Since starting my weight loss journey, I’ve lost over 230 pounds. When I originally wrote this post in January of 2018, I was down about 20 pounds in six weeks through healthy eating and exercise. I’m updating this post in August of 2019 and have continued to make several food swaps for weight loss. I’m not talking about kicking my chocolate fix by eating a carrot stick. You have to enjoy whatever you’re substituting, or else the substitutions won’t work. I make smart swaps, like replacing cow’s milk with coconut or almond milk. By using food swaps for weight loss, you can save your calorie budget.
I didn’t change everything all at once. I know if I change too many things too quickly, I will soon get overwhelmed and feel deprived. These feelings will lead me to consume more calories than I want, so I know I want to avoid that situation. I started small, first replacing soda with iced tea. I eventually switched to lemon water instead of tea. By slowly making these food swaps for weight loss, I was able to sustain the healthy habits I was establishing.
I still drink iced tea occasionally, but now it’s unsweetened, or I use some artificial sweetener in it. It’s okay to enjoy your old favorites now and then. Make sure you measure out your portion so that you don’t overdo it and pay attention to how your body feels. If it makes you sick or just an overall feeling not well, maybe don’t have it again. Try a food swap to see how your body responds to the healthier version. Small changes are the key to big success.[mailerlite_form form_id=2]
100 Percent Whole-Wheat Carbs
After I successfully replaced soda with lemon water in my diet, I turned my attention to the Italian white bread I ate every week. I started using 100 percent whole-wheat bread instead. According to the Mayo Clinic, whole grains are better sources of fiber, vitamin B, iron, folate, potassium
I also replaced my white enriched pasta with 100 percent whole-wheat pasta. Before, I was against whole-wheat pasta. I tried it years ago and didn’t really care for the taste too much. Now, I think my taste buds are getting used to eating more whole grains because I don’t really mind it. I just made sure I used a really good tomato sauce and plenty of parmesan cheese. By switching to whole-wheat, I’m saving myself a few grams in carbs and adding additional protein.
Next, I tackled butter. Butter is one of my favorite
Pizza is seriously one of my favorite foods in the world. I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, once I had bariatric surgery, I knew that it would be a once-in-a-while treat. Now, when I’m craving pizza, I use a chicken-crust instead of a flour-based crust. You can check out the recipe here! By making this food swap for weight loss, I get to take care of my pizza craving and save calories and carbs. A flour-based crust pizza has 36 grams of carbs, while my chicken-crust pizza only has 2.9 grams. It also has 19 grams of protein in one slice, compared to 12 grams in a regular pizza. It’s a great and delicious choice for bariatric patients!
Almond or Coconut Milk
My next food swap for weight loss is using almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. The reason for this swap is two-fold. It saves calories, but it also reduces my lactose intolerance sensitivity. As I have gotten older, I have become more sensitive to lactose. Ice cream and milk make me sick in my stomach, so I have to watch how much I consume. Luckily, the unsweetened almond or coconut milk fills the void.
By switching to unsweetened almond milk, I’m saving 93 calories per cup compared to two percent cow’s milk. It also only has one gram of carbs, compared to 12 grams in two percent milk. While it does have less protein than regular milk, I find almond milk to be a better choice in my bariatric lifestyle.
Speaking of ice cream, what’s life without it? I still have ice cream occasionally, but now I make a different choice than Dairy Queen or Ben and Jerry’s. I eat Halo Top ice cream. It’s a protein-rich ice cream that has less fat and sugar than traditional ice cream. I find it doesn’t bother my lactose sensitivity as much either. It’s delicious and comes in a variety of flavors, perfect for when I’m craving a cold treat.
The nutritional savings in eating Halo Top versus Ben and Jerry’s Ice cream is enough to make me not think twice. One cup of Halo Top cookies and cream flavor has only 161 calories, compared to Ben and Jerry’s cookies and cream ice cream, which has a whopping 590 calories per cup! I’m also consuming about 30 grams of fat less in Halo Top and 29 grams of carbs less than Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. It’s just as good too! This food swap for weight loss is one of my favorites!
