By Martin Ebner
With so many modern day “crash diets” encouraging people to cut out entire food groups from their diets in order to lose weight, you may well feel that a crash diet is the only way to shed a few pounds. Thankfully there is a simpler, less painful solution - food substitutions. By making smarter food choices, you can cut down on calories almost effortlessly whilst still enjoying a variety of delicious and healthy foods.
Here are just some of the great food substitutes for weight loss:
Eat whole grains instead of refined
I feel sorry for Carbohydrates. Ever since the creation of the Atkins diet, all carbs have been lumped into the same food category and branded weight loss enemy number 1. The truth is, not all carbohydrates are evil and the way the body digests and coverts the different carbohydrates into energy is very different.
While almost equal in terms of calories and carbohydrates, whole grains, thanks to their high fibre and protein content are digested more slowly than refined carbohydrates. The result is a sustained release of energy and a higher level of satiety, not the brief "high" followed by a sudden crash and an appetite for more associated with refined carbohydrates.
When given the choice, opt for wholegrain rice, bread, and pasta over refined.
Eat popcorn instead of crisps
Popcorn is a fantastic replacement for crisps or chips depending on where you live in the world. Not only is popcorn fun to prepare, it’s a delicious whole grain snack. It’s higher in fibre and lower in calories and fat than crips meaning you get to eat more guilt-free.
Note: Always buy air-popped popcorn where possible. Popcorn drowned in butter, sugar, and salt will do little for your waistline.
Eat a serving of Almonds instead of a Protein bar
Just because it contains protein, doesn't make it good for you! Most protein bars contain a long list of additives and added sugar to give it some much-needed flavour. Nuts, on the other hand, are nature's little miracles. Although high in calories and fat, they taste great, contain fibre and protein making them a great snack to keep you feeling full between meals.
Eat porridge instead of granola
Granola, while delicious and satisfying is a very calorie dense food. Often swimming in added sugar and dried fruit aka more sugar, if you’re not careful with portion control you could easily eat your way through half of your daily calorie requirements from a single bowl. Instead, eat porridge. It’s high in fibre, low in sugar, fills you up and provides a sustained release of energy. It really is the perfect food to start your day!
If you find oatmeal a little bland, spice it up cinnamon, add a pinch of salt or top with a dollop of honey, greek yogurt or fresh fruit.
Drink Americano instead of a Latte
While coffee has almost zero calories, a full-fat large latte from Starbucks packs a whopping 230 calories, 12g of fat and 18g of sugar. So heavy in fact that if you swap your daily latte with an Americano, you can save up to 230 calories a day which can equate to almost 2lbs weight loss a month!
Eat spinach instead of iceberg lettuce with your salad
Admittedly, iceberg lettuce is green, has close to no calories and is considered a vegetable. However, it has very little nutrition when compared to one of the world's healthiest foods - Spinach. Spinach is packed full of iron, magnesium, folate and vitamins which can help keep your metabolism healthy, something that’s especially important when trying to lose weight.
Eat butternut squash instead of potatoes
Butternut squash is not only delicious, it’s packed full of vitamins and fibre, Much lower in carbs and calories (Around 1/3) than spuds. It’s a no-brainer.
Eat Zucchini spirals instead of regular pasta
Pasta is a tough one to substitute but zucchini spirals stand up to the challenge. Fat-free and at around 1/3 of the calories, it really is a fantastic alternative to regular pasta. Zucchini is also a great source of potassium and folate, both of which help keep your eyes healthy. Not exactly weight loss related but a nice added bonus!
Eat mashed avocado instead of Mayonnaise
As if you needed another reason to eat avocado. The most hashtagged food of 2016, It seems the world has gone Avocado crazy. Absolutely delicious, Rich in vitamin E and monounsaturated fats, just half an avocado provides one of your 5 a day. You’d have to be crazy not to opt for mashed avocado spread over Mayo on your next sandwich.
Eat fresh goat's cheese or feta instead of Low-fat cheese
Asides from being full of additives and preservatives, low-fat cheese tends to taste a little bland. Goat's cheese and feta, on the other hand, taste great and contain Linoleic acid (CLA) - a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid which has been shown to help the body burn more fat.
Eat mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potato
I almost feel sorry for Potatoes, here’s yet another weight loss replacement for the infamous spud. Cauliflower with its high levels of vitamin C has almost ¼ of the calories than regular potatoes. A simple choice with big benefits!
Eat extra-virgin olive oil instead of Butter
Admittedly both contain a lot of fat and calories. However, not all fats are created equally and while butter does taste great, it’s full of saturated fat, a big no-no for not only health reasons but for weight loss too. Olive oil, on the other hand, contains healthy unsaturated fats and has been shown to promote higher levels of satiety which prevents overeating.
There you have it, folks. With just a few simple yet delicious substitutions to your diet, you can reduce your calorie consumption and enjoy weight loss on a full stomach. Happy eating!
For a tailor-made diet, contact Ebylife today.