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10 Healthy Swaps for Your Favorite Foods

Healthy eating can be enjoyable too—just by making a few simple changes.

Healthy food swaps, zucchini spiral noodles

It’s a universal truth that trying to eat healthy and lose weight in a world full of pizza, French fries, and ice cream can be utterly devastating (and not to mention difficult). But there is a way to eat healthier and still get those delicious flavors that you love.

Here are ten healthy food swaps for your favorite foods that will cut calories and keep you on track to reaching your healthy lifestyle goals.

1. Ditch the bun

Everybody loves cheeseburgers. And you can still eat one when you’re trying to eat healthier. If you simply switch out your cheeseburger bun with some crisp iceberg or green leaf lettuce, you can have all the toppings you want on your cheeseburger without the extra calories and carbs.

2. Go for whole-grain carbs

It may seem like white bread, pasta, or rice is the only thing that can satisfy your taste buds, but it’s not. Brown rice, whole-grain pasta, tortillas, and bread might have a tiny difference in texture than refined carbs, but they don’t differ much in flavor. When you eat whole-grain foods, you get much more fiber, which fills you up faster and keeps you full longer.

3. Cauliflower is your new bestie

No matter how skeptical you might be, cauliflower does taste good when it’s turned into pizza crust. Cauliflower is a very versatile vegetable. With the right recipes, it can become its own version of rice, bread, tater tots, mashed potatoes, and so much more—the possibilities for saved calories and satisfied taste buds are endless.

4. Break up with fried foods

Whether you’re cooking at home or eating at a restaurant, grilled or baked foods always beat fried foods in the calories department. However, if you’re not completely ready to give up your fried chicken, air fryers are becoming increasingly popular. These allow you to fry your favorite foods with a tiny bit of oil and a lot of air, which reduces calories by up to 80%.

5. Reach for the dark chocolate

Dark chocolate has half the sugar of milk chocolate and may reduce your cravings for sweets later in the day. Make the switch from milk to dark and soon you might not notice a big difference between the two types of chocolate.

Related: Healthy Cooking Techniques and Substitutions

6. Try zoodles

If you’re looking to cut carbs or sneak in some extra veggies, try using a spiralizer to make zucchini, sweet potato, or even carrot noodles. Once you top these noodles with your favorite pasta sauce, you won’t be able to tell a difference.

7. Be wary of dressings and condiments

You can unknowingly stack on calories to your sandwich or salad just by adding condiments that are high in fat and calories. But, there are plenty of delicious swaps that are half the calories of normal condiments. For example, swap mustard for mayo. And instead of using that classic ranch on your chicken salad, try a ranch made from Greek yogurt instead.

8. Buy the right ice cream

Ice cream is a staple in the American diet. Thankfully there are healthier options to choose from in the frozen food section these days. Look for lower calorie or sugar-free ice creams. They might sound unappetizing, but they really do deliver quality flavor without all the fat and calories.

9. Gain a taste for turkey

A vast majority of recipes that call for ground beef can be just as appetizing with ground turkey. Turkey has less fat than beef and the same amount of protein. Once you switch your meatloaf recipe to turkey loaf, even your pickiest kids probably won’t notice the difference.

10. Choose fruits and veggies

Regardless of what snack you’re craving, you can’t go wrong with choosing these instead. If you’re not a fruit or veggie person, experiment until you find what you like. Dip your apples in peanut butter if you’re wanting something sweet, or smother your carrots in garlic hummus instead of reaching for a bag of chips.

Find what food swaps work for you and stick with it. You’ll avoid added fat, sugar, and calories by making smarter choices.

While you’re here, check out our other articles on healthy living. For information on our medical and dental plans, visit selecthealth.org/plans.

SelectHealth may link to other websites for your convenience. SelectHealth does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the SelectHealth site, unless explicitly stated.

The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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Post Author

Chakell Wardleigh
Chakell has a B.A. in English and is a magazine editor. She enjoys exercising, laughing with family and friends, and online shopping. She strives to be as versatile as cauliflower, which she often turns into pizza.