Smart substitutions that will help you look better, feel better and slim down, too!
When it comes to weight loss, slow and steady wins the race. While complete diet makeovers can be overwhelming, focusing on small and simple changes makes healthy eating more manageable and sustainable over the long term. Instead of turning your kitchen, eating habits, and sanity upside down, focus on making simple food swaps. Below are some examples of food swaps for every day menu items. It’s okay to indulge, but even when you indulge you can make smart choices.
Instead of Cinnamon raisin bagel
TRY 2 mini–cinnamon raisin bagels
Why Trading volume for quantity makes you feel like you're eating more, so you'll never even notice that you've nixed 181 calories.
Instead of Nonfat strawberry yogurt
TRY Nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced fresh strawberries
Why Creamy Greek-style yogurt has nearly twice the protein of traditional yogurt; fresh berries add antioxidants.
Instead of Breakfast quesadilla with eggs, black beans, cheddar and bacon
TRY Egg, cheese and bacon on an English muffin
Why You'll zap 290 calories and 17 fat grams.
Instead of 4 French toast sticks
TRY 2 whole-grain waffles
Why Choosing the light, airy waffles will save you 202 calories and add fiber.
Instead of Apple-cinnamon instant oatmeal
TRY Steel-cut oats with 1⁄4 cup fresh chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon
Why You'll still get that apple-cinnamon taste, but you'll feel full longer—less-processed oats take longer to digest.
Instead of Cottage cheese (1% fat) with sliced bananas
TRY Part-skim ricotta cheese with sliced bananas
Why You'll get two and a half times more calcium.
Instead of an English muffin with 1 Tbsp lowfat cream cheese
TRY Whole-wheat English muffin with 1 Tbsp natural peanut butter or almond butter
Why Yes, you'll gain a few calories and some fat, but the fat is the "good" kind” and you'll eat less in the long run. The combo of complex carbs and a little healthy fat keeps your blood sugar on an even keel so you'll stay fuller longer.
Instead of Corn flake cereal
TRY Bran flake cereal with raisins
Why Just 1 cup provides you with about a quarter of the fiber you need in a day. (Corn flake cereal, on the other hand, has hardly any.)
Instead of Smoked turkey and Cheddar on a baguette
TRY Natural sliced turkey with roasted peppers on a whole-wheat baguette
Why You'll banish cancer-causing compounds found in smoked foods and add protective antioxidants. Plus, you’ll save on calories.
Instead of Chicken salad sandwich made with regular mayo
TRY Tuna salad sandwich made with olive oil mayonnaise.
Why You'll get a double dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fats.
Instead of Grilled veggie burrito
TRY Chicken burrito bowl
Why You'll lose 160 calories and 26 grams of fat—and add 4 grams of fiber.
Instead of Cheese calzone
TRY Slice of stuffed-crust pizza
Why The pizza has 410 fewer calories and 12 fewer grams of fat.
Instead of Corned beef sandwich
TRY Ham sandwich
Why You'll eat 55 percent less fat.
Instead of Crispy chicken wrap
TRY Kid-sized hamburger
Why You'll save 90 calories and 8 grams of fat.
Instead of Grilled chicken sandwich with mayo on white bread
TRY Grilled chicken sandwich with avocado on whole-wheat bread
Why Avocado has tons of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, plus cholesterol-lowering plant sterols. Whole-wheat bread adds fiber and 30 percent more protein than white bread.
Instead of Falafel pita
TRY Pita with hummus
Why The fried falafel has 203 more calories and 11 more grams of fat than the hummus.
Instead of Vegetable soup
TRY Split pea soup
Why You'll get 10 grams of protein. That's more than a glass of milk or an egg.
Instead of Buffalo wings with ranch or blue cheese dressing
TRY Shrimp cocktail with cocktail sauce
Why You'll lose the bad fats (in the dressing and chicken skin) and gain inflammation-fighting omega-3s.
Instead of Pan-fried pork dumplings
TRY A cup of wonton soup
Why You'll trim 257 calories and 22 grams of fat.
Instead of Shrimp tempura appetizer (3 shrimp)
TRY Tuna sashimi (4 pieces)
Why You'll get more heart-healthy omega-3s while also saving 11 grams of fat and 58 calories.
Instead of Half a cheese quesadilla
TRY A bowl of chicken tortilla soup
Why The soup has 60 percent less fat and calories than the quesadilla. Bonus: Its high water content will fill you up so you'll eat less later.
Instead of Bread and butter
TRY Baguette dipped in olive oil and vinegar
Why Vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which has been shown to make you feel fuller after a meal by stabilizing blood sugar. And the olive oil is better for your heart than artery-clogging butter.
