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When trying to make healthy changes to our diets, we may think we have to completely cut out many of the foods we enjoy. Unfortunately, cutting out the things we love often means we don’t keep the changes for very long. Swapping a high-fat, high calorie version with one that’s healthier is more sustainable in the long run and has the potential to positively influence your health.
Here are some easy, sustainable substitutions:
1. SWAP LARGER PLATES/BOWLS FOR SMALLER ONES. Studies show people will put more food on a larger plate. We often “eat with our eyes” and a small amount of food on a large plate makes us feel like we’re depriving ourselves.
2. SWAP SODA FOR BUBBLY WATER. The average 12 oz can of soda has 12 teaspoons of sugar and about 150 calories, and a 20 oz bottle has 250 calories and approximately 16 tsps of sugar (1/4 cup!). Bottled water has none. You can still get “the burn” from carbonated water and many varieties are flavored.
- Calories saved per 20 oz bottle: 240
- Grams of sugar saved: 65
3. SWAP HIGH SUGAR, LOW FIBER CEREAL FOR HIGH PROTEIN, HIGH FIBER CEREAL. Not only is the added sugar not healthy for you, the resulting spike and crash in blood sugar will leave you groggy and craving more sugar. Protein and fiber give you sustained energy and make you feel fuller longer.
- Grams of fiber gained per cup: 12
- Grams of sugar saved per cup: 6
4. SWAP A MEAT PIZZA FOR A VEGGIE PIZZA. Pizza doesn’t have to be a bad nutrition choice. Without the added saturated fat of the meat, calorie count and fat grams are greatly diminished.
- Calories saved per slice: 135
- Fat grams saved per slice: 4
5. SWAP YOUR FLAVORED COFFEE DRINK FOR A NONFAT LATTE. A grande Salted Caramel Mocha has 330 calories (more than a McD’s cheeseburger) where as grande nonfat latte has only 130 – a savings of 200 calories.
- Calories saved per beverage: 130
- Fat grams saved per beverage: 8
- Grams of sugar saved per beverage: 43
6. SWAP A CROISSANT FOR A WHOLE WHEAT BREAD THIN. A croissant has 230 calories and 14 grams of fat whereas a bread thin has only 100 calories and 1 gram of fat.
- Calories saved: 130
- Fat grams saved: 13
7. SWAP ICE CREAM FOR YOGURT AND BERRIES. If you’re craving something cold and sweet, go for a bowl of low-fat vanilla yogurt and top with frozen fresh fruit instead of a bowl of high-fat, high calorie ice cream.
- Calories saved per cup: 150
- Fat grams saved per cup: 14