Easy food swaps to healthy-up your diet

shutterstock_594621377Did you know you can eat plenty of food to fill  you up, while cutting out some of the not-so-healthy stuff? It’s true. You can enjoy some of your favorite, most decadent recipes simply by doing some creative ingredient swapping.

Don’t just think about the number of calories in a food. There’s more to it than that. You get full from the amount you eat, not by how many calories you eat. It’s about replacing higher calorie foods with lower-calorie options or with foods higher in fiber that will fill you up. Some of these include fruits and vegetables, low-fat and fat-free dairy, and beans and peas.

Try “bulking up” some of your favorite foods with vegetables—for instance stack lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumber on your sandwich. Or make one of everyone’s favorite comfort foods, macaroni and cheese, with low-fat milk and cheese, whole-grain pasta, and chopped tomatoes and spinach (see recipe). Your one-cup serving will be much lower in calories, and the whole-grain pasta and veggies will fill you up faster.

Here are some other food substitutions to try:

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There are literally hundreds of other changes you can make to your diet. Health- and weight-oriented recipe websites and some cookbooks can help you find ways to lighten up recipes without sacrificing flavor. You might be surprised just how easy it can be—with delicious, filling results you can feel good about.


National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lower-calorie, lower-fat alternative foods. (Accessed 8/20/18)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eat more, weigh less? (Accessed 8/20/18)

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