Overhauling your diet can certainly help you shed pounds, but so can making small changes in the ingredients you choose. Here are a few substitutions that will help you keep your calorie consumption in check.
1. Substitute Greek yogurt for sour cream
This swap is hardly a secret, but attention to the details adds a whole new layer to the choice. Greek yogurt and sour cream both come in low-fat and no-fat varieties, so the number of calories you’re shaving off will depend on what variety of sour cream you replace and what variety of Greek yogurt you use to replace it.
According to LIVESTRONG, a cup of fullfat sour cream has roughly 492 calories and a cup of reduced fat sour cream has roughly 416 calories. A cup of full-fat Greek yogurt has around 300 calories, while nonfat Greek yogurt has only 133 calories. So, depending on what you’re swapping for what, you could cut 355 calories / cup with this trick!
2. Substitute applesauce for butter
This tip is for baking ONLY – we do not recommend that you put applesauce on your popcorn. When baking, substitute half the amount of butter for the same amount of applesauce. For example, if a recipe calls for a cup of butter, use half a cup of butter and half a cup of applesauce.
This swap will make baked goods less flaky, but more dense and moist. The substitution is ideal for breads, brownies and other dense treats but less ideal for recipes like shortbread cookies that depend on butter for their flaky texture.
When it works though, this substitute is powerful: butter contains roughly 1,627 calories per cup while applesauce contains only 166 per cup.
3. Substitute nutritional yeast for cheese
Non-vegans are quickly catching on to the “miracle” food that their dairy-free friends have been enjoying for awhile: nutritional yeast.
Nutritional yeast comes in powdered and flaked form. It’s grown on molasses and then harvested, washed, dried and deactivated with heat. This stuff is low in fat, gluten-free and has a taste described as “cheesy,” “nutty,” “savory” and “umami.”
Nutritional yeast can be used on top of pasta as a substitute for parmesan, as the base for dairy-free mac and cheese, or folded into mashed potatoes for a flavor boost.
While the exact calorie count varies from brand to brand, on average two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains 60 calories full of fiber and protein. How many calories you save will depend, of course, on what the nutritional yeast is subbing in for. Regardless of the calorie count, choosing nutritional yeast over cheeses will reduce your fat intake and boost your consumption of important amino acids.
4. Substitute squash for pasta
This trick has gained popularity quickly for a reason: it’s a great way to cut calories. One cup of pasta (white, not wheat) contains roughly 220 calories, while a cup of cooked spaghetti squash contains only 42 calories. A cup of zucchini noodles contains only 20 calories! That’s a major cut in calories for pasta lovers.
Remember that small changes can make a big difference, and try out a substitution or two to make your lifestyle a little healthier.
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