10 Calorie-Cutting Food Swaps

December 31, 2012

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food swapsSometimes the best way to lose weight is to think small – small changes in food choices for big savings in calories. Many of your favorite sugar-filled, fattening foods have substitutions that will satisfy your cravings without sacrificing flavor. Keep your stomach smiling with these simple swaps:

Swap Fruit Juice for Whole Fruit: Many classify juice as a healthy food, but it actually packs a lot of calories into a small serving. Instead of reaching for a one-cup glass of OJ at 112 calories, have an orange for just 69 calories. Bonus: the filling fiber in whole fruit is much more satisfying.

Swap Sour Cream for Non-Fat Plain Yogurt: If you love to top dishes with sour cream, here’s some good news: You can get a similar, creamy experience with plain non-fat yogurt, which has just 28 calories per quarter-cup serving versus 32 calories for a single tablespoon of sour cream.

Swap Mayo for Mustard: Hold the mayo. Go for Dijon mustard instead for just 20 calories per tablespoon as opposed to mayo’s100 calories and extra fat. It’s a low-fat swap with an extra punch of flavor.

Swap Ranch Dressing for Low-Fat Vinaigrette: Salads can be a healthy choice, but they can also pack in as many calories as a Big Mac if you don’t select your ingredients wisely. Creamy dressings such as ranch are about 80 calories per tablespoon and loaded with saturated fat. Opt for a vinaigrette dressing with an olive oil and vinegar base for a boost of unsaturated, healthy fats and about 20 calories per tablespoon.

Swap Dried Fruit for Fresh: Fruit isn’t always synonymous with healthy. Half a cup of dried fruit can be filled with sugar and adds up to 187 calories—not exactly a healthy snack. If you like the savory-sweet combo of cranberries or other dried fruits on salads, throw in a serving of fresh berries for just 33 calories.

Swap Flour for Corn Tortillas: You won’t even taste the difference in this swap. Ordering a corn tortilla instead of a flour one cuts your calorie intake in half—from 120 calories down to 60.

Swap Starchy Side Dishes for Steamed Veggies: Before scooping a heaping serving of mashed potatoes on your plate, ask yourself, “Do I really need this extra starch?” One cup of rice or potatoes clocks in around 200 calories, but one cup of steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or wilted greens tallies to just 35. Plus, greens will keep you feeling full longer.

Replace Regular Ground Beef with Extra Lean: A 6-ounce serving of ground beef is 30 percent fat and 405 calories—not exactly waistline friendly. But sometimes you just need a burger. Use 95 percent extra lean ground beef for the same juicy flavor at just 291 calories per 6-ounce serving.

Replace Potato Chips with Popcorn: Snack attack? Instead of reaching for a single-serving bag of chips, pop some low-fat popcorn and reduce your damage to just 100 calories as opposed to 210.

Instead of a Regular Candy Bar Have a Snack-Sized One: Sweet tooth calling? Often times a taste is all you need to satisfy your craving. Swap a full-sized chocolate bar for a snack-sized one, and cut that splurge from 210 calories down to 42. However, if sweets are a trigger food for you, just a taste can lead to trouble. You know yourself best, so use your judgment.

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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