Be clever and cut calories with these simple food swaps!
We all have those weak moments; when cravings get the better of us and we give in. Just rest assured that this is natural and we all go through it. But it’s what you do next that matters most…
With a little imagination and knowledge you can still enjoy a tasty diet and stomp the most intense cravings without destroying your weekly calorie intake, or your health. And remember, just a few of these small changes can add up to make a big overall difference to your diet, and your results.
Any good dietician will tell you that you shouldn’t deny these urges as they merely become stronger. But you do need to be clever about how you respond to them. Thankfully there are plenty of tasty ways to substitute healthier ingredients for those high calorie foods, without sacrificing on taste.
Zucchinis for avocados
While avocados are packed full of healthy fats, they’re also high in calories. So, if you’re making some guacamole, which is made mainly from avo, it can hold as much as 200 calories per ½ cup. To cut back on the calories and not the taste try substituting half the avo with cooked zucchini. This will save up to 100 calories.
Banana for ice cream
Have a craving for some ice cream? The majority of the time it’s not actually the ice cream we’re after, but rather a cold creamy treat. So instead of giving into the craving, blend up a slightly thawed frozen banana until it’s nice and creamy. If you want the chocolaty version sprinkle a little cocoa powder over the top. A small banana is 90 calories where as half a cup of ice cream is 260 calories.
Some veg for all that meat
Freshly ground mince (no fillers) is chock-a-block full of healthy iron and zinc, but it’s also packed with saturated fat, which also adds calories to your meal. A clever way to reduce the calorie content and bulk up the meat is to add shredded or chopped vegetables (mushrooms, peppers, zucchini or some carrots). Try adding 1 cup of chopped or grated veggies to every ½kg of mince. Not only will this cut 30 calories per serving, but it will also make the mince go further.
Yoghurt, not cream
Sauces are a great accoutrement for pastas, roasts and numerous other dishes. While they may add flavour, they’re unnecessary added calories. So, if you crave a sauce-laden meal rather swop the cream for some plain yoghurt. Go for non-fat or low-fat yoghurt if you want to save the most calories. You’ll also get an extra dose of calcium while saving up to 30 calories for every two tablespoons.
Apples for crackers
Crackers are usually packed with sodium and unwanted calories, and that’s before you’ve added cheese or another spread. One apple meets about 17% of our daily fibre needs, and has significantly fewer calories. A natural nut butter spread on top makes for a great snack option – just use the nut butter sparingly as it is high in calories.
Author: Tanja Schmitz
Founder and Editor of Fitness Magazine. You’ll find her behind her computer or on her bike, dreaming up new ways to improve or create content for you.