Healthy Kitchen Swaps – 11 Tips for Weight Loss Success

Trying to lose weight in the new year?  Try these healthy kitchen swaps.

For many of us, the New Year means making a resolution to lose a few extra pounds that seem to magically appear during the holiday season.  But losing some weight does not necessarily mean that you have to just eat lettuce and vegetables. There are many healthy kitchen swaps that you can use all year round to make sure that those extra pounds won’t find themselves on your thighs and rear next year.Trying to shed a few pounds this year? Don't diet. Instead think "swap". These 10 healthy kitchen swaps can be used all year round to make losing weight much easier - For me, keeping my weight under control is about two things – moderation and smart food guidelines.  I find that if I try to cut whole groups of foods out when I normally love to eat, my resolution is not as strong as when I am just smart about my eating habits. These 11 healthy kitchen swaps will get you on the right track now and will keep you that way all year long.

Yogurt swap. Many people think that having fruit yogurt for breakfast instead of a high carb breakfast will mean that you are eating smart.  But have you checked out the label on fruit yogurts lately? They are LOADED with sugar and the “fruit” is often processed fake junk food. (and sugar is one of the first ingredients!)  Instead of buying this, use Greek Yogurt and add your own mashed fruit.   Doing so will make fruit one of the first ingredients and will give you a healthy, creamy and delicious swap.Helalthy Kitchen swaps #1. Swap out fruit on the bottom yogurt for Greek Yogurt and fresh friuit

Mayonnaise swap. I love sandwiches as much as the next person, but what about the spread that you use? Mayonnaise is loaded with fat and very high in cholesterol.  Look at the first five ingredients:  water, soybean oil, vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, and modified food starch! Instead of using mayo in your sandwich, take a ripe avocado, add a bit of lemon, mash it, and spread it on a hearty whole grain bread and add your sandwich fillings.  The avocado is creamy, adds a delicious flavor to the sandwich and is much better for you with its healthy fat.  Avocados do not contain any cholesterol or sodium, and are low in saturated fat.  They do have calories, so go lightly on your spread. Using a whole avocado is not what I am advocating here, folks!swap mayonnaise for avocado in a sandwich

Silicone Baking mat swap.  Any time you add oil to keep your baked goods from sticking, you are adding calories.  I use my silicone baking mat for just about everything that goes in my oven.  They keep foods from sticking without having to add oil and are perfect for roasting vegetables.  If you have not tried roasted vegetables, you don’t know what you are missing.  They bring out the sweetness in your foods and roasting them on a silicone mat is a cinch.  Don’t have one? Silicone mats replace parchment paper and are reusable and easy to clean. They withstand temps to 480º degrees F (250º C). Silicone mats can be used for all types of bakingMarinade swap.  We love to grill at my house and I am always trying out new ways to flavor meats and other proteins. Many people use marinades, but these can be loaded with sodium, fat and sugar – none of which are great for a diet.  An easy swap is to substitute a great tasting rub instead of a marinade.  My spicy BBQ rub is one that we use all the time and it works with any proteins and is DELICIOUS on steaks.   It is totally fat free and can be made with spices you have in your own kitchen.  Just spread it on the meat and grill. No oil, no sugar and no preservatives or chemicals.  And it makes a really tasty piece of protein.The perfect dry rub for all types of protein

Store bought tortilla chip swap.   All processed snack food tastes good, but most of it has way too much fat and sodium and snack dips are a diet no no.  Instead, make your own baked tortilla ships.  Just quarter whole grain pita bread, and bake them in your oven.  You will save so many calories, cut out most of the fat and they are very filling too.  For extra flavor, use some grated sea salt. A little bit adds a punch of flavor.  Dip the homemade chips into some salsa(also super easy to make) or make your own hummus with chick peas.  These chips are so much better than the store bought ones and also have loads of fiber.  Make your own tortilla chips with whole wheat pita bread

Diet Coke Swap.  I know, I know…you love it.  But take it from me.  I have not touched Diet coke since August 31 and almost immediately, I stopped craving sugar. I substituted water for the diet coke and have never looked back.  This one swap is one that I credit me NOT gaining weight over the holidays this year for the first time ever.  Don’t knock this tip. Try it.  Your sugar cravings will disappear.  One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was a Brita filtered water jug that my daughter gave me.   It makes water from my tap taste just like bottled water.  And drinking more water has been proven to help you lose weight.  Swap filtered water for diet coke to help cut the sugar cravings

