It’s easy to identify some food substitutions that will save calories. Eating an apple instead of a candy bar is a simple and logical one. An apple is more filling, plus its lower in calories and you get more nutrients. Learning to swap out higher calorie and lower nutrition food for better options is the core of healthy eating. Best of all, ingredient substitutions won’t change the delicious flavor of food and easy swap outs, like the apple, will satisfy your urge for something sweet to munch on mid day.
Creating a meal keeping calories in mind.
If you want to make a meal lower in calories and more enjoyable, add this fun guy, mushrooms. Sorry for the word play, I just can’t help myself. Thickly sliced button or portabella mushrooms are a great substitute for recipes that call for bacon and when chopped you can substitute them for ground beef or Italian sausage. A quarter pound of cooked ground beef has approximately 250 calories, but you can substitute 4oz—about 11/4 cup of chopped mushrooms for approximately 20 calories. That’s a huge calorie savings and it tastes delicious.
Make cakes and cookies lower in calories and higher in nutrition.
You can use applesauce fig puree or prune puree to replace up to half of the oils and fats used in baking. Dates, applesauce, bananas or fig puree can replace some or all of the sugar. The good news is that not only are they lower in calories, they come packed with nutritional benefits, too. Non fat plain yogurt easily substitutes for sour cream, too. If you have to grease a pan, use non-stick cooking spray. Slice angel food cake in half and layer with berries and a bit of low calorie whip. Top it with the same. It’s far lower in calories and higher in nutrition than regular frosting and tastes just as good.
Change the way you cook.
Fried foods may taste yummy, but it packs on pounds, is bad for your health and leaves the kitchen a mess. There are plenty of recipes available to get the same “fried food” taste without frying, but baking the food instead. You can make a gourmet salad dressing that’s super cheap if you grow your own herbs. Find your favorite type of vinegar, I like just plain apple cider vinegar, home grown herbs and sometimes berries. You can use it as salad dressing or marinade.
- Make your own veggie noodles/spaghetti from zucchini or eggplant with a spiralizer or slice them to substitute for lasagna noodles. You’ll lower calories and boost your nutrients.
- Switch out white rice for wild rice for fewer calories.
- Marinade with homemade broth. Bone broth is the best for your health. Bake the vegetables for a flavor that’s both meaty tasting and nutritious without adding oil or calories.
- Air popped popcorn is a great alternative for chips and far lower in calories, too.