5 Quick and Simple Food Substitutions

While losing weight and keeping it off is definitely a lifestyle change that takes place over time, there are small habits that can help get you started. First you must create a calorie deficit. This can be accomplished in several different ways, but the simplest is to change your diet. These quick and easy food substitutions can give you an edge in shedding winter pounds.

Instead of: Soda

Try: Water with Lemon

And eliminate: 150-200 calories/can

Most people buy a bottle (not a can), and most bottles list two servings per bottle. You could save hundreds of calories a day by cutting sodas out completely.

Instead of: French fries

Try: Sweet potato fries or baked fries

And eliminate: 300-400 calories per restaurant-size serving

Baking your fries at home can cut out half the calories of restaurant-prepared fries. According to the Philadelphia Dietetic Association, a proper serving should be around 2.4 ounces or 20 shoestring fries.

Instead of: Sugary desserts

Try: Apples, cheese, nuts, and berries

And eliminate: Around 400 calories/day

A healthy lifestyle is all about balance. You don’t have to cut out dessert altogether; just look for recipes that contain mostly fruit. Try to incorporate nuts, which are nutritionally dense and full of fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats.

Instead of: Potato chips

Try: Light popcorn

And eliminate: 120 calories/cup

While popcorn will never replace produce in a diet, if prepared correctly, it can serve as a low-calorie, heart-smart substitute for greasy, no-nutrient potato chips. You can get up to five grams of fiber in a four-ounce serving. Avoid popcorn doused in oil, butter, and salt, and opt for “naked” air-popped popcorn made with a hot air popper. Popped without any oil, this snack is only 30 calories per cup versus potato chips that will cost you 150 calories per cup—and who only eats one cup of potato chips?

Instead of: No-fat foods

Try: Low-fat or full-fat foods

And eliminate: unlimited

Jonny Bowden, PhD, CNS, compares no-fat foods to poison: “They’re loaded with the biggest promoter of weight gain on the planet: sugar. You have nothing to fear from fat and everything to fear from sugar, fructose, and fast-burning carbs,” he explains.

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