Skip to main content

Four Easy Swaps to Cut Calories

Avatar • Sep 4, 2011

Black Women's Health, Black Health

By Erika Nicole Kendall of A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss

For me, the hardest thing to do was giving up some of my favorite vices. I loved mayo. Looooved fruit punch. Loooooooved ice cream floats. I’m just not someone who likes the idea of giving up what I’d considered staples in my diet – yes, mayo was a staple… I even enjoyed a little turkey with my mayo sandwich – for any reason, until… I found something better.

I think that’s a key aspect of giving up bad habits – finding something delicious to replace it with, that has the added bonus of being good for us, as well. Granted, not everyone will face the task of full on giving something up… but I know my strengths, and I pay attention to my weaknesses. I know that some things compel me to ignore the concept of “moderation” either out of habit or simply because it may be what my tongue wants at that time. Sometimes, I’d rather skip them altogether than risk overdoing it in the name of “learning moderation.”

So having said that, here are a few of my swaps that make life that much easier for me, and prevent me from running back to my own bad habits.

1. Mayonnaise/”Salad Dressing”

Depending on your brand, it might be that sweet stuff that is something like a billion calories of nothing but oil and egg and cream and high fructose corn syrup. I gave up my mayo, and replaced it with different variations of mustard. Yes, mustard! Honey mustard, dijon mustard, regular mustard… you name it, I’ve got it. I use it on salads, on sandwiches, even in my marinades. The average tablespoon of mustard is about 10 calories anyhow and with such a kick to it, a little goes a long way.

2. Croutons

I always laugh a little bit when I look at the serving sizes for croutons, because they’re so impractical. The serving size is always something awkward like, “2 tablespoons or 3 grams.” Who measures croutons in tablespoons? And what’s more, croutons peek out from above the top of the tablespoon.. so does the calorie count only include the parts of the croutons that’s actually within the spoon or does it also include the bread that’s peeking out of the top? I don’t like things that are difficult to measure – that makes it more difficult to understand and gauge what it’s doing to my body – so I gave up the croutons, and replaced them with panko bread crumbs. Their size allows for you to measure them properly, a half of a cup is 100 calories (so two tablespoons is closer to 25 calories), and they’re crunchy enough to provide nice texture to your salads. Win.

3. Fruit Juice

I can admit it. Three years of dorm life left me with a sad love of, um, “fruit punch.” It’s not “fruit juice,” because it’s not the “juice of a fruit.” It’s “fruit punch” because… well, no one knows why. There’s no nutritional value to this stuff because it’s little more than chemical flavorings, sugar and water. But how can you make your own fruit punch? Grab some tea bags, squeeze in some orange juice, throw in some raspberries and peaches and mangoes (I sometimes use frozen when I need to be cheap), and then drop in your orange and lemon halves! Ta-da – not only is it beautiful to look at, but once you get the flavor perfect for your tongue, you will be much happier with your choice.

4. Root Beer Floats

I didn’t even like root beer like that, but paired up with ice cream? Aw, snap. What I do now is actually pretty extensive, but ice cream is not a regularity at all for me – maybe once every few months – so I treat it like it’s special. I dice up a few apples, toss ‘em in a pot. Pour in some cranberries, a tablespoon of sugar, and about a half cup of red wine (I always keep a cheap bottle of wine handy to use while cooking, anyhow.) Let it cook on moderate heat (maybe a 7 out of ten), and then mash it up with a potato masher (or chop it up with a knife, same point). It doesn’t have to look like mashed potatoes, but it shouldn’t look like fresh apples, either. Once I’ve finished dinner, I’ll pour my ice cream in a glass, top it with my apples and cranberries and maybe pour a little sparkling water over the top. Yes, I treat it like real dessert – I cook it while I cook dinner.

I know, I know… no one wants to go through all of that work. Cooking fruits, squeezing oranges, but the point of all this is two-fold: 1) become so excited by the good stuff (that you can make for cheap), that you no longer want the cheap and unhealthy stuff as much, and 2) know that because it’s so much work, you can’t eat it as much, therefore you don’t eat it as much. Besides, even if you don’t need to give up these things, you’ll at least see how to flip something into an opportunity to experiment and create something new. See how that works?

What swaps have you made to live healthier and happier? What swaps would you like to make?

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
14 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
JJ
JJ
9 years ago

Wow — love the fruit juice idea. I don’t have any of the others regularly but I have simply cut butter/margarine from my grocery list — you really don’t need it in a sandwich to be honest. Also stopped adding salt to my cooking in general, a lot of seasoning comes with a bit of salt, so I upped the ante on spices and reduced my salt intake.

