You want to cut back on the calories you consume, but all of your favorite foods are high calorie! Ah, yes, it’s the endless conundrum of weight loss diets. You know that consuming fewer calories is the key to losing weight, but you have to eat something. And life is no fun when all of your favorite foods are off limits!
A common solution to this problem is to simply cut way back on portion sizes. In other words, you shouldn’t have a full-sized brownie, but you can have a small slice that amounts to two bites. Some people find that method satisfying… but others do not. If you reduce your serving sizes too much, you could find yourself uncomfortably hungry most of the time.
That’s why “food swaps” are another common solution. By swapping a high-calorie food for one with fewer calories, you can lose weight without slashing your serving sizes so drastically. The trick is to identify food substitutes that offer a similar taste and texture as your favorites. The following is by no means a complete list of food swaps, but it can give ideas to get started.
- Instead of sour cream … Try low-fat greek yogurt. The difference between ¼ cup servings is 80 calories.
- Instead of mayonnaise … Try hummus. You can slash 120 calories per two-tablespoon serving.
- Instead of butter when baking … Try a blend of part butter, part avocado. By substituting ½ stick of butter and ¼ cup of mashed avocado for a full stick of butter, you can slash 305 calories from your baked goods.
- Instead of pasta … Try zucchini noodles. You can save 196 calories per one-cup serving.
- Instead of chocolate ice cream … Try a dessert made from frozen mashed bananas and cocoa powder. You can save 45 calories per half-cup serving, and bananas also contain valuable fiber and potassium.
- Instead of canola oil when baking … Try a blend of half oil, half applesauce. You can slash 455 calories per half-cup of oil.
- Instead of potato chips … Try snap pea crisps. You can enjoy a crunchy, salty snack while slashing about 40 calories from each one-ounce serving.
These are just some ideas for lower-calorie food swaps, but with a little investigation you can identify more substitutes that will work for you. Keep in mind that cravings often focus around texture and general desires such as “salty” or “sweet”. Read food labels carefully, or simply conduct a Google search for substitutes for your favorite foods. In most cases, you can satisfy your hunger with a healthier option that will help you reach your weight loss goals.