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11 Food and Drink Substitutes for Weight Loss and Health

Are you thinking more about your overall health and fitness? These 11 food and drink substitutes help me with my weight loss, and also have other beneficial effects for my general health.

I had a scare late last year that had me in the hospital for a few weeks worrying about my heart and my health.  In the end, untreated high blood pressure was the culprit.

I am managing it now with medication and diet, but it was a big wake up call for me.  All of a sudden, my health is really taking center stage in my life.  Part of that process is trying to manage my healthy eating plan in a better way. 

If you also have a concern about heart disease, be sure to check out my post on heart healthy food substitutes.  It gives lots of information about healthy eating.

I don’t know about you but, for me, trying to stick to a new diet regime when I feel as though I am being deprived is quite difficult.

Fortunately, there are plenty of tasty ways to substitute healthier and lower calorie foods without feeling as though I am making a huge sacrifice.  And NOT feeling deprived goes a long way towards helping me stick to my new healthy eating regime.

Some of these 11 substitutes only save a few calories – 25, 50 or so.  But add them all together over the course of a day or a week, and I find that I have saved enough calories to get that scale moving in the direction that I want it to move – downwards!  

Some of these substitutes don’t cut many calories, but they add fiber, or other healthy ingredients back into the diet.  It’s not all about the calories. Overall health is very important, too!

Try these 11 food and drink substitutes for weight loss success and overall good health.

These food substitutes are some simple ways to cut calories on a daily basis that will really add up over time.

Use Egg whites in place of Eggs

I love eggs, anyway, any how, and any time of the day! But egg yolks are high in cholesterol and the bulk of the calories in an egg lie in that luscious yellow center.  

A great swap is to substitute two eggs whites for one whole egg.  This can be done in baking, in scrambled eggs and even in something as decadent as a fried egg sandwich.  Even many Fast Food restaurants offer egg white swaps for breakfast items, now.  

I can make a mean omelet using 1 egg and 2 egg whites, a low fat cheese and a lot of fresh veggies.  That way I get the taste of the yolk but still save on calories while adding the veggies that are good for my health and make me feel full.  

A whole large egg has approximately 72 calories and 2 egg whites have only 34 combined.  (the bigger the egg, the bigger the savings, too!) Do this once a day, and you’ve saved 266 calories just from this swap in a week.

For other skinny substitutes check out this post that features over 100 recipe replacements.

Use egg whites instead of whole eggs

Make “ice cream” with frozen bananas

I discovered this swap last year when I made my own banana “ice cream.”  It’s super easy to do.  Just place frozen banana pieces into a blender with some almond milk, and cocoa powder, and blend it until it makes a nice thick consistency.  

Grate a TINY bit of dark chocolate right before eating for an extra chocolate taste.  While not the real deal, it does satisfy a yen for a frozen dessert nicely.  It has a great “ice cream” texture, tastes great and saves a LOT of calories over regular ice cream.

At 90 calories for a small banana, 30 for almond milk, and 12 for a cocoa powder, you end up with 132 calories instead of 260 or so calories for some premium ice cream.

That is a savings of 128 calories for each half cup!Make your own ice cream with frozen bananasTry Greek yogurt in place of sour cream

In the past, I have topped lots of things with sour cream – burritos, wraps, baked potatoes, even a heaping cup of home made soup.  

But those calories in sour cream add up fast when you are on a weight loss plan. Rich and creamy Greek yogurt has a tang and texture that is similar to sour cream but with a big calorie savings.

You’ll eliminate 30 calories for each 2 tablespoons and you’ll also get an added boost of protein and calcium at the same time, all the while getting the creaminess that sour cream would add.Use Greek yogurt in place of sour cream

Use Cauliflower instead of Rice and Potatoes

 One of my favorite food substitutes is to go with the “skinny starch.” I get it…we all love carbs.  

But both rice and potatoes also have a lot of calories (130 calories for a medium potato or about 150 calories for 3/4 of a cup of cooked rice.)  Compare that with 29 calories for a cup of cauliflower and the savings are huge.

Cauliflower is a great vegetable that can be mashed like potatoes, pulsed in a food processor to make a rice consistency, roasted to bring out its natural sweetness or even blended into a soup to make it more “creamy.”  Don’t knock it until you have tried it.  

I made a FABULOUS bowl of Mexican “fried rice” recently and my husband really loved it! Saving over a 100 calories a serving was just an added bonus!

Mexican "Fried" rice

Avocados and Mustard are great substitutes for Mayo

I have to admit. It would be hard for me to totally give up sandwiches.  But there are a few things that I do to make them more healthy.  

I use avocado in place of mayonnaise on some sandwich styles.  I save 1/2 the calories and fat making this switch and avocados have NO sodium which is a big one for me with my high blood pressure.  

