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Sunday
Jan172016

15 Food Substitutions That Fight Fat!

"I want to transform my body, but how do I go about transforming my diet to get there?"

It's the million dollar question among those looking for fat loss. 

In shifting our diets, we'll over time add healthier choices to our snack and meal lineups, but you'd be surprised at how close we can come to many of our former favorites. 

Enter the art of strategic substitution....

Check out these 15 better (but tasty!) alternatives to incorporate into your personal Healthy Way of Eating plan.

Smarter Carbs

Carbs and starches are a tough one for many of my clients. Most often these choices are comfort foods or even meal “staples” my clients expect and crave. Without them, dinner just doesn’t feel like dinner! It’s the perfect opportunity for  swapping out former choices with my all-time favorite healthy substitutions! Not only do each of these alternatives replace processed starches with more nourishing ingredients for fat loss, but they’re also delicious and filling in their own right!

Spaghetti Squash vs. Spaghetti Noodles 

One of my very favorites… Simply roast a spaghetti squash, remove the seeds, and scoop out “noodles” with a fork. You’ve got some tasty “pasta” with more vitamins and minerals than your typical grain-based variety. Add a little grass-fed butter and sea salt for an even richer flavor!

Mashed Turnips vs. Mashed Potatoes

Before you turn your head—I promise you won’t even taste the difference! Roast turnips and add in your favorite herbs and sea salt. Mashed turnips taste so good and offer less than a quarter of the usual calories and carbs your typical potato provides. If you want to be more adventurous, try mashing other vegetables such as carrots, plantains or even cauliflower.

Jicama Fries vs. French Fries

A perfect compliment to your grass-fed burger wrapped in lettuce, jicama fries can provide that crunch and taste you’re looking for at about half the carb content of your usual potato fry. Slice them up to your preference, and pan-fry them in a little coconut oil with sea salt. Yum!

Grated Steam Cauliflower vs. Rice

A new pairing for taco or fajita night, cauliflower rice is a huge hit in my household as it literally has the same taste and texture of real rice. You can either grate a large head of cauliflower or cut it up and pulse it in a food processor. Simply pan-fry it for 5-7 minutes with some coconut oil and your favorite spices.  

Coconut Flour vs. White Flour

Coconut flour tends to be another catch-all for me. It can be a great substitution in recipes for healthier bread, pancakes, muffins, etc. And because it comes from a healthy nut, it’s lower in carbohydrates and higher in healthy and essential fats.

Smarter Desserts

Are all desserts off the menu during a weight loss journey? Not necessarily. In fact, I often challenge my clients to indulge in them every once in a while. But for the day-to-day challenges of eating clean, check out these easy substitutes to satisfy a sweet tooth while providing ample nourishment.

Banana Ice Cream vs. Ice Cream

There’s something about a little ice cream while you relax on the couch after dinner! It doesn’t get any simpler than this. You literally freeze a banana and then puree it. I sometimes add a little dark chocolate or almond extract, but even served plain it satisfies my sweet tooth while providing a creamy consistency without all the added sugar.

Vanilla vs. Sugar

Whether it be in your morning cup of joe or one of your favorite baked goods recipes, try substituting vanilla extract in place of sugar. It offers potent flavor and won’t spike your blood sugar.

Canned Coconut Cream vs. Whipped Cream

Drain the can of coconut milk and separate the solidified cream at the top. Beat it with your electric mixer, and add a little stevia or vanilla extract to sweeten. You can use this cream to enhance the taste of your preferred dessert all while adding amazing healthy fats and avoiding any processed or artificial ingredients.

Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate

Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants—and it tastes rich and delicious! The trick is to choose the darkest chocolate you can (80% cocoa or greater) in place of any milk chocolate sweets and treats you usually keep in the house. I keep dark chocolate in the refrigerator and often add a teaspoon of natural almond butter to get a good and nourishing dessert fix!

Chia Pudding vs. Store Bought Pudding

Chia seeds are making a comeback—and for good reason! Combine ¼ cup chia seeds with 1 cup of almond milk and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Store it in a mason jar in the fridge for at least 10 minutes. Let it thicken and get ready to enjoy some amazing fiber and b vitamins versus a processed sweet.

Smarter Snacks

Snack ideas are a hot topic for my clients—whether it be something they desire in between meals or just something to crunch on when they get the itch. We can all agree that most “snack foods” sold in the grocery store are highly processed and are riddled with artificial ingredients, sugar, sodium and unhealthy fats. Reclaim snack time by enjoying healthier options with these ideas below!

Veggie Chips vs. Potato Chips

Zucchini, sweet potato, beet, radish, kale, etc….  They all make great, crunchy substitutes for your store-bought potato chips, AND they provide more vitamins and minerals than those processed potatoes. After seasoning thin slices with olive oil and sea salt, roast them in your oven 15-20 minutes, flipping half-way through. You won’t miss your old chips—or their effects on your waistline.

Hummus vs. Chip Dip

Choose your hummus wisely (or make your own), and keep the ingredient list short and sweet. Enjoy it in place of the heavily processed chip/veggie dips on the market. Unlike those dips, hummus packs some healthy fats, b vitamins and other nutrients that will fill you up fast and offer plenty of great savory flavor!

Greek Yogurt + Fresh Fruit vs. Flavored Yogurt

The yogurt aisle is ever expanding in our grocery stores. Although low-fat label claims can be appealing, most often these products are far from natural and are often loaded with sugar. Instead, go for a higher protein, full-fat Greek yogurt and add in fresh or frozen berries for natural flavor. This healthier version will taste great and not give you the sugar spike typical yogurt products will.

Natural Nut Butter vs. Peanut Butter 

Peanuts are considered a highly inflammatory food. Particularly with weight loss, reducing inflammation-triggering foods can be a game changer for body fat loss. Try substituting a natural almond or cashew butter to flavor up your fresh fruits and vegetables and to provide satiation with nourishing and natural fats.

Mixed Nuts vs. Granola

Granola is marketed as a healthy snack, yet it’s most often loaded with added sugar and highly processed ingredients. Instead, make your own healthier, lower carb, higher protein version with an array of nuts and seeds. I suggest using sunflower seeds, chopped up pecans and almonds and maybe even some raw coconut shreds. This mix will keep you fuller longer and offer your body healthy fats!

Want more ideas for switching out your food favorites and choosing healthier options? Schedule a consultation with one of our registered dietitians today! Thanks for reading.

In health, Anika Christ – Senior Program Manager of Life Time Nutrition and Weight Loss

This article is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor as a substitute for medical treatment, nor as an alternative to medical advice. Use of recommendations in this and other articles is at the choice and risk of the reader.

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