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16 Easy Food Substitutions For More Taste, Less Fat

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

If dieting didn't mean giving up butter, sour cream, mayonnaise, heavy cream or other fattening cooking favorites, you'd do it... right? But then again, who wouldn't? Ask anyone who needs to lose weight why they haven't gotten started and the majority will rattle off a slew of foods they "just cant live without." In their minds, fat equals fabulous. They've reduced the notion of healthy eating to a life of boring foods that are unappetizing at best. Trust us: your taste buds will not wither up and die from a healthy diet. Wellness coach Pam Smith promises healthy choices can be every bit as edible as unhealthy choices. She knows the drill. Smith makes a living bringing people over to "the other side." The best-selling author of The Smart Weigh: The Simple, 5-Point Plan to Losing Weight Permanently

Pam Smith trains men and women from all walks of life -- from athletes to business executives -- to eat healthily and fit exercise into their busy lives.

A key component to crossing over from junk-food junkie to health-food enthusiast is learning to make healthy substitutions. Small changes can add up to big fat losses, Pam points out.

She says our love of fat-laden foods is learned and often passed down from our ancestors. Over the years, we’ve watched Mom drop dollops of sour cream on potatoes or Grandma fry chicken in lard.

“It’s what we’ve grown up with,” Pam tells eDiets from her office in Orlando, Florida. “We’ve learned that fat brings flavor. Somehow the notion of leaving these ingredients out has us believing that healthier food tastes like cardboard.

“Learning how to make smart adjustments makes the difference. People lack knowledge. They lack time. They push through the day and hardly have time to go to the grocery store let alone modify time-tested recipes.”

That’s where Pam can help. She’s already done the dirty work for you. All you need to do is apply the substitutions when necessary. Your food will be healthier AND tastier, she promises.

“You’re not just leaving out the undesirables, you’re putting in flavor in ways that butter can’t even deliver," Pam notes. "For example, rather than just taking out the butter, you can sauté using a small amount of olive oil and shallots. Add flavor using herbs and spices that jazz up the dish rather than leaving it flat, bland and boring."

One example of a calorie-saving substitution: swapping cooking oil for cooking spray can eliminate up to 540 calories and 60 grams of fat. Not too shabby for one simple step... not when you consider one pound equals 3,500 calories.

But it isn’t just main-meal cooking that gets us into trouble. Snacking is also a major danger zone. In today’s on-the-run society, time is of the essence. When those cravings strike between meals, we reach for the most convenient snacks... usually high-cal, high-fat landmines grabbed from office vending machines or just-down-the-road mini marts.

You can sidestep the snack trap with a little foresight. Keep healthy snacks on hand and you won’t have to choose from the lesser of the evils, she says. And if you don’t know what constitutes a healthy snack, get educated. You have all the resources you need at your fingertips (your eDiets meal plan includes a long list of waist-friendly snacks).

The next time you’re in the market, ready to reach for those products with little or no nutritional value, try making these slimming substitutions from Smith’s Healthy Living Cookbook (Siloam Press).

Food Substitutions for Cooking

Instead of... 1 cup whole milk
Use... 1 cup skim milk
Savings... 90 calories, 10g fat

Instead of... 1 cup heavy cream
Use... 1 cup evaporated skim milk
Savings... 783 calories, 87g fat

Instead of... 1 cup sour cream
Use... 1 cup fat-free sour cream
Savings... 432 calories, 48g fat

Instead of... 8 oz. cream cheese
Use... 8 oz. light cream cheese
Savings...351 calories, 39g fat

Instead of... 2 oz. oil
Use... cooking spray
Savings... 540 calories, 60g fat

Instead of... 1 oz. oil
Use... 1 tsp. oil
Savings... 225 calories, 25g fat

Instead of...1 pint mayonnaise
Use...1 pint plain nonfat yogurt
Savings...3,168 calories, 352g fat

Instead of... 6 whole eggs
Use... 12 egg whites
Savings... 324 calories, 36g fat

Instead of... 1 pint sour cream
Use... 1 pint plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream
Savings... 803 calories, 89g fat

Instead of... 4 oz. cheddar cheese
Use... 4 oz. reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Savings... 225 calories, 25g fat

Instead of... 8 oz. cream cheese
Use... 8 oz. fat-free cream cheese
Savings... 711 calories, 79g fat

Instead of... 1 lb. ground beef (80 percent lean)
Use... 1 lb. ground turkey breast
Savings... 819 calories, 91g fat

Food Substitutions for Snacking

Instead of... Snickers bar
Enjoy... Crisp apple, mozzarella string cheese
Savings... 165 calories, 10g fat

Instead of... 60 Ruffles potato chips
Enjoy... 24 Baked Lays potato crisps, 1 oz. part-skim cheddar cheese
Savings... 260 calories, 29g fat

Instead of... 1 jelly doughnut
Enjoy... 1/2 whole-grain bagel with 2 Tbsp. light cream cheese, 1 tsp. fruit jam
Savings... 79 calories, 5g fat

Instead of... Wendy's medium Frosty
Enjoy... 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt and fresh berries sprinkled with 1/4 cup low-fat granola
Savings...235 calories, 10g fat

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