On other sandwiches, I will substitute mustard for mayonnaise to save 60 calories per tablespoon (and I don’t need as much mustard.) I make this switch often on beef or ham sandwiches. I don’t miss the mayo at all!Mustard and avocados can replace mayo in sandwiches

English Muffins make a great alternative to Bagels

I like carbs for breakfast but they can be loaded with calories which can hamper your weight loss efforts.  

One of the things that I do to save some is to replace bagels with English muffins.  I still get the same “carb fix,” but making this change means that I can have a whole English muffin instead of a half bagel.English muffins in a basket with some jam.

Add some fresh fruit and a glass of juice and you have a hearty breakfast that will satisfy the urge for carbs.

Water in place of soda helps in so many ways

My daughter gave me a filtered water pitcher as a gift last year, and it’s one of the best presents I’ve ever received.  

Having the pitcher full in the fridge encourages me to drink lots of water. Do you KNOW how many calories are in a normal soda? 150 calories in a 12 oz can!  A

nd good old water? A big fat ZERO. Plus water makes my skin, nails and hair look better. It helps me to feel full (so I don’t eat as much) and I LOVE to drink it.Drink Filtered water instead of soda

White meat has less calories than dark meat

This is one of my easiest weight loss tips to follow, for me. I actually prefer white meat of both chicken and turkey over the dark meat.  

I can eat the same amount of the protein for less calories. You’ll save roughly 35 calories a cup for the chicken or 42 calories a cup for the turkey just by choosing the white over dark meat!use-light-meat

Applesauce can take the place of oil

I love to bake.  Baked good contain oil.  Oil has calories.  Get where I am going here? One cup of oil has over 1900 calories.

That is almost a full day’s calories! One cup of unsweetened applesauce has just over 100. Even if you only substitute 1/2 cup of the oil for applesauce, you get a huge savings in calories.

A weight loss plan does not have to mean no baked goods.  

I PROMISE YOU…you won’t miss it in the baked goods!!Substitute applesauce for oil in baked goods

Use Dark Chocolate not Milk Chocolate for your “chocolate fix

This is my personal favorite in my list of food substitutes, and one that I actually started doing last year.

There is no real big difference in the calories in dark chocolate compared to milk chocolate. In fact, milk chocolate has a few LESS calories. But the difference does matter when you compare the carbs.

Dark chocolate has significantly less carbs and the darker it is, the carb savings are even greater.

The most important reason why I like to substitute dark chocolate for milk chocolate on a weight loss plan is that dark chocolate is richer. It is more filling. I can eat a bag full of milk chocolate and be looking for another bag.

With dark chocolate, a little piece of it completely satisfies my chocolate cravings so I just naturally consume less calories. Eat dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate as a snack

These 11 little changes and simple food substitutes are easy to do, won’t make you feel deprived, and will add up to big changes over the course or a week or a month.

Don’t eliminate foods from your diet – if you do, you will just be tempted to “cheat ” later. Instead, substitute!

Just start replacing higher-calorie foods in your diet with lower-calorie alternatives that are still filling and satisfying, and watch the weight melt away.

Do you have some other food substitutes that really seem to help you save calories and also help you stick to a weight loss plan? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!spoon of yogurt and Brita water pitcher with words reading 11 Substitutes for Weight Loss.

For more weight loss and healthy living tips, be sure to visit my Pinterest Healthy Cooking Board

Fruit, juice, and scales with measuring tape.

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Kendall Rayburn

Wednesday 1st of February 2017

Love all of these healthy alternatives! Sometimes it's so hard to find item that are comparable to their sweet counterparts - but I will have to try the banana ice cream!


Wednesday 1st of February 2017

Thanks Kendall. I am glad you found the article interesting. Carol


Monday 23rd of January 2017

Me Too Adriana. Loving something good for you makes it easier to maintain a healthy eating plan. Carol


Sunday 22nd of January 2017

I am always looking for healthier substitutes and this is a great list. Love the avocado and mustard one.


Sunday 22nd of January 2017

Thanks Agnes. Try the avocado tip on a chicken sandwich. Yum! Carol

Amanda Simkin

Sunday 22nd of January 2017

You have included some great substitutions in this list. Egg whites can make such a difference, as can watching your sugar intake. But don't forget about the importance of exercising, either.


Sunday 22nd of January 2017

Yes, exercise is vital, especially as we get older. Carol

Rebecca Swenor

Sunday 22nd of January 2017

These are some really great substitutes for weight loss. I love the idea of using frozen bananas instead of ice cream and the cauliflower instead of rice. Thanks for sharing the substitute foods for weight loss.


Sunday 22nd of January 2017

My pleasure Rebecca. Glad you enjoyed the post. Carol

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