Eat This, Not That

It is time for a kitchen makeover! I am going to offer some simple swap outs that will save you calories and/or increase the nutritional impact of your meal choices.

  • Butter or margarine: Neither of these are doing anything for you, and probably only hurting. Instead opt for a healthier fat such as Canola Harvest spread, Olivio spread, Land O Lakes canola or olive oil spreads, Promise, Benecol or Smart Balance. But still watch the portion size!
  • Vegetable oil: Anywhere you use vegetable oil you can use canola oil in its place. They are both neutral oils that can be heated to high temperatures.
  • Mayonnaise: These can be very high in calories. However, olive or canola oil based mayonnaises do not only use healthier fats, they are also 1/2 the calories and 1/2 the fat of regular.
  • Bricks of cheese: While these may be more economical, it is hard to control the portion size. Portion controlled cheese like laughing cow, babybell cheese, string cheese or cheese slices can help keep calories in check.
  • Jiff or Skippy: Processed peanut butters such as these have trans fats and sugar. Natural peanut butters have only peanuts listed in the ingredient list. Smucker’s Natural is easy to find, Trader Joe’s has good options and my favorite is Kirkland brand from Costco. You could even look for other types of nut butters such as almond butter, cashew butter or walnut butter.
  • Whole milk: Not only is this high in calories, it is also high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Opt for 1% or skim.
  • White bread, pastas, tortillas, or bagels: Quality is so important when choosing carbohydrates. Refined flour is doing nothing for you. Look for whole grain breads, pastas, bagels and corn tortillas.
  • Soda: This is a problem on so many levels: sugar, calories, artificial sweeteners, carbonation, caffeine… Instead meet your fluid needs with water (!!!), tea (preferably green), Propel, sparkling water, or even crystal light that now uses stevia.
  • Salad dressings: At the very least, look for a light version of your favorite salad dressings. Oil based dressings would be a better use of calories than creamy dressings. A good brand would be Newman’s Own since they tend to use all natural ingredients. Even better, make homemade dressings with olive oil and vinegar.
  • Soy sauce: Even light soy sauce is outrageously high in sodium. Braggs Liquid Aminos is a great substitute.
  • High fat lunchmeats: Pastrami, Bologne, Salami…it has to go. Look for turkey, chicken, ham or even roast beef. Preferably find brands that sell low sodium lean lunch meats such as Boar’s head.
  • What are your simple swap outs?
    Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD