Losing weight and getting yourself back in shape requires willpower to resist giving in to habits that can set you back. Dietitians often advise dieters on the distinction between hunger pangs and cravings. One is a physical need, while the other is psychological and habitual need for comfort. A craving will usually pass in time when you resist it, but hunger will not.
Knowing this distinction is important, because the key to maintaining a good diet is to eat only when you’re hungry. Since hunger pangs are a demand from your body (not mind!) for sustenance, you can effectively swap out high calorie foods with a healthier alternative, and still feel satisfactorily full.
Healthy Food Substitutions
Each of these alternatives can help reduce the overall intake of fats, salt, sugar and calories.
1. Whole-Grain Bread instead of Wheat Bread
Swap those slices of white bread with two slices of whole grain bread. Whole wheat, despite having a higher content of essential nutrients, carries a lesser caloric content – 69 calories vs. 75 calories of white bread.
2. Mustard instead of Mayonnaise
Switch the mayo on your sandwich for mustard, which has lower saturated fat-content and about 30 calories per tablespoon. Mayonnaise, on the other hand, packs around 90 calories per tablespoon.
3. Greek Yogurt instead of Sour Cream
Substitute sour cream with nonfat Greek Yogurt has a similar content and consistency, but packs lesser calories per cup serving.
4. Avocado Spread instead of Butter
Opt for an avocado spread instead of butter. Avocados are rich in monosaturated fats, which are called the “good fats” and are necessary for a healthy heart.
5. Spinach or Leaf Lettuce instead of Iceberg Lettuce
Spinach and lettuce are generally touted as ideal options for weight watchers. Both pack a higher fiber content and are jam-packed with nutrients like vitamins A & K, calcium and iron than iceberg lettuce.
6. Salmon instead of Beef
While both beef and salmon are high in protein content, super food salmon and other fish contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids – essential fats that play a role in keeping heart disease at bay.
7. Cinnamon instead of Sugar and Cream
Sprinkling a dash of cinnamon in your coffee or morning cereal instead of sugar. You’ll cut over 70 calories from daily cup of java. One spoon of cinnamon daily helps you maintain healthy sugar levels, and reduce LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
8. Nuts instead of Croutons
Instead of high-fat fried croutons in your salad, switch it out with a healthy sprinkle of nuts like almonds or walnuts which are a protein-rich source that can combat heart disease and lower cholesterol levels.
9. Quinoa instead of White Rice
One cup of white rice can set you back by at least 40 calories more than a similar quantity of quinoa. Additionally, quinoa has a higher content of fiber and protein than white rice, which has almost 15 times the carbohydrate content.
10. White Meat instead of Dark Meat in Chicken and Turkey
White meat will save around 45 calories over red meat, and has a higher protein-content.
11. Baked Prosciutto instead of Bacon
Baked prosciutto presents a low-calorie, low-fat alternative to bacon, has a richer flavor and uses a higher-quality meat.
12. Popcorn instead of Potato Chips
Try air-popped popcorn without any artificial flavors and save over 100 calories per cup. You can also sprinkle cinnamon or parmesan on your popcorn for some flavor.
13. Whole Fruits instead of Fruit Juices
Eat a whole fruit instead of a glass of fruit juice. Fruit juices, in general, tend to have a high sugar content and none of the benefits that come with the whole fruit: such as the high-fiber content and nutrients in the pulp and skin.
14. Frozen Bananas instead of Ice Cream
Kick that ice-cream craving by popping a banana or two into the freezer and then pureeing it to get a delicious banana dessert.
15. Sparkling Water with Fresh Lime instead of Soda
Quench your thirst with glass of Seltzer, and a lime or or orange wedge dropped in, instead of upping your calorie intake with the high sugar content in processed sodas.
Treat Yourself with Healthy Foods
Letting go of certain habits to be slimmer and healthier doesn’t mean giving up on taste and the pleasure of eating. These food substitutions are every bit as tasty, if not more. Experiment combinations, mix it up so you have variety and keep up with your daily exercising routine. Your body will show how well it works, and your health will thank you.
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