Informative article on substitutions to encourage weight loss

  • Food swaps that fight belly fat: Don't eat less eat smarter

    Try these ridiculously easy food trade-offs to banish your gut for good.

    By Emily G.W. Chau

    Fitbie dot com

    You can beat belly fat on a full stomach — as long as you choose the right foods. Making simple substitutions, such as the greens you use in your salads and the snacks you munch come midafternoon, can help blast away excess chub. Here are some simple swaps for a flat belly and strategies for cutting calories while keeping hunger at bay. Dropping weight has never been this satisfying.

    Rolled Oats or Bran Cereal for Breadcrumbs

    You traded Wonder Bread for wheat and nixed white rice in favor of brown, but there are plenty of other, less obvious, swaps you can make to increase your intake of whole grains. Try substituting rolled oats or crushed bran cereal for breadcrumbs in meatballs, or slip barley into your chicken noodle soup. A 2008 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who loaded their diets with whole grains were more likely to lose fat from their guts than those who noshed on the enriched kind. Whole grains are higher in fiber than refined starches, so you'll feel fuller eating less.

    Avocado for Butter

    This may sound a little adventurous, but you won't taste the difference: Switch out half of the butter in a cookie recipe for mashed avocado. This simple change will reduce fat content by 40 percent and cut the number of calories by nearly as much. You'll still get the creaminess of butter and the fatty taste, but this substitution knocks out some of the saturated fat in favor of the belly-flattening monounsaturated kind. Sure your cookies might have a green tinge, but they should also be chewier and softer.

    Cauliflower for Rice

    Cauliflower is the low-carb dieter's go-to food. Its mild taste makes the veggie a perfect substitute for carb-heavy potatoes and rice. Whipping up a dish is easy: Use a food processor or hand grater to break up cauliflower florets and stalks into tiny rice-sized pieces, and then saute them in olive oil. Cauliflower has a lower glycemic index than rice, so your body won't experience that spike in insulin that can lead to carb cravings.

    Spinach for Iceberg Lettuce

    When it comes to weight loss, any kind of vegetable gets the green light, but if you really want to ditch that spare tire, choose dark leafy greens over iceberg lettuce. True, the fiber levels are nearly the same, but you're sacrificing a lot of nutrients for that extra crunch of iceberg. Spinach is higher in iron and packs three times as much folic acid, so it's a much better nutritional choice all around. Folate is important for the developing brains of unborn babies, and it may also help peel back the pounds in adults.

    Beans for Enriched Flour or Shortening

    Use beans in place of flour or shortening in brownies made from scratch. It may sound odd, but you probably won't even notice the legumes: In a blind taste test in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2005, study participants rating brownies made with puréed cooked cannellini beans gave the low-fat confections high marks. If you're more inclined to bake from a box, just add a can to a ready-made mix to give your batch a boost of belly-flattening fiber. A 2009 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who increased their daily intake of fiber by 6 grams shrank their bellies by 4 percent, and these moist brownies pack about 3 grams per serving.

    Sliced Zucchini for Lasagna Noodles

    Increase your veggie intake by layering zucchini or eggplant instead of noodles in your lasagna. Hiding vegetables in your food increases veggie consumption and decreases the number of calories that you eat, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers at Penn State added puréed carrots, squash, and cauliflower to breakfast, lunch, and dinner entrees to make low-cal meals. Even though study participants consumed fewer calories, they felt as full and thought the veggie versions were as tasty.

    Nuts and Seeds for Pretzels

    Instead of mindlessly munching bite-sized twists, snack on nuts or seeds to satisfy your craving for something crunchy. Both are loaded with gut-busting monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) and research shows that people who eat two or more servings a week are less likely to gain weight than those who don't. You need to watch your portions — nuts have lots of calories, but they're packed with protein and fiber and are therefore more filling. If you must satisfy a craving for pretzels, choose a whole grain or pumpernickel variety.

    Yogurt for Sour Cream

    The next time you're preparing a veggie party platter, make your dip out of yogurt instead of sour cream. It'll have less fat and calories, plus you'll get the bonus of extra calcium. University of Tennessee researchers found that dieters who ate three servings of yogurt a day lost 81 percent more belly fat than once-a-day yogurt eaters. The researchers hypothesize that calcium helps breaks down fat in your gut. For a heartier dip, go with plain Greek yogurt.

    Dark Chocolate for Milk Chocolate

    Indulge your sweet tooth with a bite or two of dark chocolate. A small bar contains fat-fighting MUFAs, and because dark chocolate is richer than the milk varieties, typically you're satisfied with a smaller amount. This can make portion control a little bit easier.

    My two cents:
    I've substituted applesauce for butter in sweet baked goods.
  • I've switched out plain yogurt for sour cream... people love my dip and don't believe me when I tell them what I made it out of.

    Also a big fan of switching most kinds of veggies for at least half the noodles in a dish. Also had plenty of compliments on this...
  • You can also use cauliflower and turnips instead of potatoes,cook and mash. Instead of ice cream,I cut up a small banana,freeze for 2 hours,add a touch of vanilla,blend it or put it in a food processor and it whips up a "Big" bowl of good for you ice cream.
  • I love this list. too bad I can't 'pin it'. Where did you find the article?