Now that I’m more than a year post-op, I find that carbs tend to make me gain weight. I try to limit my carbs as much as possible. One of the food swaps for weight loss that I use is zoodles in place of enriched pasta noodles. Zoodles are just spiralized zucchini noodles. They are really delicious, especially with an alfredo sauce! I like to make chicken zoodle alfredo using a spiralizer I bought from Pampered Chef.
The zoodles come out perfect each time, and I just sauté them in olive oil for a few minutes before adding my cooked chicken and alfredo sauce to the pan. By using zoodles instead of pasta fettuccini, I’m saving around 31 grams of carbs per four-ounce serving. These small differences make a huge change on the scale each week, and more importantly, with how I feel. Carbs make me feel bloated and uncomfortable, so finding ways to replace them keeps me happier overall.
Emotional eating is something with which I have always struggled. I like to say I’m a reformed emotional eater, but it still creeps up on me sometimes. The difference now is that I tend to know what triggers my emotional eating, so I have created a plan to get around it. My plan typically focuses on distracting myself with either something I want to do, like reading a book, writing, relaxing in a nice bath or by exercising. These are things that make me feel satisfied and comfort me in a similar way that food did. I give myself at least 30 minutes doing that activity. If I’m still craving that food, then I eat half a portion and eat very slowly. It allows me to savor it without completely blowing my weight loss. Honestly, though, I don’t find myself wanting the food after the 30 minutes has passed.
Exercise is such a great way to workout my frustration. When you have a stressful life, finding ways to cope and relax are essential. I like to run or go to the gym, but when I first started I enjoyed doing DVD workouts. I tend to find myself lost in my thoughts as I exercise, which leads me away from the cabinets and refrigerator. This swap is one of the most frequently used of my food swaps for weight loss.
Gatorade or Powerade Zero
Another one of the food swaps for weight loss I use is drinking Gatorade or Powerade Zero. These no-sugar varieties of sports drinks are great for replenishing the electrolytes lost in sweat versus water alone. If I’m feeling particularly sore or dehydrated, I always reach for one of these sports drinks. While water is an excellent hydrating fluid, when you work
Just look at the calories of these two drinks. Regular Gatorade has 133 calories per 20 ounces, while Gatorade Zero has just 10. Likewise, regular Gatorade has 37 grams of carbs (mostly sugar), while Gatorade Zero has just one gram. It’s finding these lower-calorie, lower-sugar options of foods we enjoy that make these food swaps for weight loss possible. Just think of how many calories and carbs you save if added all of these up. Go slow and replace one or two things at a time for optimum results.
So, I’ll admit it. I have a sweet tooth. I always have, and luckily, it isn’t as bad as it once was. However, now I enjoy sugar-free varieties of my favorite candies. Hershey’s and Stover’s both make sugar-free varieties of their candies, like peanut butter cups and peppermint patties. I have tried these before, and I really enjoy them. I also found sugar-free gummy bears at my local grocery store in the bulk section. By choosing these, I’m saving sugar and calories.
One Final Tip
Make sure you enjoy whatever it is your substituting. If you don’t like something, these foods swaps for weight loss aren’t going to become a permanent change in your life. If you’re limiting carbs, swapping chicken-crust for a flour-crust when you eat pizza or zoodles for enriched pasta can save you calories and carbohydrates. You could also swap butter for olive oil. By making these small food swaps for weight loss, you can save your calorie budget. Continue using these and other smart food swaps to win your weight loss battle. Small changes lead to big results!
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
1. Instead of white bread, pasta or flour, eat 100 percent whole wheat.
2. Instead of butter, try olive oil
3. Replace a flour-based crust with a chicken-crust for pizza
4. Choose unsweetened almond or coconut milk for cow’s milk
5. Try Halo Top ice cream instead of Ben and Jerry’s
6. Make zoodles instead of pasta
7. Replace emotional eating with another activity you enjoy
8. Instead of regular Gatorade or Powerade, drink Gatorade Zero or Powerade Zero
9. Try sugar-free candies instead of their sugar-rich cousins