When you’re trying to cut calories, you may think that the simplest (but not necessarily the easiest) way is to completely forgo all the foods you love, like cheeseburgers and ice cream. But eating healthier doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself all the time! These easy swaps will help you save calories without having to give up your favorite foods.
- Fat-free milk for 2% or whole – Using skim is a great way to get all the calcium and nutrients of milk with less fat and calories. If you don’t like drinking it straight up, at least switch it out in your cereal, lattes, and recipes that call for milk.
- Egg whites for whole eggs – In scrambled eggs or omelets, use double the amount of egg whites as you would whole eggs (i.e. 4 egg whites instead of 2 whole).
- Oil-based salad dressings for creamy dressings – The best option is olive oil with some lemon juice, but always choose a vinaigrette over ranch or blue cheese. If you’re going with Caesar, always pick regular instead of creamy.
- Vegetable soups for “cream of…” soups – As with salad dressings, ditch the creamy to cut calories. Soups made with broth and veggies are much better for you than those with cream. If you like the texture of creamy soups, trick yourself by making pureed soups with starchy vegetables like potatoes or butternut squash.
- Baked tortilla or pita chips for potato chips – Potato chips are deep fried, adding tons of calories and fat that you don’t need. Cut up some tortillas or pitas, brush a little bit of oil on them and bake them up for healthy, homemade chips.
- Salsa for mayo or cream based dips – Now that you’ve made your healthier chips, you’ll want something to dip them in. Go with the veggie-packed goodness of salsa instead of a higher-calorie dip that uses mayo, cream cheese, or sour cream as its base.
- Turkey for beef or pork – Turkey burgers, turkey bacon, and turkey sausage are all healthier, lower calorie/fat alternatives to their red meat alternatives.
- Fat-free Greek yogurt for sour cream – You honestly won’t be able to tell the difference! Plus you’ll get all the protein, calcium, and probiotics of the yogurt.
- Sorbet for ice cream or frozen yogurt – A sorbet is usually fruit-based and doesn’t include dairy products, meaning you’ll get a significantly lower fat and calorie count. Make your own at home using frozen fruit!
- Small for medium or large anything – We’ve saved the best and simplest for last: at fast food chains, always order the smallest size available. Watching your portion size can save you hundreds of calories: choosing a 4-piece Chicken McNuggets over the 10-piece will cut out almost 300 calories. Even getting a Tall Pumpkin Spice Latte instead of a Grande at Starbucks cuts out 60 calories (over 100 without the whipped cream!)
What’s your favorite calorie-cutting food swap?