Breakfast swap.  Many great tasting breakfasts are loaded with some form of grains, and cutting down on these types of carbs really does help in the weight loss department.  My healthy breakfast swap has been smoothies.  They are a fast and easy way to add a nutritious punch that will really stay with you all morning long. Here is a time saving tip:  Place your smoothie ingredients into individual bags in the freezer and add a few notes about what else to add when it is time to make it. When it’s time to make the smoothie, dump the baggie into the blender, add your extras and you are good to go!Package smoothie ingredients in single serving bags

Pasta swaps.  Pasta is full of calories and carbs and I try to really limit it most of the time.  Instead, try making zoodles. Zucchini can be cut into long noodle shapes by using a mandolinor spiralizer and can be substituted for pasta to make healthy Italian based meals.  Spaghetti squash is another great veggie to use as a substitute for pasta. Both make great healthy kitchen swaps.make healthy pasta with zucchini and spaghetti squash

Eggs or oil swap. I love baked goods.  And I still make them year round, but instead of using oils or eggs, I use unsweetened applesauce.  This lowers the fat, does not affect the taste and makes delicious baked goods, like my healthier peanut butter oatmeal cookie recipe.
Healthy peanut butter chocolate chip cookie

Sugary snack swap.  I love to snack mid afternoon, but having something sugary just makes my blood sugar spike and then crash and I end up wanting another snack and so on.  Instead, I use a hand full of natural almonds or other nuts.   Nuts are a great snack because they are full of protein, fiber, minerals, and good fats. I try to buy raw or lightly toasted unsalted nuts.  I find that this snack stays with me all afternoon and I’m perfectly satisfied with just a few.   This is one of my favorite healthy kitchen swaps.Snack on almonds instead of sugary snacks

Meatless Monday.  In our house, we try to go without meat at least one day a week.  Substituting beans and other plant proteins instead of meat for protein will save calories, add tons of fiber to your diet and is recommended by those who are trying to lower their cholesterol levels.  I love making hearty soups for Meatless Monday and my family loves them too!Consider having meatless Monday to help with weight loss

Do you have a healthy kitchen swap that helps with your weight loss efforts?  I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.  I’ll add some of my favorites to this article with a shout out to you!

Reader suggested Healthy Swaps:

Terri says:  My favorite swap is cooking spray instead of oil. In order to reduce the amount of chemicals, Terri bought an oil spritzer to help with this swap.

Suz suggests this:  My fave swap is experimenting with herbs/spices on salads and meats, and in soups, to cut down on salt and fat.

Susan O says: I love to make cauliflower “crackers” ~ a silicone mat would help so much with cleanup!  I had not heard of these Susan but love the idea!

Cynthia C suggests:  I would like to try the silicone mat to make kale chips for snacking.

Tarah says:  I like using silicone mats for the “green” factor. It’s reusable instead of throwing away parchment paper after every use!

Sarah Says:  My favorite way to use a silicone baking mat for help with weight loss is by baking root vegetables in the oven rather than frying them on the stove top. Itt’s a great (& delicious) way to add veggies to a meal.

Angelica has a great idea:  She says:  I love silicone mats! They’re great for my plantain-cassava rolls, they’re messy straight on a cooking sheet!

  • The contest for this silicone baking mat ended at midnight on February 1, 2016. The winner was Michelle H.  Congratulations Michelle!

Silicone brown baking mat

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  70 comments for “Healthy Kitchen Swaps – 11 Tips for Weight Loss Success

  1. 01/05/2016 at 9:51 am

    OOoo. I didn’t notice the contest the last time I was here! Entering now! My favorite swap is cooking spray instead of oil. In order to reduce the amount of chemical, I bought an oil spritzer from Pampered Chef.

    • Carol
      01/05/2016 at 12:18 pm

      That is a good one Terri. I will start adding some of my favorite reader suggested tips to the article as well. Yours will start us off!

  2. 01/05/2016 at 1:19 pm

    I’ve never tried a silicone mat, do you just place it on top of a baking dish before you put the food on it? What a cool idea!

    • Carol
      01/05/2016 at 9:22 pm

      Yes. That is the way it works. I’ve been using the mats for about a year and just love them! Totally replaces parchment paper.

