These 14 Healthy Food Swaps Can Slash 1,000s of Calories
Ready to slash thousands of calories from your diet almost effortlessly? Yes, everything you eat and drink adds up, and if you’re not keeping track of it, you might be taking in way more calories than you think. Instead, use these simple strategies and healthy food swaps to slash calories.
Some Strategies to Cut Calories
Did you know that consistently making healthy food swaps on a regular basis can help you lose weight without even trying? It’s true!
Just think about it… if you swap out a few hundred calories a day, and one pound of fat equals 3,500 calories, it stands to reason that you can trim body fat without much effort.
1. Track what you eat—what gets measured improves. In fact, you may not even know how many calories you’re taking in on a daily basis until you actually start monitoring it. How can you easily track this? Try an app!
There are many apps available that you can use to track what you eat, and many will break it down into calories, fat, protein, carbohydrates, and more. Make monitoring what you eat a daily habit for at least several days. Just tracking calories is one way to cut calories as it increases your awareness of what you’re really consuming day to day.
2. Read labels—always know what you’re getting by reading labels. Know if something is natural or filled with preservatives, artificial colors or natural coloring, natural flavors or chemically enhanced. Try to choose mostly whole, healthy natural foods whenever possible.
3. Know the name game—sometimes, ingredients are hidden by names you don’t recognize. For example, there are many different forms of sugar like glucose, fructose, dextrose, maltodextrins, syrups, and more.
4. Check portion sizes—not only should you check the portion sizes on your plate, but you should always investigate what constitutes a “portion” when you look at food labels. For example, you may think you’re eating “one” portion, but when you read the label, you’ll realize a typical portion size is actually several “serving sizes.”
Try These 14 Healthy Food Swaps
Since you’re on such an amazing healthy food trek, keep up the good work by using these healthy food swaps. Here are some great swaps you can try with the less healthy food listed first and your healthy food options listed immediately after.
1. Swap sugary drinks—swap sugary drinks for fruit-infused sparkling waters and club sodas. You can even add seltzer to some of your alcoholic beverages to cut down on the calorie (and alcohol) content of your drinks. You can save ~75 to 210 calories per 12-ounce serving.
2. Swap coffee creamers—opt for lower-calorie or sugar-free creamers in your coffee. Better yet, try some oat, cashew, or almond milk or some of the milk alternative creamers for a host of calorie savings.
3. Swap fried—instead of fried, go with baked whenever possible. That’s an easy switch that can save you thousands of calories over time. If you love the crispy on the outside but tender on the inside foods, you can also look toward air fryers instead of traditional fried options. To get you started, this air-fried chicken is fast, easy, and delicious.
4. Swap ice cream—replace ice cream and other frozen treats with protein shakes. Try adding ice (if you have a blender that can crush ice) or some frozen fruits. Adding a few tablespoons of frozen spinach can thicken up your shake and give it an ice-cream-like texture. If you want something that’s really ice-cream-like, give this Lean Protein Chocolate Ice Cream a taste. Yum!
5. Swap fried rice—instead of the fatty fried rice, which is also high in carbohydrates, try cauliflower rice instead. You can purchase it pre-made and fry it in a pan with a little non-stick spray or simply microwave it for a quick and tasty side dish.
6. Swap chips—enjoy air-popped popcorn instead of chips. Try adding some different flavors like chipotle, nutritional yeast, curry powder, salt, pepper, or your choice of seasonings. Or, you can try making baked chips by slicing up and baking kale, zucchini, or sweet potatoes.
7. Swap juice—instead of downing juice, try eating the whole fruit instead. This will provide you with more (and longer-lasting) satisfaction, give you something to chew, will be more filling, and provide much-needed fiber.
8. Swap sour cream with Greek yogurt—this is an easy switch, and you might not even notice the substitution. You can also add a little Greek yogurt to many recipes to give them some added moisture, flavor, and protein to boot.
9. Swap mayo for hummus—you’ll enjoy the creamy texture and burst of flavor without all the fat and calories of mayo. Plus, hummus is higher in satiating protein.
10. Swap fatty cuts of meat—instead of choosing “prime,” try to choose “choice” or “select” instead. These are lower-fat cuts of meat. You can also trim any visible fat before cooking for even more calorie cuts.
11. Swap sugary breakfast cereals—think outside the box! Instead of filling up on empty calories, spiking your blood sugar, and feeling hungry soon after eating, try something a bit heartier like a whole-grain bread, steel-cut oats, or whole-wheat muffins. Your food will stay with you longer, and because of the increase in fiber, your blood sugar will remain more stable as well.
12. Swap avocado for butter—while much healthier, it’s still important to watch the fats and calories in avocados. Account for calories by monitoring portion sizes.
13. Swap baked vegetable fries for French fries—try baking thinly cut or traditional cut sweet potatoes, zucchini, or even potatoes. Try different seasonings to spice things up and enjoy with some low-sugar ketchup, mustard, or barbeque sauce.
14. Swap oil in baking recipes with applesauce—it may sound strange, but you might actually like the applesauce version of your favorite dishes better than the originals!
Even making a few of these healthy food swaps can help you cut out thousands of calories overtime. What’s more, by eating more nutrient-dense, whole foods, you’ll be getting more of the nutrients your body needs. Plus, many of these options are higher in protein, which can help you feel full for longer. Best of all, many of these swaps taste just as good, if not better, than the original, so you’ll likely never even notice what you’re missing.