Instead of Chicken cutlets sautéed in corn oil with a side of roasted potatoes
TRY Chicken cutlets sautéed in avocado oil with roasted cauliflower
Why Avocado oil provides more omega-3s than most other cooking oils, and cauliflower is loaded with phytochemicals that protect against carcinogens.
Instead of Steak fajitas with flour tortillas
TRY Shrimp fajitas with corn tortillas
Why You'll save 400 calories and 22 fat grams, and trade saturated fat for heart-smart omega-3s.
Instead of Meat lasagna
TRY Cheese ravioli
Why Compared with the lasagna, the ravioli is downright skinny—it has roughly half as much total and saturated fat.
Instead of Hot dog with a small serving of fries
TRY Veggie burger with 1⁄2 cup vegetarian baked beans
Why You'll cut 22 fat grams and gain 7 grams of fiber.
Instead of Spaghetti with broccoli, garlic and olive oil
TRY Udon noodles with broccoli, garlic and sesame oil
Why A bowl of udon noodles (Japanese noodles made from whole wheat) has 40 percent more fiber.
Instead of Meat loaf made from 85 percent lean ground beef
TRY Meat loaf made with white-meat ground turkey
Why In addition to trimming 100 calories, you'll save a whopping 13 grams of fat per slice.
Instead of Sichuan beef
TRY Moo shu pork
Why You'll lose 300 calories and gain 20 grams of fiber.
Instead of Fried Chicken
TRY Tandoori chicken
Why The tandoori has turmeric, an antioxidant spice in curry powder that may help ward off Alzheimer's disease.
Instead of Rice
TRY Baked potato, even better if they’re red potatoes
Why That spud has nearly three times the fiber you'd get in a cup of cooked rice. You'll also get 20 percent of your daily dose of potassium, which helps control blood pressure.
Instead of French fries
TRY Potato salad
Why Cooking and then cooling potatoes causes them to form resistant starch, which is a special kind of carb that helps you burn more fat. Make it even healthier by tossing your potatoes with extra-virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar and mustard instead of mayo.
Instead of Couscous
Why When it comes to protein, quinoa is the granddaddy of grains, with more than 8 grams per cooked cup. Drizzle with 1 tsp lemon- or garlic-infused olive oil for added flavor and healthy fat.
Instead of Tossed salad with iceberg lettuce
Try Spinach salad
Why Spinach is a top source of zeaxanthin and lutein, antioxidants that keep your eyes healthy by preventing macular degeneration. Get extra points by ditching store bought dressings and making your own with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Instead of Small order of nachos
TRY 1 cup chili with 1 Tbsp lowfat shredded Cheddar cheese and 10 tortilla chips
Why You'll still get a cheesy, crunchy dish, but for at least 300 calories and 20 fat grams less. Beans are a great source of protein and fiber, too.
Sweets, Snacks, & Munchies
Instead of Chocolate glazed doughnut
TRY French cruller
Why You'll save 190 calories.
Instead of Hummus and pita wedges
TRY Hummus with red pepper slices
Why Red peppers are rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, an antioxidant that may help prevent lung cancer.
Instead of Cheese and crackers
TRY Cheese and an apple
Why Apples contain fiber and quercetin, a phytochemical that may help keep cancer cells from multiplying.
Instead of Potato chips
TRY Blue corn tortilla chips
Why More protein and fiber, less fat and calories.
Instead of 1⁄2 cup chocolate ice cream
TRY 1⁄2 cup fat-free chocolate pudding
Why Lose 7 grams of fat.
Instead of 1 oz cashews
TRY 1 oz almonds
Why You'll gain 2 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Instead of Apple juice
TRY Phytosterol-fortified orange juice
Why The phytosterols may lower LDL cholesterol.
Instead of Hot chocolate
TRY Chocolate instant breakfast drink
Why You'll get half your daily dose of calcium.
Instead of Diet soda
Why Coffee's a top source of antioxidants.
Instead of Flavored water
TRY 4 oz grape juice mixed with 4 oz seltzer
Why Grape juice has resveratrol, which may keep your heart healthy.
Instead of Tomato juice
TRY Calcium-enriched vegetable juice
Why It has as much calcium as a glass of milk.
Instead of Strawberry shake
TRY Strawberry smoothie
Why Fresh strawberries have plant chemicals that fight off free radicals.
Instead of 12 oz skim cappuccino
TRY 12 oz skim latte
Why The latte has 15 percent more calcium.
As part of our mission to help you understand the ins and outs of nutrition we have created a guide on how to read and understand Nutrition labels so you can make better food choices. Check out our blog post and infographic here!