Weekly Wellness: Another eat this, not that list
COLUMBIA - I'm a sucker for those "eat this, not that" lists and I found a really fun one! Health magazine did a 24-food swap-out list that can really impact your daily calories. I like that they have broken it down by meal type. And I appreciate the information regarding the swap (let’s be real, most of us know we’re supposed to choose something healthier but WHY?) Maybe this list will help you find some tolerable swaps that won’t leave you crying.
Instead of: Granola
Eat this: Oatmeal
Why: A half-cup cooked serving of Quaker Steel Cut Oats contains just 150 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, and 1 gram of sugar. Sprinkling 10 fresh blueberries onto your oatmeal adds natural sweetness for just 8 calories. Meanwhile, a half-cup of Quaker's Apple, Cranberry, & Almond Granola clocks in at 200 calories, 5 grams of fat, and a whopping 13 grams of sugar—and that's before you add any milk.
Instead of: Egg sandwich
Eat this: Scrambled eggs with veggies
Why: Filled with fiber, veggies will give you a longer-lasting energy boost than the empty carbs in a breakfast sandwich. Plus, a generous helping of tomato, mushroom, or spinach in your eggs is a flavorful way to sneak in at least one of your five-a-day. Two large eggs scrambled with a half-cup of spinach comes in at 150 calories (practically half of what a fast-food restaurant breakfast sandwich would be).
Instead of: Fruit at the bottom yogurt
Eat this: Plain yogurt with fresh fruit
Why: The concoction at the bottom of yogurt containers is typically more sugar than fruit. Slice up some strawberries or plop in some blueberries for a fresher take on the fruit-yogurt combo. Switching from prepared fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt to a plain variety topped with fresh blueberries will save you 60 calories and 13 grams of sugar.
Instead of: Latte
Drink this: Café Americano
Why: Sticking with the straight stuff gives you a more concentrated dose of coffee—and its free-radical fighting antioxidants. And research from the University of Scranton shows coffee is the greatest source of antioxidants in the American diet. Even if you can't stand black coffee, a splash of low-fat milk, drizzle of honey, or dash of good-for-you cinnamon can still help you save hundreds of calories over a latte.
Instead of: Tomato-basil soup
Eat this: Broth-based minestrone
Why: Even though the word "tomato" is used, it’s full of heavy cream, and a serving can set you back nearly 500 calories. Stick with broth-based soups with chunks of vegetables you can actually sink your teeth into, like this tomato soup recipe, which is just 129 calories per serving.
Instead of: Iceberg
Eat this: Spinach
Why: Iceberg lettuce doesn't have much nutrition. Spinach, however, is full of iron, magnesium, folate, and vitamins A and C, which your body needs to keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.
Instead of: French fries
Eat this: Potato salad
Why: Chilled potatoes pack more resistant starch than any other kind of spud, according to a 2013 USDA Agricultural Research Service study. Sometimes called the third starch, resistant starch is not absorbed in the small intestine, making you eat less and feel fuller longer. Use mustard in place of mayo to cut even more calories.
Instead of: White hamburger bun
Eat this: Whole-wheat hamburger bun
Why: While they both come in at about 150 calories per serving, a whole-grain bun has several added benefits. The wheat version can contain more protein and fiber, which each help you feel fuller for longer. Plus, research shows that consuming whole grains as opposed to refined can help prevent inflammation and may even help your body burn more fat.
Instead of: Chicken stir-fry
Eat this: Tandoori chicken
Why: Besides skipping the sodium-filled soy sauce, tandoori's curry is a great source of the antioxidant curcumin, which, according to research from Tufts University, inhibits the formation of fat tissue.
Instead of: White pasta
Eat this: Spaghetti squash
Why: Automatically make your pasta a veggie-filled one with this low-cal, high-fiber replacement. In addition to saving you close to 200 calories, the squash's generous helpings of vitamin C, folate, and magnesium will increase your energy.
Instead of: Standard steak
Eat this: Grass-fed steak
Why: Grass-fed steak cuts have 92 fewer calories and up to a third less fat per serving, and the fat they do have is higher in omega-3s and more similar to that found in seafood.
Instead of: Mashed potatoes
Eat this: Mashed cauliflower
Why: The skinny starch delivers almost a day's worth of vitamin C for the small price of 27 calories per cup. (Compare that to potatoes, which clock in at 116 calories per cup.)
Instead of: Hummus and toasted pita
Eat this: Hummus and red pepper
Why: Nutritionally pita bread isn’t that different than white bread. Trade in the enormous amounts of sodium (one serving has about 13% of your recommended daily intake) and munch on some equally crunchy red pepper slices. Red peppers are packed with fiber as well as vitamins A, C, and K, and you'll save about 135 calories.
Instead of: Potato chips
Eat this: Kale chips
Why: You can eat a cup and a half of kale chips for just 84 calories, while the same amount of potato chips will set you back more than 200. A serving of kale hits your entire daily requirement of vitamins A and C, not to mention delivering a generous helping of calcium and folate.
Instead of: Cheese and crackers
Eat this: Cheese and apple slices
Why: One apple packs about 17% of your daily filling fiber needs, and with significantly fewer calories.
Instead of: Snack bar
Eat this: Handful of almonds
Why: Many bars contain high-fructose corn syrup, sugar and binding additives. For protein without all of the fillers, a handful of almonds will do the trick. A recent Harvard study found a daily dose of nuts can lengthen your lifespan by cutting your risk of conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Instead of: Low-fat cheese
Eat this: Fresh goat cheese or feta
Why: The low-fat processed cheeses you'll find hanging in the dairy section are filled with additives and preservatives, not to mention they lack much flavor. Instead, go for fresh goat cheese or feta. They contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help your body burn more fat.
Instead of: Sour cream
Eat this: Greek yogurt
Why: Plain Greek yogurt and sour cream are so similar in taste and texture that you really have no excuse not to use the lean, protein-packed alternative to fattening sour cream.
Instead of: Croutons
Eat this: Nuts
Why: Besides lending your salad a healthier crunch, the unsaturated fatty acids in nuts can help you get the most nutrients from said salad. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble, meaning your body can't absorb them unless you eat fat along with them.
Instead of: Butter
Use this: Extra-virgin olive oil
Why: While butter is a big source of saturated fat, extra-virgin olive oil has healthy unsaturated fats. Olive oil promotes higher levels of the satiety hormone serotonin, which prevents overeating, according to a 2013 study from the Technische Universitat Munchen in Germany.
Instead of: Ice cream
Eat this: Frozen banana
Why: Replacing a huge splurge with fruit will help you to avoid a lot of sugar while gaining potassium, folate, and vitamin C. (If you have a few minutes, you can even throw the banana in the food processor to give it the same creamy, spoon-able texture as your favorite soft serve.)
Instead of: Milk chocolate bar
Eat this: Dark chocolate covered peanuts
Why: The darker your chocolate, the less sugar and milk and the more antioxidant-packed cacao it has. No wonder why research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that dark chocolate improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar, markers of diabetes and heart disease.
Instead of: Chocolate chip cookies
Eat this: Fig bars
Why: Fig bars are technically still cookies, but since figs are deliciously sweet all on their own, you'll use much less refined sugar in your recipes. Plus, they are a great source of fiber.
Instead of: Cream pie
Eat this: Fruit tart
Why: A single slice of cream pie can set you back hundreds of calories. A tart can give you a similar taste with less fat and more good-for-you fruit.