yogurt vs. Sour Cream

Photo by Hannah Lin

When topping tacos, baked potatoes or chili, try a dollop of plain yogurt instead of sour cream. The dairy component to these dishes are essential, so why not lighten it up a bit?

Switching out plain yogurt for sour cream will save you 44 calories per ounce consumed. Yogurt also provides more protein and about 5 grams less fat than sour cream. You can also save $1 each time you buy yogurt instead of sour cream.

tub of yogurt is extremely versatile as it is also a great substitution for mayonnaise and of course goes great with berries and granola.

2. Bananas vs. Sports Drinks

Photo by Hannah Lin

Instead of reaching for that Gatorade to rehydrate after your workout, why not unpeel a banana? Studies have shown that bananas are just as beneficial as sports drinks that replenish electrolytes after intense exercise.

Bananas provide potassium, which is essential for muscle activity, protein and dietary fiber. Bananas also have ½ the calories of well-known sports drinks. When one drink can cost you $3 while one banana can cost you less than $1, well, there really isn’t much of an argument there.

So make the change: fill up your water bottle with water and pack that banana for your next post-workout replenishment.

3. Beans vs. Meat                                                            


Photo courtesy of Tracy Benjamin

Beans offer a healthy and inexpensive alternative to meat. Substitute these versatile little gems for beef, turkey or chicken in your favorite recipes. Tacos, pastas and soups are perfect dishes for the easy switch.

By making these substitutions, you can cut out 107 calories, 12.2 grams of fat, and 154 mg of cholesterol per cup of the leanest ground beef. In case you’re not convinced yet, savings reach a whopping $4.15 per pound.

Meatless Monday shouldn’t just be a catchy slogan, but an easy reality worth sticking to. Don’t know where to start? Try this Black Bean Taco Salad.

4. Raisins vs. Fruit Snacks


Photo courtesy of Christian Schnettelker

Who doesn’t love fruit snacks? They’re chewy and sweet. But before you start remembering that warm, tingly feeling you had when you found them packed in your lunch box at school, remember that you’re transitioning into adulthood and your health and budget are key.

On average, raisins offer less calories than fruit snacks and provide more dietary fiber, calcium and potassium. These sweet little love nuggets also average to be about 50 cents less per box than name brand fruit snacks. So go ahead and make the responsible substitution today.

5. Popcorn vs. Granola Bars                    

Photo by Lauren Palladino

Okay, this one may be a bit strange. However, most granola bars you purchase in the store are worse for you than candy bars. Look no further for a better snack.

Popcorn is a tasty, inexpensive and healthy substitution for those granola bars. Just be sure to buy plain or lightly salted to make it worth the swap.

Per serving, popcorn provides more protein and dietary fiber than the average oat and fruit granola bar. Granola bars have over 12 grams of sugar versus the sugarless plain popcorn.

You can buy a bag of popcorn with 10 servings for $1 less than a box of granola bars with 6 servings. So instead of snacking on a granola bar you think is healthy, pop that popcorn for these benefits. For the occasional treat, try these amazing popcorn recipes.

For More Fun Food Substitutions: