Substitute Yourself Skinny By Chef Susan Irby,The Bikini Chef

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Warm weather is here. Learn how to cut your calories but keep the flavor with hundreds of simple substitutions.

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For my whole life I have strived to find a balance between staying slim and healthy and enjoying the fattening foods I love. People think that because I am The Bikini Chef being thin comes easy for me. It doesn't

For most of us trying to eat right and lose weight can feel like a never ending battle. There are so many diet plans out there and so many promises how can we be sure we have picked the right one? And how can we be motivated to stay on a diet when they all focus on what we can’t eat?

What if you could eat all the foods you love and still lose weight? Enter Substitute Yourself Skinny by Chef Susan Irby, known to her fans as The Bikini Chef, the ultimate healthy cookbook that actually allows us to eat the foods we love with simple, calorie-slashing ingredient swaps.

Substitute Yourself Skinny proves it’s possible to cut fat and calories and still eat satisfying and delicious foods. Based on her years of experience as a caterer cooking for a vast array of clients, Susan has created 175 super-slimming recipes everyone will love. With tips on how to swap one ingredient for another, anyone wanting to eat healthier can turn favorite foods into appetizing low-calorie creations.

“For my whole life I have strived to find a balance between staying slim and healthy and enjoying the fattening foods I love. People think that because I am The Bikini Chef being thin comes easy for me. It doesn’t,” says Chef Susan. “A few years ago I was stress eating and not exercising. I gained more weight than I ever have. So I made the commitment to get back on track. It wasn’t easy and it didn’t come quickly but I stayed with it and learned I could still eat my favorite foods but just make them ‘skinny.’”

Mention the word “substitution” in relation to a recipe and we tend to get a little nervous - - afraid that food will taste funny or have an odd texture to it. Low-calorie and fat-free ingredients are easier than ever to find, come in a variety of brands, and are high in quality and flavor, making it easy and delicious to create low calorie and low fat meals. Susan gives home cooks the “skinny” on ingredient substitutions in the chapter, The Skinny on Substitutions. There she outlines some of the basic “skinny” pantry items to keep on hand that can replace high-calorie and high-fat options such as:

Canned diced tomatoes            Tomato paste
Dijon mustard            Fresh lemons and oranges
Lean turkey meat            Low-carb flour and whole-wheat tortillas
Salsa                Unsweetened applesauce
Sugar Substitutes            Nonfat milk products

Recipes in Substitute Yourself Skinny are organized in chapters that make it easy to find just the right meal like: Jumpstart-Your-Day Breakfasts; Energizing Lunches; Thinner Dinners; Slimming Sides; Guilt-Free Snacks and Appetizers; and Deliciously Skinny Desserts.

For health-conscience home cooks, each recipe provides the original calorie count and the Substitute Yourself Skinny calorie count. Susan has also provided nutritional information for each recipe, “Skinny Secret” shortcuts to trim calories in little ways throughout the day and serving-size suggestions making it easy to eat healthy, lose weight and still feel satisfied. Recipes in the book include:

  •     Flat-Belly Eggs Benedict – SYS calories per serving: 179 (original recipe: 590)
  • Delectable French Toast – SYS calories per serving: 79 (original recipe: 356)
  • Tune-Up Tuna Salad – SYS calories per serving: 57 (original recipe: 504)
  • Chinese Chicken Salad – SYS calories per serving: 240 (original recipe: 455)
  • Melt-in-Your-Mouth Tuna Melt – SYS calories per serving: 334 (original recipe: 919)
  • Summer Savoring Mac ‘n’ Cheese – SYS calories per serving: 253 (original recipe: 320)
  • Skinny “Beef” Stroganoff – SYS calories per serving: 294 (original recipe: 390)
  • Chicken Alfredo – SYS calories per serving: 351 (original recipe: 990)
  • Smokin’-Good Bacon Burger – SYS calories per serving: 254 (original recipe: 870)
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll Shrimp Risotto – SYS calories per serving: 238 (original recipe: 620)
  • Creamiest Creamed Spinach – SYS calories per serving: 82 (original recipe: 248)
  • Penne “Lasagna” with Beef – SYS calories per serving: 90 (original recipe: 550)
  • Fry-Me-Not Fried Rice – SYS calories per serving: 266 (original recipe: 377)
  • Individual Sausage Pizza – SYS calories per serving: 337 (original recipe: 420)
  • Smitten for Molten Chocolate Cake – SYS calories per serving: 191 (original recipe: 451)
  • Very Berry Strawberry Shortcake – SYS calories per serving: 237 (original recipe: 561)

“We all have our favorite ‘comfort’ foods that we routinely turn to when stressed or unhappy. For all the quick satisfaction we may feel when we eat those foods, what is not satisfying is how full and heavy we feel afterwards. I developed my recipes in an easy-to-follow manner so that anyone can achieve diet freedom and enjoy favorite foods without guilt.”

The Bikini Chef has taken the guess-work out of substituting healthy, lower-calorie ingredients and has turned some of our favorite high-calorie recipes into healthy meals we can enjoy every day for any occasion.