Jasmine
Jasmine
9 years ago

Love these ideas! And the new healthcare posts! I need some motivation, lol.

trackback

[…] Next […]

veronica
veronica
9 years ago

I LOVE the fruit punch idea! I stay away from artificial crap and sodas anyway…but I DO just happen to have a box of Tazo passion tea…My 6 year old and I love it! A swap that I made about last year was to eat ‘flexitarian’ That means eating vegetarian/meatless meals about as often as you eat meals with meat. I have made my house healthier AND created some AWESOME recipes in the process! Vegetarian lasagna (sorry, I dont measure things, but use as youd like) ‑1 pack of ‘Simply Balanced’ Archer farms brand oven ready lasagna (TARGET) ‑1 pack of… Read more »

veronica
veronica
9 years ago

OH yea…the PASTA is 100 % whole wheat…so that plus the fresh veggies is a fiber kick in the butt! …not to mention the massive servings of vegetables…nutrients…and the LYCOPIENE(Sp?)
from combining tomatoes with olive oil. (olive oil aids in the absorption of this awesome nutrient when added to tomatoes…so next time try THAT in your salad with tomatoes…or just make a tomato salad with cucumbers and and drizzle the EVOO and some plain yogurt…I love that in the summer!)

df
df
9 years ago

when i’m craving sugar, i eat fruit (oranges in particular).…if i fall off, it literally takes 2–3 days for my body to get used to it and I lose cravings for anything else but natural sugar in fruit when I want sugar. Also i make green smoothies for breakfast and I don’t get hungry for HOURS…it’s awesome!

these tips are amazing 🙂

Camille
9 years ago

A tasty swap I do for mayonnaise is avocado. They taste great, contain the good fats, and are great for your skin!

BigSyd
BigSyd
9 years ago

Here are some swaps I’ve made:

Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes
Stringbeans for frenchfries
Fruit when I’m craving something sweet
Coconut milk for cow’s milk
Honey for sugar
Fresh beans for canned beans
Eating a fruit instead of drinking “fruit juice”

Le Le
Le Le
9 years ago

My swaps are simple:

Club soda (1 cup) and real fruit juice (only enough to taste slightly sweet) instead of pop.

Smoothies (just vanilla yogurt, ice and berries) instead of chocolate milk shakes.

Instead of apple pie, I slice an apple up, add a little lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and a sprinkling of stevia (or Truvia…or Splenda), bake on 375 until they get tender. If I’m feeling bad, I’ll crumble a graham cracker or a put dollop of lite Cool Whip on top. Not exactly healthy because of the artificial sweetener, but to me it’s better than sugar if used occasionally.

Jade
9 years ago

Swaps! Soy or Almond Milk for Cow’s Milk Fruit instead of fruit snacks or fruit juice Tea instead of pop Leafy greens instead of starches Greek yogurt instead of sugar yogurt (yoplait I’m looking at you) Whole wheat instead of refined nastiness Regular oats instead of ‘instant oatmeal’ AKA ‘instant sugar and too many ingredients’ Olive oil instead of butter (still take it easy) Honey or organic cane sugar instead of HFCS I also am a vegetarian so I eat a lot of eggplant, mushrooms, tofu, beans, seeds, and nuts. My food intake breaks down to 30% fats 30% protein and 40% carbs, but I’m training for… Read more »

Jade
9 years ago

HAHA! I’ve seen how people flame the guest posts. No thank you, maybe I will make a forum post, though. People seem less inclined to write cruel posts when their pic is attached. 🙂

Steph...In Motion
9 years ago

These are great ideas. I’ve been all over the mustard switch-out b/c mustard’s full of health benefits, but I need to try your fruit juice/tea.

My swaps haven’t been that creative. I’ve swapped sandwich thins or whole wheat tortilla for bread in sandwiches. And instead of fruit juice I drink V8 Fusion Light. Changes like these helped me lose 30+ pounds this year and counting.

Wade Schlensker
Wade Schlensker
7 years ago

Vegetarianism can be adopted for different reasons. Many object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life. Such ethical motivations have been codified under various religious beliefs, along with the concept of animal rights. Other motivations for vegetarianism are health-related, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic.‘”:;

Please do inspect this useful web blog
<http://www.picturesofherpes.co/

14
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Shopping Cart