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Simple recipe swaps that cut calories

Christy Pogorelac is a marketing manager and freelance writer who likes to cover topics like entertaining, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle. Along with writing, her favorite past-times include date nights with her husband, jogging in the...

Six smart substitutions

Looking for ways to lighten up your favorite recipes, rather than losing them altogether? Making the decision to cut calories from your diet doesn’t have to mean that your meals will consist of lemon water and celery sticks. Continue making your favorite dishes, but try these ingredient substitutions to keep your calorie intake inline.

Woman slicing mushrooms

1Drop the heavy cream for something much lighter

Heavy cream has approximately 98 calories and 10.5 grams of fat per ounce! Those numbers will not do you any favors on the scale, so try one of these substitutions the next time you want to make your favorite bisque. Fat-free evaporated milk has only 25 calories per 1-ounce serving, while skim milk has just 91 calories per 8-ounce serving. Pureed white beans, like cannellini beans or chickpeas, and potatoes are also effective calorie-cutting cream substitutions with anywhere from 60 to 130 calories per cup serving.

2Swap out sour cream

Instead of loading up your eight-layer dip with sour cream, try Greek yogurt.

Creamy in texture with a slightly tangy flavor, it contains about half of the fat and three times the amount of protein of sour cream.

Try out this Greek yogurt dip recipe >>

3Evaluate your oils

The next time you reach for the canola, consider using pumpkin or applesauce instead to make major calorie savings in your recipe. To put it in perspective, 1/2-cup of canola oil or vegetable oil has over 950 calories and over 100 grams of fat, while the same amount of unsweetened pumpkin puree or applesauce has no more than 55 calories. Just remember to account for the added sweetness that fruit brings when included in your recipes.

4Try turkey instead

Swap out ground beef for lean ground turkey to get all of the protein and flavor with only half the calories and a fraction of the fat per serving.

Yum! Try this ground turkey meatloaf recipe>>

5Go meatless

You can save anywhere from 200 to 315 calories per one cup serving when you substitute beef or pork with mushrooms. Try it once a week to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

6Change up the cheese

There is no need to completely banish cheese from your recipes in an effort to cut calories and fat. Instead, try swapping Cheddar cheese out with Parmesan cheese. Both offer a sharp flavor, but 2 tablespoons of Parmesan has only 45 calories and 3 grams of fat, compared to the 110 calories and 9 grams of fat found in 1 ounce of Cheddar.

There are plenty of other ways to save your favorite recipes with creative solutions. Other ideas to diet-proof your meals include swapping noodles for zucchini or eggplant and swapping out canned, sauce-laden chili beans with green beans.

More healthy diet tips

The National Body Challenge

Dr Oz provides tips for cutting calories and maintaining a healthy diet.

Look for more ways to cut calories from your diet

50 Ways to cut 100 calories
Healthy indulgences: Low calorie satisfying snacks
Cut restaurant calories with these four tips

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