About Chef Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef

Born in Marietta, Georgia, Chef Susan Irby may as well be from Alabama as that is where her fondest memories are from. “My family had an amazing lake cabin in Alabama. It was small and simple, yet we had the best times there. It was there we ended our day of playing on the lake by cooking in our bikinis and having dinner. That’s really where ‘Bikini Cooking’ and ‘The Bikini Chef’ truly began.” Growing up cooking with her mother, Susan’s culinary passion took hold and soon she began working in premiere restaurants in Italy and France. Returning to the United States, Susan cooked with several Master Chefs including Todd English, Ming Tsai, Rocco Dispirito, Sherry Yard, and George McNeill. She then began teaching cooking classes for gourmet markets and culinary schools such as Whole Foods, Chef’s Inc, and Sur La Table, as well as preparing dishes for the World President’s Organization, Bloomingdales, and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s “Nutrition in the Schools” program among others. Susan is the author of several cookbooks including: The $7 a Meal Quick & Easy Cookbook, The $7 a Meal Healthy Cookbook, and Cooking with Susan: Southern Family Favorites. A favorite guest on radio and television, Susan is host of The Bikini Lifestyle with Susan Irby the Bikini Chef on KFWB News Talk Radio 980 in Los Angeles where she discusses all things food and nutrition with guests such as Wolfgang Puck, Giuliano Hazan, Divya Gugnani, Dr. Murad, Ben Ford, and Joachim Splichal. As a caterer and chef, Susan has cooked for celebrities including Billy Bush, David Spade, Kate Sagal, James Garner, and Patrick Swayze. She lives in Orange County, CA with her husband and daughter.

To learn more about Chef Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef, visit

To request a copy of substitute yourself skinny and to schedule an interview with Susan Irby, contact: Trina Kaye – the Trina Kaye organization. 310-915-0970

Sample Recipes from Substitute Yourself Skinny

Lots o’ Flavor Chicken Salad on Papaya Boat
Serves 4

Substituting nonfat vanilla yogurt for high-fat mayonnaise not only reduces the calories and fat, but also adds a delicious element of flavor to this salad favorite. Omitting cooking oil and poaching the chicken in water is healthy and nearly fat-free.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 papayas, halved and seeded
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into 2-inch cubes
¼ cup water, or as needed
½ cup nonfat vanilla or plain yogurt
½ tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh finely grated lemon zest
½ cup green seedless grapes, halved
¼ cup chopped celery

1.    Spray a medium skillet with nonstick spray and heat on medium. Add the chicken and 2 tablespoons water. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, adding water as needed to prevent burning. Cook the chicken until done, about 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2.     In medium mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, honey, salt, pepper, and lemon zest, and whisk until well combined. Toss with the grapes, celery, and chicken until well coated. Spoon equally into the papaya halves.

Skinny Secret
Part of feeling satisfied when eating includes tantalizing your taste buds with a variety of textures and flavors. In this recipe, the creaminess of the yogurt mixture soothes the palate while your other taste buds enjoy the crunch of fresh celery and the heartiness of the chicken.

Serving size: ½ papaya with ½ cup chicken

Calories per serving        Nutritional breakdown
Original recipe 220        Fat <1g
SYS recipe 139        Carbohydrates 18g
Protein 8g
Sodium 29mg

Rock ’n’ Roll Shrimp Risotto
Serves 4

Risotto sometimes gets a bad rap, but it’s usually because of all the cheese. Skip the cheese but maximize the flavor with fresh asparagus and lemon.

1 tablespoon olive oil
½ white or yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
Fine zest of 1 lemon
½ cup white wine such as sauvignon blanc
½ cup chopped asparagus tips
1½ cups arborio rice
5 cups low-sodium chicken broth, brought to a boil and simmering
½ pound cooked medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
Sea salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

1.    In a large-quart boiler, heat the olive oil on medium. Add the onion, garlic, and lemon zest. Sauté until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes. Add the wine and asparagus tips. Cook about 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to brown, about 2 minutes. Add ½ cup of the hot chicken broth to the rice mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until the moisture has been absorbed.
2.    Continue adding the broth ½ cup at a time until all the broth has been added. Once all the broth has been added, cook until the rice is soft but still slightly al dente. Add the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and serve in ¾ -cup portions.

Serving size: ¾ cup

Calories per serving        Nutritional breakdown
Original recipe 620        Fat 2g
SYS recipe 238        Carbohydrates 304g
Protein 23g
Sodium 131mg

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

Coffee has a strong flavor that most people love, even in baked goods. Using it in this recipe is a perfect way to keep flavor high without adding any fat or calories. In addition, applesauce is naturally sweet and can be used to substitute for some or all of the sugar in recipes. Then, the egg whites help balance out the density of the
applesauce, keeping your recipes lighter in texture.

Nonstick cooking spray
? cup unsweetened cocoa
? cup plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon sea salt
? cup granulated sugar
? cup water
1 teaspoon instant coffee
? cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 egg whites

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray. In a mixing bowl, combine the cocoa, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Mix well.

2.     In a small-quart boiler, bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the coffee; stir to dissolve. In a small bowl, combine the applesauce, vanilla, and egg whites. Mix well. Add the coffee mixture and mix well. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and mix well.

2.    Pour the mixture into the prepared dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. When cooled completely, slice into 2-inch squares and serve.

Serving size: 1 brownie

Calories per serving        Nutritional breakdown
Original recipe 243        Fat .5g
SYS recipe 63        Carbohydrates 14g
Protein 1g
Sodium 66mg

These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:
Recipes reprinted from Substitute Yourself Skinny by Chef Susan Irby
Adams Media; May 2010; Trade Paperback/$17.95


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