  3. suz
    01/05/2016 at 1:37 pm

    my fave swap is experimenting with herbs/spices on salads and meats, and in soups, to cut down on salt and fat. i retired two months ago, and all your other swap ideas will be on my list for my new weight-loss program. would love to win the silicone mat. thanks for the opportunity to win. –suz in ohio

    • Carol
      01/05/2016 at 9:23 pm

      Great tip Suz. Herbs and spices go a long way towards adding flavor that is lost by cutting calories.

  4. 01/05/2016 at 2:53 pm

    I love roasting vegetables! Not having to use so much oil would be awesome!

    • Carol
      01/05/2016 at 9:24 pm

      Roasted veggies are one of my favorite. Just a tiny bit of oil works when you use one of these mats.

  5. Katy S
    01/06/2016 at 5:44 pm

    I’ve never actually used one. I’m sure I could find several ways to use it!

    • Carol
      01/06/2016 at 9:23 pm

      Best of luck with your entry Katy.

  6. Susan O
    01/06/2016 at 9:09 pm

    I love to make cauliflower “crackers” ~ a silicone mat would help so much with cleanup!

    • Carol
      01/06/2016 at 9:23 pm

      I LOVE this idea Susan. I’ve added your tip to my article. Thanks for suggesting it.

  7. vera wilson
    01/07/2016 at 7:44 am

    roast my veggie with a low cal. spray.

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 9:34 am

      That is my favorite way to use them too Vera.

  8. Cynthia C
    01/07/2016 at 9:09 am

    I would like to try the silicone mat to make kale chips for snacking.

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 9:33 am

      Thanks for the tip Cynthia. I will add it as a reader suggested tip on the blog post.

  9. Ruth McIver
    01/07/2016 at 9:10 am

    I never had one but I would like to try it for baking cookies

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 9:33 am

      I use them all the time for cookies and they turn out perfectly.

  10. christina moore
    01/07/2016 at 9:34 am

    I have never used a silicone mat, I love roasted vegetable

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 9:40 am

      Once you have tried one, you will love it.

  11. Tarah
    01/07/2016 at 10:24 am

    I like using silicone mats for the “green” factor. It’s reusable instead of throwing away parchment paper after every use!

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 5:06 pm

      That is one of my favorite features too Tarah.

  12. sarah peirpoint
    01/07/2016 at 11:31 am

    my favorite way to use a silicone baking mat for help with weight loss is by baking root vegetables in the oven rather than frying them on the stovetop. it’s a great (& delicious) way to add veggies to a meal.

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 5:07 pm

      there is nothing quite like the taste of roasted root veggies, is there?

  13. Angelica
    01/07/2016 at 12:24 pm

    I love silicone mats! They’re great for my plantain-cassava rolls, they’re messy straight on a cooking sheet!

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 5:08 pm

      I’d love to have that recipe!

      • Angelica
        01/07/2016 at 5:16 pm

        I use Paleo Mom’s recipe for dinner rolls.
        It’s a great bread substitute for anyone on Paleo, if you’re used to eating grains it might be an acquired taste though. 😛

  14. 01/07/2016 at 2:23 pm

    I love to use the one I have for baking.

  15. Taffany
    01/07/2016 at 3:21 pm

    I like to use lots of fresh herbs to cut down on the butter and oil needed to make things taste great.

  16. Debbi Wellenstein
    01/07/2016 at 3:39 pm

    I would use if for cookies-not sure how that will help with healthy eating! I would try roasting some root vegetables for a good winter side dish.

  17. Jeffrey
    01/07/2016 at 5:15 pm

    My favorite way to use a silicone baking mat is to roast vegetables from my garden. I can use less oil/butter because the food won’t stick!

    • Carol
      01/07/2016 at 10:02 pm

      Bet the garden veggies taste wonderful

  18. Michelle Coles
    01/08/2016 at 12:23 pm

    I actually have never used one yet but have heard great things about them!

    • Carol
      01/08/2016 at 1:14 pm

      I use them all the time. Hope you get to try one out.

  19. Rebecca
    01/08/2016 at 12:36 pm

    I would use it roast or dehydrate veg in the oven. We love roasted veg!

    • Carol
      01/08/2016 at 1:14 pm

      My too Rebecca. My favorite way to cook them.

