A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Weight Loss Wednesday: Light swaps to get started

on January 15, 2014

Sometimes it is hard to know where to get started when you’re trying to lighten up your diet. In our house, it’s been an interesting shift in the last few weeks as my husband has started using MyFitnessPal to track his calories and lose some weight. I’m very used to thinking about things in points and know the things I eat every day without looking them up. Helping my husband find the things that work for his day (and the calories of those things) has me thinking  back to the beginning of this weight loss and the swaps that I started with it. Making small swaps for the things that you already eat can be easier to maintain long term than a drastic change in your diet.

These are some things I’ve tried and kept in my usual rotation. In general, I’d suggest trying by mixing half of the lighter option with your regular option to start with and gradually upping the lighter proportion over time until you’re ready for a full swap.

– Plain fat free Greek yogurt for sour cream: lower calorie and higher protein, but very similar tastes in a lot of uses. We’ve used it as a topping for chili and as a base for dips to mix in herbs or ranch dressing mix.

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– Spaghetti squash for spaghetti/pasta noodles: In the beginning, I used this only in casseroles with lots of other flavors to mask the squashy-ness of the spaghetti squash. Now I use it with marinara all the time. It also mixes well with latin flavors and makes a good filling for enchiladas, burritos, etc when mixed with black beans, cheese and salsa. By itself, still too squashy for me. 😛

– Laughing cow light wedges instead of mayo and/or cheese on sandwiches: This gives a great blend of cheesy flavor and the creaminess of mayo with a lower calorie count (and 2 wedges are 1 point if you do WW). I use these in lots of things to get a hit of creaminess. I like this better than the usual advice to swap mustard for mayo (which also works) because I like the element of creaminess in my sandwiches.

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– Butternut squash for sweet potatoes: Not that sweet potatoes aren’t healthy by any means, but if you’re doing WW, butternut squash is free while sweet potatoes have points (and sweet potatoes do have more calories). Butternut squash is a great source of fiber and vitamins, just like the sweet potato and can work well in a lot of instances. The texture is a little different (softer, less potato-ish) but it works really well in soups, roasted or pureed like you would a sweet potato. I love it as a quesadilla filling, with cheese and black beans too.

– Beans or mushrooms for meat: Definitely start this as a half and half swap, replacing half of the meat in your chili or meat sauce with beans or mushrooms, both of which are higher fiber and lower calorie than meats.

– Corn tortillas for flour tortillas: These are much lighter and lower calorie than most flour tortillas and unlike some of low carb or lighter flour tortillas, they’re a much more “whole” food. The texture is a little more fragile than flour tortillas, so this will work better for a quesadilla or enchilada as opposed to a burrito.

– Powdered peanut butter (PB2) for traditional peanut butter: This works well for things when you don’t need the typical peanut butter texture, like stirring it into oatmeal or yogurt. Very low calorie, very peanut-y and still with the peanut antioxidant but not the fats (not that PB is necessarily a bad fat). It is just not the same for a PB&J, but then again, nothing could replace PB&J.

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– Salsa for salad dressing: Try it! Way lower calorie and full of nutritional goodies than a regular salad dressing or the weird light salad dressings. We go through lots and lots of salsa in our house. I’ll use it alone as a salad dressing or veggie or mixed with a little greek yogurt to have a creamier option.

What’s your favorite food swap? Now that my husband is interested in making some changes too, I’m looking for new ideas!

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2 responses to “Weight Loss Wednesday: Light swaps to get started

  1. Lauren says:

    I loooove Laughing Cow cheese. Sometimes for lunch, I will make an open-faced sandwich with the tomato basil flavored cheese on whole wheat bread with a fried egg on top. So good!

    I just recently discovered spaghetti squash as well – very yummy!

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