Food Substitution: How it Can Help You to Lose Weight

September 4, 2014

One of the hardest things about losing weight is changing your diet. After all, food is yummy and sometimes comforting. The good news is you don’t have to abandon your favorite foods. There are simple substitutions you can make to decrease your caloric intake, increase your daily fiber and help you lose weight without feeling hungry.

Try the substitutions below to enhance your diet:

1. Quinoa for rice

Although it is commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed. Quinoa contains more fiber and  protein than rice, making it a healthier option for side dishes. Additionally quinoa is the perfect foundation for salads and can be used in a variety of recipes.

2. Mustard for mayonnaise

Both mustard and mayo can be used to complete a sandwich. Mustard adds great flavor, without the extra sugar or high amounts of saturated fat found in mayo.

3. Flavored water for soda

Soda is high in sugar which amounts to empty calories. In fact, many people consume hundreds of excess calories a day without realizing how their beverage choices are affecting their health. Instead of pop, try flavoring water with fruit. Using carbonated water can provide the fizz you are looking for without the excess calories.

4. Greek yogurt for sour cream

Sour cream is commonly used in dips and as toppings, and can nicely complement baked potatoes. However, sour cream is high in fat and calories. Substituting Greek yogurt significantly reduces calories and increases protein while providing great flavor.

5. Almonds for croutons

Commonly used to provide crunch to salads, croutons are loaded with simple carbohydrates. By swapping almonds for croutons you gain the crunch that completes your salad while increasing both fiber and protein.

6. Popcorn for chips

Losing weight does not mean eliminating snacks, but making healthier choices is important. Air popped popcorn serves as a great snack, with very little saturated fat and less calories per serving than chips. Raw vegetables can also provide the perfect crunch without adding calories.

7. Stevia for white sugar

Stevia is an all-natural sweetener that contains less calories than sugar, and no fat or carbohydrates. Substitute stevia in recipes as a sweetener to provide sweetness without increasing your calories.

8. Romaine for Iceberg lettuce

Your choice of lettuce can make a huge difference. While both are low in calories, Romaine lettuce has significantly more vitamins making it the healthier selection.

9. Oil and Balsamic Vinegar instead of Salad dressing

Salad dressing is often high in fat, sugar and calories. In many instances, adding salad dressing can double or triple the calories in a salad. Using small quantities of olive oil and balsamic vinegar provides flavor without added artificial ingredients.

10. Almond butter instead of peanut butter

Most commercial peanut butter contains added sugars and oils. An organic almond butter can give the creamy texture you crave without the excess sugar and fat.

11. Fruit juice with water

Although fruit juice is a healthier choice than soda, juice is packed with sugar, resulting in excess calories. Hydrate by drinking water. Instead of drinking juice, eat a piece of fruit. That way you get all of the nutrients the fruit offers without added sugar.

12. Frozen grapes instead of candy

Grapes are nature’s candy! Freezing grapes puts a new spin on this already delicious fruit, providing a sweet snack that is even better than a popsicle.

13. Oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a staple in many recipes including meatballs, meatloaf and baked chicken. Substituting oatmeal for breadcrumbs adds whole grains and fiber to a meal, without sacrificing flavor.

14. Spaghetti squash instead of noodles

Spaghetti squash is a healthy alternative to pasta. Loaded with nutrients, the starchy squash complements many dishes and is paired perfectly with a vegetable packed pasta sauce.

15. Lettuce instead of tortillas

Tortillas aren’t the only way to roll a taco. Use leaves of crispy lettuce instead of a tortillas for a low carb treat.

Susie Felber

Susie is a writer and producer who has worked in nearly every medium. As the daughter of a hard-working M.D., she's had a lifelong interest in health and is proud that she continues to lower her 5k time as she ages.
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