Part of weight management is learning more about nutrition. Swapping common ingredients for healthier options can often be confusing, but it truly does make a difference. Just a simple swap between ice cream and frozen bananas for dessert can lower your calorie count by hundreds and forego added sugar. However, food swapping can be difficult if you don’t know what kinds of foods to work with and what ingredients are smarter.
Fortunately, many dishes can be reinvented time and again — even those we look down upon for weight gain. With strategy and a little creativity, you can turn almost any dish into a healthy meal or snack that benefits your body and brings you closer to your goals.
Try these Healthy and Simple Food Swaps
Save on calories, fat and more while loading up on flavor with these food swaps:
- Avocados vs. Butter – Just like butter, avocados give a creamy texture. But in favor of saturated fats, they add vitamins, minerals and healthy monounsaturated fats. Try them on pasta dishes, dips, desserts, sandwiches and soups.
- Low-fat Cottage Cheese vs. Cream Cheese – If you puree cottage cheese to work some of the lumps out, it has a very similar texture to cream cheese and is just as creamy! Cottage cheese also has less fat, fewer calories and more protein.
- Frozen Bananas vs. Ice Cream – Ice cream can be very difficult to sacrifice, but frozen bananas are a great alternative. Blend the bananas in the food processor and add in one or two flavorful ingredients like cocoa powder to get a tasty treat that’s hard to beat!
- Vegetables vs. Pasta – Vegetables instead of pasta? “No way!” you might be thinking. However, thin strips of zucchini (aka “zoodles”) and spaghetti squash that have been roasted and pulled apart make grand stand-ins for pasta. You’ll be foregoing the extra carbohydrates for vitamins, minerals and lower calories.
- Sweet Potato Fries vs. French Fries – French fries are timeless, but extra calories and carbs can sometimes make it less than ideal. Instead, try sweet potatoes. They boost your fiber and vitamin intake while cutting back on some of the bad stuff.
- Popcorn vs Potato Chips – Love crunchy snacks? Air-popped popcorn is a great alternative to potato chips with less saturated fat and 1/3 fewer calories. Try sprinkling in some sea salt or even cheese. Just remember — everything in moderation!