Speed Up Your Weight Loss with Food Swaps
By Rachel Brown, RD LDN
Want to put your weight loss efforts into overdrive? Cut your calories with food swaps. Simple food swaps can save you hundreds of calories while you still enjoy the foods you love. The best part is that you won’t even notice the difference! Start by taking your favorite dish and deconstructing it- ingredient by ingredient. Love popular party dips like hot chicken dip or spinach artichoke dip? Deconstruct it to figure out where to make a healthier substitution.
For instance, the typical creamy hot chicken dip has shredded chicken, hot sauce, mayonnaise, blue cheese dressing, cream cheese heated up, all served with tortilla chips. Now make some calories-saving swaps while still maintaining flavor by shredding the chicken, adding hot sauce to taste, and changing out the mayonnaise for plain Greek yogurt, and substituting light blue cheese wedges as the cream cheese and blue cheese flavor. The plain Greek yogurt will act as mayonnaise or the binder in the dish! Now you have a sinfully delicious creamy hot chicken dip without all the calories! Serve with crunchy bell pepper wedges, cucumbers, celery or hearts of romaine. Here’s how you do it:
Swap Mayonnaise (1 ounce = 196 calories; 21 grams of fat) with plain Greek Yogurt (1 ounce = 32 calories; 2 grams of fat) Switching your mayonnaise out with plain Greek yogurt will not only save you calories but also give you some protein. Be creative with flavoring the plain Greek yogurt. Add curry powder, dry ranch mix, taco seasoning and mix with your cooked chicken, tuna, crab etc.
Swap Rice (1 cup = 205 calories; 44 grams of carbohydrate) with ‘Riced’ Cauliflower (1 cup = 29 calories; 5 grams of carbohydrate) Rice and cauliflower? You are probably wondering how those can be compared. Cauliflower is actually a very versatile low carbohydrate vegetable that can be steamed and mashed instead of mashed potatoes or cooked and put in the food processor or blender briefly to resemble and replace rice! Try it! You will probably be pleasantly surprised and your gut will thank you.
Swap Tortilla Chips (1 ounce/12 chips = 138 calories; 6 grams of fat; 19 grams of carbohydrates) with Cucumbers (1 ounce = 4 calories) If you still want that crunch factor, switch from the calorie laden, carb loaded chips to the healthier, crunchy low calorie, low carbohydrate versions for crunch like using sliced cucumber, bell peppers, celery or try the new kale crisp fad!
Swap Cream Cheese (1 ounce = 99 calories; 10 grams of fat) with Spreadable Cheese Wedges (1ounce = 47 calories; 2 grams of fat) Whether it’s to create a spread for your bagel or to make your sauce a little creamer, try substituting the popular light spreadable cheese wedges sold near cream cheese for your next purchase. You may have trouble tasting the difference! They come in variety of flavors you can have fun with.
Remember, you want to make a swap that is realistic and healthy that you feel you can try and enjoy. If a total transition is too drastic, try switching half of what you would normally do with half of the new version. You have the power to do this. And it works!