Almost everyone that I have ever met has, at one time or another tried to lose weight. And, most people agree that the enemy of weight loss is the ‘ever present’
calories in our food. Yet eating is not only a necessity but it is also one of life’s most pleasurable pastimes. So, how do we continue to eat the foods we love and still maintain the weight we want? While there is no simple answer, low calorie substitutes are still a painless way to reduce calories. Here are some hacks to lose weight. You can now prepare delicious meals for yourself and your family and still cut back on calories. Let me show you some substitutes that could help you reduce calories without sacrificing taste.
LOSE WEIGHT WITH DAIRY PRODUCTS:
The calories in dairy products come primarily from fat. Whole milk is loaded with fat calories. So, use fat-free products or reduced fat dairy products to eliminate the excess calories, and lose the weight. When your recipe calls for dairy products there
are several substitutes that will reduce the calorie intake. For example, evaporated fat-free (skim) or reduced-fat (2%) milk (25 calories less than whole milk) can be substituted for evaporated whole milk, low-fat (1%) (42 calories less than whole milk), reduced-fat (2%), or fat-free (skim) milk can be substituted for whole milk. Imitation whipped cream (made with fat-free [skim] milk) can be used instead of whipped cream. Let 1 cup of plain, low-fat yogurt stand in for sour cream in your recipe and you will save a whopping 338 calories. Use “light” cream cheese or fat-free cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese, and
reduced-calorie cheese, low-calorie processed cheeses, fat-free cheese etc. instead of regular cheese (cheddar, Swiss, jack).
Low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) cottage cheese, Part-skim milk, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, and Part-skim milk ricotta cheese are great for replacing regular cottage cheese, whole milk mozzarella cheese, and whole milk ricotta cheese respectively. Lose even more weight by useing low-fat (1%) or reduced-fat (2%) milk or fat-free dry milk powder in place of ½ and ½ or whole creamer (liquid or powder). If you substitute evaporated milk or half-and-half for heavy creams in sauces and casseroles you could cut the calorie intake by 50%.
LOSE WEIGHT WITH CEREALS, GRAINS, AND PASTAS:
Instead of using Ramen noodles for your pasta recipes, use rice or spaghetti
noodles or macaroni, and substitute marinara sauce for alfredo. For your favorite cheesy pasta, substitute vegetables (primavera) for the cheese sauce, and when making lasagna replace every other layer of pasta with slices of zucchini or eggplant. This could reduce the calorie intake from 210 (for 3 slices of pasta) to 20 calories. Lose the weight with wild rice (18 calories less per cup of regular rice). This is an awesome substitute for regular white rice since it has more fiber and more nutritional value. Wild rice retains its texture even when fully cooked and can hold up well in soups and casseroles. This texture also enhances
your chewing pleasure. Whole grain foods are healthier for you, because they bring more fiber to your diet. They can save you calories, too. Switch to reduced-calorie whole wheat bread. Whole wheat breads have 21 calories less per slice than regular white breads and whole wheat pasta has 8 calories per cup less than regular pasta. Substitute bran flakes, crispy rice, oatmeal or grits for regular granola and watch the weight roll off you.
LOSE WEIGHT EATING MEAT, FISH, AND POULTRY:
Chopped mushrooms can take the place of ground beef or Italian sausage in spaghetti sauce. Use thick-sliced mushrooms in place of bacon and pancetta in pasta carbonara. The calorie savings of substituting 1 cup (99 grams) of mushrooms for 4 ounces (113 grams) of meat: 250 for ground beef, 314 for ground pork. As an entrée, a 4-ounce (113-gram) serving of roasted turkey breast has about half the
calories of a 4-ounce (113-gram) lean, center-cut pork chop The difference in
calories between whole eggs and egg whites is astounding. You can make most dishes using only egg whites. You’ll need to use twice as many — two egg whites instead of one whole egg –– but you’ll save about 40 calories overall. Vegetarian sausages made with tofu or turkey sausages are satisfying substitutes for any regular sausage.
LOSE WEIGHT ON FATS, OILS, AND SALAD DRESSINGS:
For regular margarine or butter use light spread margarine, diet margarine, or whipped butter, tub or squeeze bottle. Instead of regular mayonnaise, use diet mayonnaise or mustard, and for regular salad dressing use reduced-calorie or fat-free salad
dressings, lemon juice, plain, herb flavored, or wine vinegar. Try jelly, jam, or honey on bread or toast in place of butter. Use margarine on toast or bread. And, instead of oils, shortening, or lard, use nonstick cooking spray for stir-frying or sautéing.
When a baking recipe calls for vegetable oil, use unsweetened applesauce instead. It provides the moisture necessary to bind your ingredients together and gives your baked goods a light, fruity taste. Look at the calories you will save. 1/2 cup of
vegetable oil has 970 calories, 1/2 cup of canola oil has 964 calories, but 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce has only 53 calories.
LOSE WEIGHT ENJOYING DESERTS, SNACKS AND SWEETS:
Lose the weight by eating deserts. You can still satisfy the sweet-tooth cravings by using angel food cake, white cake, or gingerbread instead of pound, chocolate, or yellow cakes. Reduced-fat or fat-free cookies such as graham crackers, ginger snaps, fig bars, are a great substitute for
regular cookies. Use Popcorn (air-popped or light microwave), fruits, and vegetables in place of nuts. And, try frozen yogurt, frozen fruit or chocolate pudding bars in place of ice cream cones or bar, custards or puddings (made with whole milk). Sorbet, sherbet, low-fat or fat-free frozen yogurt, or fat-free ice cream can be used instead of regular ice-cream.
If losing weight and healthy eating is your goal, consider making some of these changes into your regular menu. You might want to make changes gradually so that your family does not feel deprived. Keep in mind though, that in order to lose the weight you must lower your calorie intake. This means that you must maintain or lower the quantity of food portions that you normally eat. In the end however, you will be happy to see the pounds roll off of yourself and your family.
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