I love (read: despise) the sections in magazines that tell you to “try this healthy option instead of this unhealthy option to save yourself X amount of calories!” They always compare something delicious to something bland. Like, eat this fat-free yogurt with aspartame instead of this amazing chocolate peanut butter sundae from Dairy Queen, and you’ll get skinny!
I mean, obviously. I am aware that if I eat a plain veggie salad with oil and vinegar over a cheesy caesar salad with croutons, I’ll lose some weight. But they’re not the same! No matter how you slice it, the “unhealthy option” is always a million times better.
That being said, I have found some “swaps” that are just as (or almost as) satisfying!
I used to really enjoy getting a muffin from Starbucks or Panera in the morning with a cup of coffee.
It’s a comforting and delicious 350 calories. But let’s face facts: it’s a total piece of crap. It has 6 grams of protein, which actually isn’t bad, but it also has less than 1 gram of fiber. And it’s gone in about a minute.
And then there’s this breakfast:
One warm apple crumb Vita Top muffin with half a tablespoon smart balance, 1 tablespoon crunchy organic peanut butter, and 1 sliced banana (to dip in the peanut butter). 325 calories. 8 grams of protein. 12 grams of fiber. This breakfast takes like 5 times as long to eat as that Starbucks muffin, and keeps you full longer.
And seriously, not gonna lie to you – it’s AS or MORE delicious than that muffin!
SCORE ONE FOR ME!
I swear, it’s the small victories that keep me going.
I attempted another swap tonight, switching spaghetti and beef meatballs for spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs. While spaghetti squash is a great pasta alternative, I’ll admit, it tastes nothing like pasta. It’s crunchier and thinner…but it’s not terrible. And it’s worth the calories you save.
I used spaghetti squash from Trader Joe’s, and just as I was looking up how to cook it, I saw that the instructions were right on the label! God I love you TJs.
I used a cup and a half of spaghetti squash, 3 turkey meatballs from TJs, a half cup organic marinara sauce and a quarter cup of Daiya dairy-free cheddar shreds.
If I had made the same amount with real spaghetti, Ragu pasta sauce, beef meatballs, and Kraft sharp cheddar shreds, it would have been 730 calories. But my meal only added up to 340 calories!
So no, it doesn’t taste QUITE as good. But for less than HALF the calories, it’s totally and completely worth it. And if you can used reduced fat cheese instead of dairy-free like me, you can save even more cals. It’s worth trying, just saying.
Do you guys have good food swap suggestions? I’d love to hear them!