Two hundred calories a day can be the difference between gaining or losing ten pounds in a year. Making a few small changes to your daily routine can make a huge impact with results that benefit you for a lifetime. Plus, all of these swaps offer an additional nutritional punch over the original.
- One of the biggest sources of hidden calories is beverages. They are usually packed with excess calories and sugar while offering no nutritional value. A Starbucks grande Caramel Waffle Cone Crème Frappuccino clocks in at 380 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 51 grams of sugar! For a point of reference, the World Health Organization recommends a maximum 25 grams of sugar per day for most adults. Instead, try the same-sized latte with non-fat milk for a savings of 250 calories, 17 grams of fat, and 33 grams of sugar! If you’re really feeling bold, try a grande Café Americano for a mere 15 calories, no fat or sugar.
- Another great beverage swap is seltzer for soda. A 12-ounce can of Pepsi will cost you 150 empty calories and 41 grams of sugar. Twelve ounces of seltzer has no calories or sugar. If you don’t like plain seltzer, squeeze in some lemon or even opt for a flavored version, like black cherry. (Also, concerns about seltzer affecting your bone mineral density or dental health are unfounded).
- Ever notice the skimpy serving size of granola is usually around a measly quarter-of-a-cup? That’s because one cup of the average granola has nearly 600 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 25 grams of sugar and no company wants to advertise these huge numbers on their label. Instead, fill up on a cup of cooked oatmeal topped with fresh fruit and nuts with a drizzle of maple syrup for a fraction of the calories, fat, and sugar. Get our Chia Maple Walnut Oatmeal recipe here.
- While yogurt is a food worthy of its own article, for “swapping” purposes here, I advise to opt for plain, reduced-fat yogurt with fresh fruit over fruit-filled yogurt. The latter has nearly as much added sugar as the cookie-packed kind. Regarding Greek vs. regular yogurt, there are pluses and minuses to both, so mix it up!
- Move over bagel. A Panera Whole Grain Bagel has 340 calories and 67 grams of carbs. Swap that for two pieces of whole wheat bread and save 140 calories and 23 grams of carbs. What’s even better is a 100-calorie whole-wheat wrap with 15 grams of carbs!
- Try swapping out zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash for pasta. One cup of cooked elbow macaroni has 220 calories and 45 grams of carbs. One cup of zucchini noodles, on the other hand, has only 20 calories and 4 grabs of carbs, and one cup of spaghetti squash has 30 calories and 7 grams of carbs. Need inspiration? Look for our September recipe!
- Try, too, mashing cauliflower instead of potatoes for a delicious, low-carb side dish. One serving of our mashed cauliflower has 40 calories and 7 grams of carbs versus traditional mashed potatoes, which can have 237 calories and 35 grams of carbs.
- When dipping your veggies, skip the cream-based dips and dive into salsa. Four tablespoons of salsa versus French onion dip saves you 100 calories and 10 grams of fat.
- When snacktime rears its head, try air popped popcorn over potato chips. Three cups of popcorn is less than 100 calories with 3.5 grams of fiber, versus 480 calories and 30 grams of fat in the same amount of potato chips.
- For a sweet treat, try our banana “ice cream” instead of regular banana ice cream for a savings of 320 calories and 24 grams of fat!
Remember: most successful weight loss doesn’t come from denying yourself food. Simply choosing a healthier option can satiate your craving and your appetite, and often with an added nutritional boost, too.
All nutrition facts from Starbucks.com, Panera.com, and Calorie King