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.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.
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!
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). Marinade 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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