Motivated to stick to those weight loss resolutions, but having trouble unsticking to those oh-so-comfy comfort foods? You don’t have to turn away from favorite dishes and flavors when a lot of the not-so-healthy staples can easily be replaced with more wholesome, nutrient-dense and weight-friendly ingredients.
Experiment with these 10 healthy food swaps in your old favorite recipes, or let them inspire you to seek out brand new ones. Starting a new weight loss journey doesn’t mean you have to abandon everything you once loved. Rather, it means simply tweaking those things so that you can take them right along with you. Then the foods you love can become a help – rather than an obstacle – in reaching your weight loss goals and achieving the happier, healthier future you deserve.
SWAP Jacket Potato FOR Sweet Potato
This swap saves you 49 calories, 11 grams of carbs and 0.1 gram of fat. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, which boosts immunity, wound healing, healthy cell development and skin and eye health. Creamed or crisped, baked or grilled, sweet potato is so versatile and can be incorporated easily into both sweet and savory dishes, while its high fiber content makes it filling and satiating.
SWAP 100g Brown Rice FOR 100g Cauliflower Rice
This swap saves you 86 calories, 18 grams of carbs and 0.9 grams of fat. This is an ideal swap for low-carb dieters, and also significantly pumps up the amount of fat-blasting fiber you’ll get from your rice dish. Cauliflower is rich in sulfur compounds that have been linked to reduced cancer, improved blood pressure, kidney function and heart health. Cauliflower is also rich in anti-inflammatory compounds, several vitamins and minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients, and may boost brain health, detoxification and digestion. Find a delicious recipe for cauliflower rice and other no-carb cauliflower dishes here.
SWAP 2 slices White Bread FOR 1 slice Sourdough Rye Bread
This swap saves you 48 calories and 8 grams of carbs. Sourdough breads are made with fermented dough which contain tons of gut-friendly bacteria that have been linked to stronger immunity, better digestion and weight management. The fermentation process also makes the nutrients in the bread more available and the simple sugars in the bread less available, helping with blood sugar control. Some studies also show that sourdough bread is easier to digest for some people with IBS or who experience bloating, gas, or other digestive difficulties after eating white bread. One hundred percent rye flour is known to contain more nutrients and fiber than refined white wheat flour.
SWAP 100g Spaghetti FOR 100g Spaghetti Squash
This saves you a whopping 127 calories and 25 grams of carbs. Spaghetti squash is full of soluble fiber, so it will fill you up just like a plate of regular spaghetti – but you’ll leave the table feeling satisfied from far fewer calories. Spaghetti squash is also rich in important nutrients, like vitamin A and potassium. Find a delicious recipe for spaghetti squash and other no-carb pasta dishes here.
SWAP Tea with Milk FOR Tea with Lemon
This saves you 38 calories, 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of fat. The European Heart Journal reported that “adding milk to tea wipes out the anti-cancer and anti-tumor benefits” that other studies have associated with tea drinking. Adding a slice of lemon to flavor your tea instead adds a jolt of immune-boosting vitamin C, as well as other reported benefits, such as helping to flush out toxins, purifying the blood, encouraging better digestion and bile production, and replenishing electrolytes.
SWAP 1 Tbsp Butter FOR 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
While the nutritional values for coconut oil are on par with butter, The Journal of Nutrition reports that “1 tablespoon a day of coconut oil has been proven to give your metabolism a boost and reduce body fat.” Other studies have shown that coconut oil helps the body fight off harmful viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeasts and candida, and improves blood sugar and insulin regulation.
SWAP 1 Tbsp Mayonnaise FOR 1 Tbsp Mashed Avocado
This saves you 72 calories and 8 grams of fat. Also, the fat you get from avocado is the healthier kind, that has been linked to lower risk of heart disease and oxidative stress, as well as improved blood levels of fat and LDL cholesterol. Avocado is linked to health benefits such as better blood sugar control, insulin regulation, satiety, weight management and decreased inflammation. It’s a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin B6 and folate, and also improves the body’s ability to use other important nutrients like vitamin A.
SWAP Orange Juice FOR Infused Water
This saves you 111 calories, 26 grams of carbs and 0.5 grams of fat. While 100% orange juice contains some beneficial nutrients, a whole orange contains more, and can be absorbed better in the body without the blood sugar spike. However, you can still ramp up the excitement factor in your beverages by flavoring cold spring water with a slice of orange, lime, lemon, pineapple, strawberry or other fruit, along with refreshing fresh herbs like mint or basil leaves. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes before sipping, and you’ve got a refreshing fruity drink without any calories.
SWAP 50 grams Chocolate Chips FOR 50 grams Cacao Nibs
This saves you 36 calories, 26 grams of carbs, 3 grams of fat, and earns you 8 extra grams of protein. Cacao nibs are a less processed version of dark chocolate, as they’re simply broken up pieces of roasted cacao beans that have been separated from their husks. Just as chocolatey but less sweet, cacao nibs boast even higher amounts of the healthy components that dark chocolate is known for, such as antioxidants and the ability to stimulate feel-good chemicals in the brain. They also have all sorts of healthy features that chocolate chips lack, such as magnesium, fiber and iron.
SWAP ¼ cup Butter FOR ¼ cup Apple Sauce
Swapping out some of the butter in a baking recipe for apple sauce instead saves you a whopping 382 calories and 46 grams of fat! Although the effectiveness of this swap depends on the recipe (and it’s important to make sure that the flavors will blend well), you can usually swap out about half the amount of oil with apple sauce and not notice the difference in most recipes for baked goods. Other fruit purees that substitute well for fat in baked goods include mashed banana, mashed prunes, mashed pumpkin, mashed sweet potato and mashed avocado.