Eating well doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning your go-to meals in favor of an entirely new diet.
Instead, making healthy changes can be as simple as switching out common calorie culprits for heart-healthy alternatives.
Substitute: Lean turkey for red meat
Instead of getting your protein via red meat, cook with lean, ground turkey. Eat the white meat, which is full of protein and is lower in calories and fat than other cuts of meat.
Substitute: Zucchini noodles for pasta
A medium zucchini clocks in at around 33 calories, with 61 grams of total carbohydrates. In comparison, a 2-cup serving of wheat pasta contains around 90 grams of carbohydrates, and white spaghetti averages 100 to 150 grams.
Substitute: Nuts for croutons
While salad always seems like a wise choice, there are unhealthy ingredients hiding among the greens. Replace high-fat croutons with unsalted, protein-punching nuts. Think almonds, pecans, or walnuts.
Substitute: Cauliflower mash for mashed potatoes
With its higher quantities of vitamins C and K, and significantly lower calories and fat, you can’t go wrong replacing your mashed potato side dish with mashed cauliflower. The best part? Once you’ve added a little seasoning (herbs, not salt!), you’ll barely taste the difference.
Substitute: Greek yogurt for sour cream
With fewer calories and a higher dose of protein, plain Greek yogurt is a great alternative to sour cream. A serving size of Greek yogurt packs a punch, providing protein, calcium, and vitamin B-12.
Substitute: Herbs or spices for table salt
Lower your sodium intake while keeping that burst of flavor by replacing standard table salt with herbs or spices such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and pepper.
Substitute: Almond milk for dairy milk
If it seems as if everyone has been talking about almond milk recently—well, there’s a reason for that. Made from ground almonds, this milk has a naturally sweet flavor without needing added sugar. This lactose-free drink is low in calories, is a good source of vitamins A and D, and does not contain saturated fat or cholesterol. However, be aware that unfortified milk isn’t a source of calcium.
Substitute: Olive oil for butter
Instead of melting butter to stir-fry vegetables or prepare your breakfast, use extra virgin olive oil. It’ll save you calories and give you a boost of olive oil’s heart-healthy benefits: vitamins A, E, D, and K.