People frequently ask how I lost all my weight – and how I continue to keep it off. I tell them about my favorite apps that allow me to track my food and calories. And, I share with them about exercising. However, I often forget about one of my favorite weight loss hacks.
It’s pretty simple. I use lower calorie ingredients in place of higher calorie ones. These six ingredient swaps are all substitutions that come so naturally to me that I forget to point out the change – so I do that with some of my recipes here.
Which is your favorite ingredient swap?
Applesauce for sugar
So, you’re doing some baking. Do you know how many calories lurk in a cup of sugar? 770 calories! One cup of unsweetened applesauce only has 100 calories. For each cup of applesauce, decrease the overall recipe liquid by 1/4 cup. This ingredient swap is a smart food substitution because applesauce also adds fiber and vitamin C.
Agave for sugar
Substituting applesauce for sugar is all well and good – unless you are a diabetic. Many diabetics limit sugary fruits in their diets because it may cause unwanted blood sugar spikes. Agave syrup has more calories tablespoon for tablespoon than sugar. However, agave is sweeter than sugar, so you use less of it, consuming fewer calories in the process.
Substitute 2/3 cup agave for each one cup sugar. As with applesauce, reduce recipe liquids by 1/4 cup for each cup of sugar substituted. You won’t sacrifice sweetness, and you save 180 calories. It’s not quite the calorie reduction that you get subbing applesauce, but this ingredient swap is low-glycemic.
Marshmallow Fluff instead of frosting
I use marshmallow fluff instead of melted marshmallows in my Rice Krispies treats as a vegetarian alternative. You can also use it instead of frosting on cakes. Add a few drops of your favorite flavoring extract (and possibly food coloring if you desire). You just saved 30 calories and half the sugar per tablespoon! Doesn’t this ingredient substitution feel intelligent?
PBFit for traditional peanut butter
Of all the powdered peanut butter on the market, PBFit is my favorite. I love the flavor. Just add water to two tablespoons PBFit powder until it reaches the desired consistency. Traditional smooth peanut butter has about 190 calories in a two-tablespoon serving. Whereas, PBFit only adds 55 calories. PBFit is also higher in iron and vitamin C. Oh, and did I mention? It’s all-natural!
While a decent substitute in a classic PB&J, PBfit makes an excellent substitute for peanut butter in peanut sauces in dishes like my African Maafe Stew. This lower-calorie ingredient swap changes the game!
Mashed Bananas for Oils and Other Fats
Substitute one cup of mashed overripe banana for one cup of oil. Mashed bananas impart the same mouth-feel but slash calories! One cup of oil adds 1,910 calories, while one cup of mashed bananas only adds 200. Wowzers! Not to mention, bananas add fiber and potassium!
Check out my recipe for Nature Muffins in which I used a mashed over-ripe banana as an oil replacement. This lower calorie food substitution saves money by minimizing food waste, too!
Plain non-fat Greek yogurt for sour cream or mayonnaise
Non-fat Greek yogurt makes an excellent low-calorie ingredient replacement for mayonnaise or sour cream. The next time you make a dip or a soup recipe that calls for a dollop of sour cream, substitute plain nonfat greek yogurt.
Mayonnaise and sour cream are both hefty contenders in the creamy condiment field. Comparatively, mayonnaise adds 900 calories a cup. One cup of sour cream adds over 400 calories. But, nonfat greek yogurt only adds about 120 calories for the same cup. However, it matches sour cream’s calcium content, providing 25% of the RDA, and adds a whopping 20 grams of protein. Sour cream cannot match that. Not only does this sneaky ingredient swap slash calories, but it also adds a significant nutritional punch.
Check out my Roasted Red Pepper soup recipe where I substitute yogurt for the sour cream!
Do you have any sneaky food swaps to share? Which of these do you use? Which will you try?
We enjoy hosting parties and my husband and I are both avid gamers. You can find me on PS4 as SunshineFlaGirl. We also play tabletop RPGs and eurogames.