5 Simple Food Swaps To Slash Calories and Lose Weight
By Maya Bain, 06 June 2016
If you are trying to get in shape reducing your calorie intake is essential so you can achieve your goals. However, one of the best approaches is not necessarily doing an entire overhaul of your nutrition plan. Instead, you can look at simple food swaps to slash calories and lose weight, which can be done with little effort.
With just a few minor adjustments, you can easily shave 200, 300 or even 500 calories from your daily caloric intake. This translates to you losing half to one pound of weight a week without much effort.
If you’ve ever yo-yo’d on and off a diet before because it was just too strict to follow, this approach will change how you view weight loss.
Let’s look at a few smart food swaps to integrate this into your plan immediately.
Smart Food Swaps: Spaghetti For Spaghetti Squash
Craving pasta? The big problem with this dish is that it packs in carbs and calories fast, and they are the refined variety. This makes it a less than ideal option as far as your health is concerned.
Instead, try some spaghetti squash. Once you cook this and remove the rinds, you’ll find it to be very similar in texture to that of spaghetti, so it can make for a great replacement.
Best of all, one cup contains a mere 42 calories and 10 grams of carbs, with 2.2 grams of dietary fiber. Compare this to the 200 calories, 35.5 grams of carbs, and 2.1 grams of fiber you’d get from a cup of regular spaghetti.
Smart Food Swaps: Granola For Oatmeal
Does your morning usually start off with a bowl of granola? While you may think this is a great cereal to eat as an adult as it’s full of whole grains, nut clusters, and dried fruit, you will want to reconsider.
Granola is often loaded with excess calories, sugar, and in some cases, plenty of fat as well. Go light with oatmeal instead.
Cooked oatmeal is great because it triples in size, so it maintains a very low calorie density. One cup of cooked oatmeal contains just 166 calories, while one cup of granola can easily provide 400 or more calories. Additionally, plain oatmeal is sugar free as well. The same cannot be said for granola.
Smart Food Swaps: Bagel For An English Muffin
Bagels are a common snack item that many people turn to each day. Unfortunately, they really do your diet in. These carb bombs can easily rack up 300 calories and 70 or more grams of carbs with not much more than 2-3 grams of fiber per serving.
If you choose to slather one with some cream cheese, you’ll be even worse off with additional fat and calories.
Instead, swap your bagel out for a whole wheat English muffin instead. These have just 120 calories or so per serving and will also provide more filling dietary fiber as well. Choose to smear that with a little natural peanut butter and you’ll get some healthy fat and protein, making for a much more complete and diet-friendly snack.
Smart Food Swaps: Ground Beef For Ground Turkey
Feeling the urge for a burger? Most people realize that reaching for a ground beef burger isn’t the smartest of options while dieting. But, this doesn’t mean you have to shun burgers entirely.
Swap ground beef for some ground turkey breast instead. Ground turkey breast meat is very lean, providing just 120 calories, 1 gram of fat, and 28 grams of protein per 4 oz. serving. Compare this to lean ground beef (95% lean), which is the lower fat option of the ground beef varieties, but still comes in at 164 calories, 6.4 grams of fat and 24.8 grams of protein.
You can use ground turkey for just about anything you’d use ground beef with including meatballs, casseroles, or that favorite burger you have in mind.
Smart Food Swaps: Milk For Unsweetened Almond Milk
If you’re preparing a smoothie or sitting down to your morning bowl of cereal, consider an alternative to the usual cup of milk you add in.
While milk does provide some calcium, it also packs in 90-120 calories per cup depending on the fat percentage you go with. In addition, milk is actually quite high in sugar, providing nearly 10 grams per cup. When aiming to experience optimal fat loss, sugar is one thing you’ll want to control and limit. If you down a couple cups of milk per day, you could be easily surpassing your daily sugar quota.
Instead, opt for unsweetened almond or cashew milk. Available in vanilla flavor, these milk varieties contain just 25-30 calories per cup and virtually no sugar. They’ll also pack a couple grams of heart-healthy fats as well, doing your diet well. With a delicious taste that most people love, this is an easy swap to make.
Try some of these easy swaps to save calories and progress faster towards your weight loss goals.