Cut 875 Calories with These Sneaky Food Swaps
Pictured Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna with Broccolini
Save calories and lose weight with these healthy food swaps.
There are plenty of tasty ways to substitute healthier ingredients for higher-calorie foods without feeling like you're making a big sacrifice. You just need to know where to start. All of these little swaps can add up to some big calorie savings (and still allow room for some treats). Try them all and you can save 875 calories!
-Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.
Pictured Recipe: Skinny Guacamole
Swap Some Of The Avocado In Guacamole For Zucchini
Save: 100 calories
The monounsaturated fats in avocado-the main ingredient in guacamole-may be heart-healthy, but they also pack a calorie punch. A typical avocado-heavy guacamole delivers 200 calories per half cup. The EatingWell Test Kitchen came up with an amazing (and surprising) substitution for half the avocado-cooked zucchini! This is some of the best guacamole I've had-and the swap shaved 100 calories off the real deal. Get our recipe for Skinny Guacamole.
Swap A Hamburger Bun For An English Muffin
Save: 120 calories
As grilling season kicks into high gear, beware the burger bun. A typical bun delivers 236 "empty" calories-mostly from white flour-without adding much taste or nutrition. Save 120 calories simply by swapping that burger bun for an English muffin. If you want to really pump up the nutrition, choose a whole-wheat muffin, which will give you added fiber, helping you feel more full from your meal. No English muffins at your friend's cookout? Scoop out the inside of a regular hamburger bun and you'll save 60 calories.
Swap Premium Ice Cream For Blended Frozen Banana "Ice Cream"
Save: 170 calories
If you're really craving ice cream, go for it (sometimes all you need is a spoonful to satisfy your sweet tooth, or measure yourself a half-cup serving and enjoy). But if it's just a cold, creamy treat you're after, this skinny swap is surprisingly satisfying: put some slightly thawed frozen bananas in the blender and blend until they're creamy, the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Sprinkle in cocoa powder if you want a chocolaty version. A small banana is 90 calories; a half-cup serving of premium ice cream is 260 calories.
Swap Mayonnaise For Low-Fat Mayo
Save: 45 calories
Mayonnaise-made primarily from oil and eggs-is not surprisingly a calorie bomb (a tablespoon of the stuff packs 90 calories). It may seem like a no-brainer, but swapping low-fat mayo for full-fat is one switch that EatingWell's Test Kitchen cooks consistently find worth it. Of all the variations on mayo-light, no-fat, reduced-fat-they've found that low-fat mayo tastes the best and has only half the calories (just 45 calories per tablespoon).
Swap Some Ground Beef For Grated Vegetables
Save: 30 calories
Ground beef is chock full of healthy iron and zinc, but its fat content lends extra calories (that's why it's good to look for lean ground beef). To lower calories without sacrificing portion size or flavor, bulk up your ground beef with shredded or chopped vegetables-mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and even carrots work well. This is another swap the EatingWell Test Kitchen uses often to cut calories, boost vegetables, add fiber and make recipes healthier. We recommend adding up to 1 cup of chopped or grated veggies to a pound of ground beef when making meatloaf, chili and other dishes. Doing this may help you stretch that pound of beef from four servings to five-and trim 30 calories per serving.Try our Spicy Meatloaf with Collards or Oven-Fried Beef Taquitos (with half the calories of the restaurant version!)
Swap Chicken For Tofu
Save: 100 calories
You might think of tofu only as a replacement for meat or chicken when you want to eat vegetarian, but when you're looking to save calories it's also a great choice. Ounce for ounce, it has fewer calories than chicken or beef, saving you up to 100 calories per 3.5-ounce serving of chicken breast. Try the swap for yourself with this delicious Tofu Parmigiana recipe.
Swap Sour Cream For Plain Yogurt
Save: 30 calories
Rich and creamy plain Greek yogurt adds tang and texture similar to sour cream for baked potatoes, burritos or black bean soup. Go for nonfat or lowfat yogurt for the biggest calorie savings. You'll save 30 calories per 2 tablespoons (plus get a boost of protein and calcium) and still get the creaminess that sour cream would add.
Swap Potatoes For Cauliflower
Save: 100 calories
There's a reason cauliflower has a reputation as the skinny "starch." Boasting only 29 calories per cup (compared to 130 calories in a medium potato), it also delivers almost a day's worth of vitamin C. It's a versatile vegetable that's delicious mashed, blended into a "creamy" soup or roasted. Get recipes for cauliflower pizza, mashed cauliflower? and more.
Swap Spaghetti For Spaghetti Squash
Save: 180 calories
Spaghetti squash is a pretty amazing vegetable. When you bake it you can use the spaghetti-like interior as a base for homemade pasta sauce and instantly double the amount of vegetables at your dinner. But this swap not only ups your veggie intake, it slashes calories while letting you enjoy the flavors of your favorite noodle dishes. Spaghetti squash has only 42 calories per cup-180 calories less than a cup of cooked spaghetti! And it's versatile-you can make a mean ??spaghetti squash lasagna too!