5 Low-Cal Food Swaps for Healthier Eating

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First off, true confession – I LOVE FOOD! You know those quizzes that ask how many foods a person has tried? I pretty much ace them! I don’t have a delicate palate, and the richer the better when it comes to taste and ooey gooey goodness.

Here’s the problem – while my taste buds love this, my waistline pays the price.

In getting healthier and entering a weight loss journey that helped me lose over 60 pounds, I had to make some changes. Not wanting to make temporary dietary changes, I knew that finding the right long-term swaps was imperative. I had to find some substitutions that would allow me to continue with my love of food while I navigate weight loss and, more importantly, a lifestyle change of healthy weight maintenance.

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These are the 5 main swaps that save me a lot of calories without sacrificing taste:

  1. Eggs to Egg Whites – Skipping breakfast is never an option, and switching out eggs for egg whites is a healthy-eating boon. My go-to breakfast is 2-3 egg whites and fruit. For those with limited time in the mornings (like me), having hard-boiled eggs on hand makes this incredibly easy. Make a batch in the instant pot, peel, and place in Tupperware in the fridge. Egg white scrambles with any on-hand veggies are a tasty treat for days with a little more time or eating out.
  2. Sandwich Bread to Rice Cakes – Yes, there are low-calorie breads out there, but I’ve found that the crunch of the rice cake is a much more satisfying meal. Having two open-faced rice cakes also makes my eyes think I’m getting a lot more. My favorite toppings are peanut butter and jelly on a caramel rice cake or hummus on a plain one.
  3. Rice to Riced Cauliflower – Our household loves carbs! There’s no way I’m going to deny my kiddos or my husband of them; I also don’t deny myself of them. I just limit my personal consumption. One key carb swap has been switching from rice to riced cauliflower. Thank you, Costco, for the frozen portions at a very reasonable price. They are a staple purchase, and with a quick zap in the microwave, they don’t add any lengthy extra steps to dinner prep.
  4. Noodles to Veggie Spirals/French-Style Green Beans – Spaghetti is a family favorite, but I could definitely overindulge in noodles. Veggie spirals are a wonderful substitute. I haven’t found the inexpensive fix for these, and with spaghetti usually being a quick prep meal choice, doing my own spiralizing and cooking wasn’t going to be a doable swap. Enter a steam-able packet of frozen French-style green beans. Trust me, it’s tasty!
  5. Ice Cream to Freezer Pops & Single-Serving Cups – Dessert was another category to tackle. Scooping out ice cream can be a dangerous move when it comes to quantity and calories. Two swaps have turned around disastrous dessert decisions. Single-serving cups of ice cream provide a stopping point for overindulging, and freezer pops are a flavorful low-calorie choice too. Stocking up during the end-of-summer sale was a great way to keep enjoying freezer pops all year long.

As with any weight loss or healthy eating journey, it all boils down to mindset and willingness to make changes. Factoring in whether the low-calorie changes are temporary ones or whether they will carry over to permanent lifestyle choices is key for long-term effects.

While other changes and swaps were made, these are my top five that I feel really made a difference in kickstarting a healthier lifestyle that I could also maintain beyond simply losing weight. What swaps are the go-to favorites at your house?

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Lani is relatively new to Cincinnati, and after living in Columbus for nearly three decades, she’s glad to be back in the Buckeye State! Keeping all wheels turning with her family of five serves as her full-time job, but she stays active with her teaching background by blogging and freelance writing for several education companies. When she’s not stealing some time at the keyboard, she enjoys exploring all Cincinnati has to offer through the eyes of her five-year-old. Cooking, traveling, and binge-watching a good drama series round out her favorites, but some of those happen much more often than others!

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