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  • LIFE CHANGING FOOD SWAPS

    When it comes to eating healthier and making healthy choices, every little bit helps. Small changes make BIG differences. As I mentioned in last week’s blog, the only way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. It is VERY easy to overconsume calories without knowing it. Calories add up quickly and the majority of people consume more calories than they think they do. Hopefully you read last week’s blog and have already calculated how many calories YOU specially need to consume each day. If not - take note to do it after reading this. Knowing your range of calories you need AND knowing how many calories you actually do consume (another step in last week’s blog, writing it down) will make all the difference in the world to helping you achieve your goals.

    One of my favorite tips/tricks to eating healthier is the “food swap.” Not only will these “swaps” save you A LOT calories but they are more nutritious AND still just as tasty. Just like calories can quickly add up, you can easily cut calories without sacrificing taste and enjoyment.

    Go in with an open mind with these swaps. You won’t know if you will like something unless you try. After all, it’s worth a try knowing you will save yourself hundreds of calories. Go to our good friend, the Internet to find a recipe will satisfy your taste buds using the “swaps” below.

    LIFE CHANGING FOOD SWAPS

    1. THE STARCHY CARB SWAP

    CAULIFLOWER

    Trust me on this one. You will hardly know the difference. This is a “don’t knock it until you try it” situation. The Internet is filled with delicious recipes for all things “cauliflower.”

    Steamed cauliflower for rice

    All you need is a grater or food processor to create rice-like pieces. You can simply microwave, saute or roast to create a light, fluffy yummy low calories and carb cauliflower “rice.” Playing around with taste through herbs and spices is part of the fun!! The texture is virtually the same, as is the taste.

    Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes

    Cook the cauliflower for 12-15 minutes or until very tender. Drain and discard all of the water (the drier the cauliflower is, the better) and add the skim milk, lite butter, sour cream (or greek yogurt), salt and pepper and mash with a masher. Top with chives.

    Cauliflower for pizza crust

    It is no secret that pizza is loved by so many people. Now you can enjoy family pizza night with ZERO guilt by switching to the cauliflower crust!! You can also use cauliflower for anything you would typically use pizza dough for such as calzones, pizza pockets, etc.

    KNOW THE FACTS:

    1 cup chopped cauliflower → 27 calories, <0.5g fat, 5.5g carbs

    1 cup mashed potato: 220 calories, 7g fat, 35 carbs

    1 cup rice: 200 calories, 0.4g fat, 45 carbs

    1 slice of crust: 145 calories, 2g fat, 27g carbs

    2. THE PASTA SWAP

    Pasta is staple food for so many people but we know that it is loaded with calories and carbs. Depending on how you are eating your pasta - those numbers can quickly increase. Even if you keep the cheese and other delicious fillings - by switching to zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash - you are saving yourself EASILY two hundred calories. Plus you are getting added nutrition from the zucchini and the spaghetti squash!!

    a. SPAGHETTI SQUASH

    Instead of pasta, spaghetti squash is a great low-carb and lower-calorie substitute. One squash will make between two and three servings.

    b. ZUCCHINI NOODLES

    Use either a grater or a zucchini spiralizer (very inexpensive) to vary the size of noodle and voila - you have noodles!!

    KNOW THE FACTS:

    1 cup of Spaghetti Squash: 42 calories, 0 fat, 10g carbs

    1 cup Zucchini Noodles: 33 calories, 0.5g total fat, 6g carbs

    -OR-

    1 cup of pasta: 200 calories, 0 fat, 40 grams of carbs

    3. THE GREEK YOGURT SWAPS

    This is a swap that has the taste and texture almost identical. Greek yogurt also has probiotics in it, which helps the body with such things as immune system function and gastrointestinal problems.

    Greek yogurt instead of sour cream

    A dallop of greek yogurt on your baked potato, taco, etc. and I challenge you to know the difference.

    Greek yogurt instead of mayo

    Say no to mayo next time you fix your tuna/chicken salad. Add some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice and be ready for your taste buds to explode with happiness.

    KNOW THE FACTS:

    2 tablespoons of greek yogurt: 10 calories

    -OR-

    2 tablespoons of sour cream: 60 calories, 6 grams of fat

    2 tablespoons of mayonnaise: 206 calories, 24 grams of fat

    4. THE AVOCADO SWAP

    Avocado Instead of butter on your toast

    Avocado isn’t just for guacamole!! Your toast won’t be dry nor loaded with saturated fats from butter. Plus it adds such yummy taste!!

    Avocado Instead of butter in your baked goods

    Hear me out on this. Next time you are about to whip up some brownies, swap the butter out with an avocado. Believe it or not but test a family member/friend - I bet they will not notice a difference. The brownies will not only taste moist and delicious but they will be lower in calories and cholesterol. It's an easy swap, too. Just replace half the butter in a recipe with avocado. While it may be tempting to do an even 1:1 swap, you'll want to refrain unless you like flat, pancake-like baked goods.

    Avocado Instead of mayo on your sandwich

    Mashed avocado is a great substitute for mayo on any sandwich. Both give some moisture, but avocado packs a big dose of vitamin E and GOOD cholesterol-checking fat.

    Avocado Instead of alfredo (cream or cheese) sauces

    Craving fettuccine alfredo but also wanting to stick with your fitness/health goals? Swap out the butter, cream and cheese with AVOCADO!! Simply blend together avocado, olive oil, and your favorite herbs and spices. You won’t be disappointed and neither will your waistline.

    KNOW THE FACTS:

    2 tablespoons of avocado: 50 calories, 4 grams of fat **and that’s GOOD fat too*

    -OR-

    2 tablespoons of alfredo sauce: 122 calories, 12 grams of fat

    2 tablespoons of butter: 204 calories, 24 grams of fat

    2 tablespoons of mayonnaise: 150 calories, 9 grams of fat

    5. BAKING INGREDIENTS SWAPS

    PUREED BEANS INSTEAD OF FLOUR

    Swapping out flour for a can of black beans (drained and rinsed) in brownies is a great way to cut out the gluten and fit in an extra dose of protein. When baking, swap out 1 cup flour for 1 cup black bean puree (about a 15oz can).

    UNSWEETENED APPLESAUCE INSTEAD OF SUGAR & BUTTER

    Using applesauce in place of sugar can give the necessary sweetness without the extra calories. You can swap sugar for applesauce in a 1:1 ratio, but for every cup of applesauce you use, reduce the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup. The applesauce gives the right consistency and a hint of sweetness without all the fat of oil or butter.

    *If you are on the fence with this swap, try swapping out half the fat (so a recipe using 1 cup of oil would use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce). If you can't tell the difference with that swap, try swapping a bit more of the fat next time around.

    STEVIA INSTEAD OF SUGAR

    The natural sweetener stevia is calorie-free and up to 300 times sweeter than sugar. Since it's so much sweeter, the swap will not be equal. I suggest finding a sweetener conversion chart online to ensure your recipe is on point. An example: a recipe calling for 1 cup of sugar should be swapped for 1 teaspoon liquid stevia or about 2 tablespoons stevia powder.

    MASHED BANANAS INSTEAD OF FATS

    The consistency is ideal!! Plus the bananas add potassium, fiber, and vitamin B6. One cup of mashed banana works perfectly in place of 1 cup or butter or oil!

    KNOW THE FACTS:

    1 cup of unsweetened applesauce: 100 calories

    1 cup of stevia: ZERO calories

    1 cup of pureed beans: 178 calories

    1 cup of mashed bananas: 200 calories

    OR

    1 cup of flour: 455 calories

    1 cup of sugar: 770 calories!!!

    1 cup of butter: 1628 calories!!

    These are just some of my favorite swaps that save A LOT of calories. I have many other swaps you can do to also save calories so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me should you want to know more!

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