8 Simple Food Swaps That Save Calories

Improving your food choices and quality doesn’t need to be difficult.

As a dietitian, I have always used the mantra ‘it’s what you do on a daily basis that matters’ – in other words, small changes or simple food swaps can all add up to large improvements over time.

Whether you’re trying to cut back your intake of saturated fat, added sugars or overall calories, here are some simple ideas to get you thinking.

1. Potato chips for popcorn

For a high-fibre snack that packs a tasty punch without the calories, air-popped popcorn is just under half the calories for the same weight of plain salted potato chips.

2. ‘Fancy’ yoghurt for plain Greek

Always a contentious issue, yoghurt choice can make a huge difference on your daily calorie quota.

Many modern yoghurts are becoming more like desserts and are higher in fat than full-fat milk, meaning cream has been added to provide a richer taste. Many are also laden with sugar.

Aim to be mindful of portion size and preferably go with natural yoghurt, and sweeten yourself with fruit or a drizzle of honey.

Also read: Top 10 Snacks to Have in Your Desk Drawer

3. Latte for long black

Replace your daily latte with a long black, and if you still fancy a bit of luxury, add a splash of full-fat milk.

Making this simple swap can save you nearly 1,000 calories per week!

4. Bread roll for a mountain wrap

Unfortunately many bread rolls are so huge, they overpower the balance of nutrients.

Mountain bread or thin, small wraps offer the opportunity to fill up on salads and lean meats, with a little wholegrain goodness too.

5. Cream for evaporated milk

Making this switch can enhance protein, lower saturated fat and greatly reduce calories in your homemade curries, soups and desserts.

6. Mayo for hummus, Greek yoghurt, mustard OR avocado

Condiments are often not needed if you have moist ingredients.

However, if you are trying to add a little ‘zing’ to your salads or sandwiches then a dash of avocado, hummus, Greek yoghurt, mustard or avocado can not only add some great ‘zing’ but have additional nutritional benefits.

7. Sour cream for Greek yoghurt

Delightfully full-bodied and creamy tasting, Greek yoghurt is a great replacement for sour cream in both cooking and cold dishes.

This simple exchange equates to half the calories, spoon for spoon.

8. Sugar for fruit

Sounds obvious, but it’s something we do without thinking, especially for breakfast cereals.

Try slicing some banana or a few berries on your cereal for a natural sweetness boost without having to reach for the sugar bowl.

Amanda Turbill, APD, MNutr&Diet, BSc (Molecular Genetics)
A self confessed foodie, nutrition nut and fitness advocate. Amanda gets to live her passions daily as a Dietitian with 12WBT. Having been a high level gymnast until her late teens she still tumbles to this day and believes to maintain life balance it's important to find ways to incorporate 'play' to daily life . A Bachelor of Science (Molecular Genetics) and Masters in Nutrition & Dietetics she has over 20 years working across all clinical nutritional specialties with a particular interest in Nutrigenomics, food allergy and food intolerance. Amanda is a proud mum and is always keen to help other parents nourish, and stay active together with, their own families.

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