  20. Claudia Davis
    01/08/2016 at 11:04 pm

    I have never used a silicone mat but used parchment paper a few times because I wanted to use less oil in my cooking (so as the item would not stick to the pan and absorb intot he food).

    • Carol
      01/10/2016 at 3:06 pm

      Hi Claudia. Either way works fine. The silicone mat just replaces the parchment paper and can be reused. Carol

  21. Wendy R.
    01/09/2016 at 1:03 am

    I don’t own a silicone mat, but I love the idea of them! Especially baking veggies in the oven on one.

    • Carol
      01/10/2016 at 3:07 pm

      Best of luck on your entry.

  22. Liza Vladyka
    01/10/2016 at 9:39 pm

    to be honest i have never used one before

  23. Darlene Carbajal
    01/11/2016 at 1:24 am

    I have never tried anything like this. I look forward to trying it!

    • Carol
      01/12/2016 at 9:48 pm

      Good luck with your entry Darlene.

  24. Charlene Drake
    01/11/2016 at 7:02 am

    If you use a silicone baking map you will be able to use less oil or butter. It’s easier to cook with, so you will be inclined to cook better, so you will be healthier.

    • Carol
      01/12/2016 at 9:49 pm

      Great tips Charlene. Thanks for sharing them.

  25. 01/11/2016 at 10:05 am

    I have never used a silicone mat – but the idea is brilliant! I may have to give it a try for sure!

    • Carol
      01/12/2016 at 9:49 pm

      You will love them once you give them a try!

  26. 01/11/2016 at 12:25 pm

    Great tips and some I already practice myself. I need to think about a silicone mat since i use parchment paper. thanks for sharing

    • Carol
      01/12/2016 at 9:49 pm

      I used to use parchment paper but have not bought it in months.

  27. 01/12/2016 at 7:35 pm

    Baking low fat cookies it’s best to have a non-stick surface.

    • Carol
      01/12/2016 at 9:50 pm

      I agree. They often stick on regular surfaces.

  28. Suzanne
    01/12/2016 at 9:52 pm

    Baking cookies that are low fat are

  29. Pat B
    01/17/2016 at 7:52 am

    It’s great for roasting asparagus

    • Carol
      01/17/2016 at 10:24 am

      Hi Pat. I tried roasting asparagus wrapped in bacon a while ago on one of the mats and it’s so tasty.

  30. Ashley M
    01/18/2016 at 12:43 am

    My recent goal is to use fresh and frozen fruits in vegetables to reduce added sugars, salts, and preservatives.

    • Carol
      01/18/2016 at 11:10 am

      Great goal Ashley. It should make a big difference!

  31. cyndi br
    01/26/2016 at 12:47 pm

    I do not have to spray with oil or butter so they don’t stick

  32. Lesley F
    01/27/2016 at 10:19 pm

    I have a recipe for Healthy Breakfast cookies that I like to make

  33. 01/28/2016 at 11:29 am

    I have never used one but I have heard great things about it

  34. laurie murley
    01/29/2016 at 9:28 pm

    I bake chicken on them

  35. Nancy
    01/30/2016 at 6:08 pm

    The silicone mat would be great for making baked veggie chips so you could use little to no oil or cooking spray.

    • Carol
      01/31/2016 at 10:43 am

      Great idea, Nancy!

  36. Cindy Peterson
    01/31/2016 at 10:04 am

    I see I am not the only one that loves using a silicone mat for roasting veggies.

    • Carol
      01/31/2016 at 10:43 am

      that is my favorite use for them too!

  37. patricia delgado
    01/31/2016 at 10:39 am

    I make mostly everything from scratch, not only is it healthier but it is very budget friendly. Silicone baking mats have many purposes and I’d be stoked to have another.

    • Carol
      01/31/2016 at 10:43 am

      I like having more than one too.

  38. Tasha Wilkerson
    01/31/2016 at 1:33 pm

    Would love to try roasting my veggies on one!!

  39. Jennifer H.
    01/31/2016 at 2:19 pm

    I don’t really know – haven’t used one yet.

  40. Richard Hicks
    01/31/2016 at 4:04 pm

    I have never used one, but would be nice for veggie roasting

  41. John H.
    01/31/2016 at 10:42 pm

    Never used this before.

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