There are some really simple swaps that you can make and healthy alternatives that you can choose to cut calories every day. You may actually enjoy some of these healthy eating swaps more than their high calorie alternatives and feel much healthier to boot. These swaps cut calories, but they also add many nutritional benefits… leaving your body feeling more full and satisfied for longer.
Swap avocado for butter, salad dressing, sauce & cheese.
The creamy and soft consistency of avocado spreads on toast just like butter and tastes even better (in my opinion.) When placed in salad and mixed up the avocado’s creaminess can substitute for salad dressing because it will get all over the leaves and add that extra nutty and buttery flavor. That same flavor can substitute for cheese on a sandwich and as a spread on your entree. I like to mix avocado with my grains for a delicious creamy texture. Not only is this substitute saving you calories, but it is infinitely more healthy than its alternatives. Avocado contains tons of healthy fats (vs. unhealthy saturated fats in everything else), is natural and unprocessed (unlike the other options), and is light and filling (instead of weighing you down).
Use zucchini noodles as an alternative to rice or wheat noodles in a stir-fry or soup.
Making zucchini noodles is fun… and not to mention healthy. They contain a fraction of the calories that rice or wheat noodles do but taste just as good when mixed into a flavorful soup or stir-fry. Using zucchini noodles is much healthier since they are a single ingredient, unprocessed food — they are just a vegetable that looks like a noodle! It would be hard to overeat these… so indulge!
Drink kombucha instead of beer.
Everyone knows that beer has lots of carbs and gives you a “beer belly.” There are 98 calories per 8 oz. of beer and only 35 per 8 oz. of kombucha – just beware of which Kombucha you’re buying. Some Kombuchas have much more sugar and calories than others do (they’re still lower in sugar and calories than beer though)! If you want that bubbly, beer-like taste.. Go with Kombucha.
Swap frozen fruit for ice cream or fro-yo.
Ice cream and frozen yogurt usually have lots of calories, lots of saturated fats and lots of sugar. But what should you do if you have a craving for something frozen? Walk past the ice cream freezer and to the frozen fruit section instead. Grab a few of your favorite sweet or tart flavors like cherries, mango, and pineapple. Thaw them a little so they can have that frozen creamy taste and enjoy just like ice cream… except you will have to chew a little bit more.
Eat fish instead of chicken.
White fish is usually much lighter than any poultry and has at least 30% less calories per serving. If you choose a white fish that’s not fried, you’re almost guaranteed to consume less calories for the same amount of food than chicken.
Choose rice cakes as instead of bread.
One rice cake has just 60 calories or less and is made with rice and sea salt. It’s far less processed than most breads that are available on the market and has less calories and preservatives.
Choose the steamed, grilled, baked, or boiled version as the healthy alternative of anything fried.
Frying adds tons of calories and depending on what kind of oil the food is fried in, unhealthy fats. If you’re at a restaurant, the easiest swap you can make to cut calories is instead of getting anything fried, ask for it to be prepared in a healthier way… or just choose a dish that is prepared that way from the start!
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Jon Pearlman is a former standout tennis player at Harvard, ATP-ranked touring pro, and author of The Lean Body Manual. He founded Mission Lean to share his unique formula for lean body fitness and nutrition, an approach that took over a decade to develop and perfect. He is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist.