8 Guilt-Free Food Swaps

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8 Guilt-Free Food Swaps

March 20, 2014

For those times when you want to indulge a bit, knowing a few simple food swaps can be exactly what you need to stay on track with your healthy living plan and still eat it up! Here are eight uncommon food swaps that you’ll be surprised to try without the guilt.

Bacon

Most people think sausage is a better choice than bacon, but you can opt for four slices of bacon over two sausage patties to boost the protein without adding tons of calories. Here’s how bacon stacks up over sausage.

2 bacon slices - 92 calories / 7 g protein / 6 g fat
2 sausage patties - 170 calories / 12 g protein / 10 g fat

Nachos

Nachos may not be the healthiest snack, but if you’re watching a football game at home, here’s a version of nachos that you can feel better about—avocadoes over cheese. By choosing avocadoes, you’ll avoid the saturated fat found in cheese. Add a little cayenne pepper and cumin to the mashed avocado or a tablespoon of your favorite salsa for a delicious indulgence.

1 cup cheddar and jack cheese - 455 calories / 28 g protein / 38 g fat
1 cup crushed avocado – 234 calories / 3 g protein / 21 g fat / 10 g fiber

Salad

You may scoff at the obviousness of this one, but it’s not just the nutrients you’re swapping out—it’s the long-term effect of the entire meal. According to a study conducted at the University of Leeds in the U.K., eating a food that is associated with dieting can serve as a reminder to eat less. The study showed that when participants ate a 100-calorie salad first, they consumed 21 percent fewer calories of pizza during the entire meal, than those who started their meals with a 100-calorie slice of garlic bread.

100 calories salad includes - 0 g fat / 3 g fiber (4 cups greens, lemon dressing and diced veggies) 
100 calories of garlic bread – ½ slice of bread / 10 g fat

caffeine

Many people subscribe to a daily café latte without thinking about the calorie count, but switching to a café misto will not only save you money, but potentially a few pounds over the course of a year—and all without sacrificing flavor. 

Café latte - 95 calories / 6 g protein
Café misto - 55 calories / 3.5 g protein

Farro

There’s loads of information on the benefits of quinoa, but another ancient grain—farro—is worthy of some applause as well. With even more protein than quinoa, faro could just be the next super star grain.

1 cup quinoa - 222 calories / 8 g protein / 5 g fiber
1 cup farro – 200 calories / 8 g protein / 7 g fiber

Dessert

Check out this simple recipe: Take two overripe bananas and place them in a freezer bag and leave in the freezer overnight. When you’re craving some ice cream, put those bananas in your blender or food processor with 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring and blend until smooth. Add a drizzle of caramel (55 calories per tablespoon) for an extra treat.

2 cups of frozen bananas - 205 calories / 2 g protein / 6 g fat
2 cups of vanilla ice cream - 480 calories / 10 g protein / 32 g fat

Carbonara

A simple carbonara sauce can be made with one slice of cooked, chopped bacon ( chopped), 2 large eggs plus 2 additional yolks, 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino cheese, 1/2 cup English peas and a 1/2 cup chopped basil leaves. Add the bacon to a heat-proof bowl with the eggs, yolks and cheese. Add half a cup of your pasta water, peas and a half cup of pasta and mix well in the bowl; garnish with basil leaves. You’ll find it creamy like Alfredo, but it has twice the protein and fewer calories.

1 cup pasta carbonara - 384 calories / 16 g protein / 10 g fat
1 cup pasta Alfredo - 415 calories / 16 g protein / 17 g fat

Hummus

Adding more legumes to your diet can result a higher fiber intake, combined with less fat and fewer calories. Replacing mayonnaise with flavored hummus can bump up the taste factor and easily save calories. Keep a few tubs of hummus in your fridge to use in place of butter on bread; you can even add a little water to it create a lower-calorie salad dressing.

2 tablespoons hummus - 54 calories / 2 g protein / 3 g fat
2 teaspoons of mayonnaise - 114 calories / 0.5 g protein / 9 g fat

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