You love food but at the same time, you have to lose weight for some reason. We get you, life happens and food is usually involved. But this doesn’t mean that you have to completely shut off all the yummy treats–never to be seen or tried again. Fortunately, there are a lot of food swaps you can make for the usual junk food so they can be healthier for you. These are usually the tiniest swaps that you may not even notice in some cases.
Listed in this article are some food substitutes that you can use and the corresponding food items that they will be substituting. For some of these examples, you may even include them in some of the easy cooking recipes that are available online.
Oats and Cereals
Cereals are processed grains that are usually combined with sugar to help extend their shelf life. As much as it’s yummy, it’s hardly filling. Before you know it, you’ll need another bowl or two of this food stuff if you have to get going throughout the day. One of the main reasons behind this is that cereal products are typically made up of simple carbohydrates–a type of energy source that the body consumes first. Unlike the other type of carbs (we will discuss this in a bit), the body breaks this down more easily, leading to increased hunger and fat stores over time.
On the other hand, oats are considered a complex form of carbs that can help make you feel fuller for a longer period. Given this premise, you don’t have to eat as much as you have to when you consume cereals. As a result, you take in fewer calories; thus, you also have to burn fewer of the fat stores. This will make it easier for you to lose weight, especially if you’re planning to combine your food swap efforts with regular exercise.
Nuts and Chips
We all know how good chips are, especially when binge watching after a long and stressful day. Given this fact, you can have that tendency to eat as much as you want. You won’t notice how much you’ve consumed because you’re most likely focused on the show you’re watching as well. Before you know it, you’ve already consumed more than a bag or two of chips in one sitting. And if this happens frequently, you can bet all your favorite food that this habit can lead to consistent weight gain. Not so good for your health.
Like cereals, chips usually have a lot of ingredients aside from the obvious potatoes (which are also eventually processed, by the way). It has a lot of salt and preservatives–among a few other things that we can hardly pronounce–to make it last longer and taste better. On the other hand, nuts (as long as they are not processed as something else) are good sources of fat. Unlike carbohydrates, the body usually consumes fat as the third source of fuel to get it going (protein comes second). Because of this, this can make you feel fuller for longer periods. Just remember not to consume too much or you’ll risk taking in more calories than your body can readily burn. A handful of nuts a day should be enough for your nutritional needs for the day–or even for the entire week.
Veggies and Pasta
To be strict about it, pasta is not necessarily bad for your health. But if you’re looking to lose weight and carbs are some of your triggers that make you put on excess weight, you’ll have to reconsider another type of food.
This is where the latest weight loss food trends come in. Some people who love pasta experimented with some vegetables that you may prepare to shed off the unwanted pounds. If you love zucchini and cucumbers, you may have to get a spiralizer or other similar equipment to help you get the firm and thin feel of the pasta in your low-carb dishes. Some people also love to prepare squash pasta if they feel some pasta cravings coming on. Some would even combine a couple of these dishes and incorporate a binder (such as egg) and place everything in a pasta maker. If you think about it, the possibilities are endless and all you have to do is to research and see what type of pasta food swap may work for you.
White and Wheat Bread
In the same manner as swapping out your usual pasta dishes, you may want to reconsider changing to another type of bread if you’re regularly consuming white bread but know it triggers your weight gain due to simple carbs. Wheat bread can be a great complex carb alternative that usually goes well with most things that are good with white bread. If you’re not a fan of its rough and slightly tough texture, you may need to find another type of bread that uses alternative types of flour, such as coconut or almond flour.
Avocado and Butter
Avocados are usually associated with desserts and sweet drinks in this country. But did you know that you can also use it as a part of your sandwich? It may seem bizarre at first, but avocados are relatively bland with a smooth texture so it’s versatile enough even for savory meals. They are considered healthier alternatives to butter because you only get to use the raw ingredients and nothing else. In contrast to this, butter contains other ingredients that may not be that optimal for your health and for your weight loss efforts. Plus, it has little of the fat-related benefits that avocados can bring (it can make you feel fuller for a much longer interval).
Candy and Fruit
Both are sugar, but which is the lesser evil? We all know the obvious answer, but a lot of us still fall prey to the sweet promises of candy. Unlike fruits, candies are processed and are more convenient to prepare and consume. As a result, you tend to eat more of these if the sweet tooth cravings come rushing in. On the other hand, fruits can be a bit more inconvenient to prepare and consume so there’s a chance you can consume less; thus, lower sugar consumption in the long run. A lot of fruits also have a relatively high water content so you can somehow get hydrated while having your sweet fix. Fun fact: Proper hydration is also instrumental in losing weight. Just remember to consume this food swap in moderation so you can watch your weight loss progress more closely.
Latte and Black Coffee
Coffee in itself doesn’t have calories so you don’t have to worry about the amount you consume, calorie-wise (it’s a different story when it comes to palpitations, however). When you add sugar and milk to make another type of coffee, the narrative becomes a lot different, though. The calories start to pile up faster than you’re aware of. And even if a cup of latter is the only thing that you had for breakfast, it may still harm your weight loss efforts because of insulin spikes because of the glucose found in the milk and sugar added to your coffee. In this regard, it is better to stick to your black coffee and just add some sweeteners like allulose, monkfruit, or erythritol if you can’t handle the plain version just yet.