Eight Healthy and Savory Food Swaps

Want to save some calories the easy way? Try these simple food substitutions the next time you whip up a meal.
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Eight Healthy and Savory Food Swaps

Want to save some calories the easy way? Try these simple food substitutions the next time you whip up a meal.

-Michele Bender, YouBeauty.com


Trimming calories from your favorite meals is easier than it sounds. And you can do it without giving up flavor or hunger-busting satisfaction. You just need to trick your taste buds with a few simple food swaps.

Spread on the avocado. “Instead of buttering your toast, spread it with a scoop of avocado and a pinch of sea salt,” suggests Marti Wolfson, culinary director of Blum Center for Health in Rye Brook, New York. You can also skip the mayo on your sandwich and use a few thin slices of avocado. The texture is still satisfying and creamy, but you replace the unhealthy fats with the good-for-you variety. Plus, avocado contains lutein—a powerful plant chemical improves eye health.

Make portobellos your pizza crust. Instead of using an English muffin or bagel for your next do-it-yourself pizza, try a portobello mushroom. Place it stem-side up, remove the stem and use the mushroom as the base for your sauce and cheese. “This simple swap helps you cut carbs and calories,” says Cheryl Forberg, R.D., an award-winning chef, best-selling author and the original nutritionist for The Biggest Loser. “Mushrooms also have a meaty texture and rich flavor and are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.”

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Switch your chips. Hit the dip with jicama sticks instead of potato chips and you’ll save yourself some fat and calories. “Also known as ‘the Mexican potato,’ jicama is a sweet, edible root that has 45 calories per cup versus around 137 per cup for chips,” says Forberg. It’s also brimming with filling fiber—6 grams—and nearly 40 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement. Just peel the jicama, slice it thinly and then cut these pieces into sticks.

Mash more than potatoes. “Mashed potatoes are void of nutrients while cauliflower is high in vitamin C and folate,” explains Wolfson, whose millet and cauliflower puree will make you forget the real stuff. Just heat olive oil over medium heat, add one cup of millet, stirring until it toasts. Then toss in half a head of cut-up cauliflower and 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock. Once it boils, simmer for 30 minutes. Drop in a roasted garlic clove and puree until creamy with an immersion blender or food processor.

More tasty tips up next!

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