Create healthy eating habits by substituting lower calorie foods in your regular recipes. It isn’t difficult if you make a list of what you can replace less healthy versions with. The key is to fill up on foods that pack the most nutrition per calorie possible.
From what you add when mixing ingredients, to your method of cooking the recipe, you’ll want to be aware of every single thing that goes into the meal. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may discover you enjoy the flavors of the healthier versions of your favorite foods.
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High-Fat Dairy Substitutes
Many dairy products are loaded with fat. Always read the label to see how much fat is in each serving. Look for low-fat and fat-free versions. If you don’t care for the lower fat versions, you may try blending the full-fat and low-fat versions and gradually cut back on the fat over time.
Other ways to cut calories with dairy products:
- Replace sour cream with plain low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
- Instead of using full-fat whipping cream, whip chilled canned evaporated skim milk.
- If you crave ice cream, try fat-free or low-fat versions or low-fat frozen yogurt.
- Replace ice cream and creamy toppings with sorbet topped with diced fresh fruit.
- Use fat-free cottage cheese in place of ricotta cheese in recipes.
Cut the Fat in Meats
Instead of looking for marbled meats that are full of fat, choose lean meats that may require a different type of cooking. Since marbled meats are generally more tender than lean meat, use a slow cooker or marinate it in pineapple juice, apple juice or apple cider vinegar – all natural tenderizers that add nutrition and flavor to the meat.
More ways to cut back the fat in meat:
- Use ground turkey in place of ground beef. If you must have beef, look for extra lean.
- Instead of frying bacon, cook Canadian bacon.
- Use lean turkey sausage rather than pork sausage.
- Add more seafood meals to your weekly menus.
One of the ways many people add calories without realizing it is by using fattening condiments. There are plenty of alternatives that are just as tasty. Try different substitutes to see which you prefer.
Condiment substitute suggestions:
- Replace full-fat mayonnaise with fat-free mayonnaise or salad dressing
- Make your own salad dressing with olive oil, vinegar and seasonings.
- Use soft margarine in place of butter.
Additional Low Calorie Substitutes
Look for more ways to swap out foods to keep your diet as healthy as possible without losing flavor. Know what foods are healthy and learn the fat content of the ingredients in your favorite recipes.
More suggestions to cut calories:
- Use broth or tomato-based soups rather than creamy soups.
- Use cooking spray in place of butter or shortening to prevent foods from sticking.
- If you like cream in your coffee, try half and half. Gradually work your way to whole milk and eventually skim milk.
- Spread fruit-only jam on your bagel rather than full-fat cream cheese.
- Eat a banana rather than a candy bar.
- Snack on baked chips or un-buttered popcorn rather than potato chips.
- When you crave cookies, try graham crackers. For even more nutrition and flavor, spread a thin layer of natural peanut butter or applesauce on them.
You don’t have to give up flavor to enjoy a lower calorie diet. If you cut back a few calories each day and focus on nutritional content, you’ll lose weight and be healthier in the long run.