Swapping Ingredients

Can swapping ingredients help you lose weight? Most of us can agree that the more you are told you can't have something, the more you want it.

Swapping Ingredients

Changing Things Up to Lose Weight

This is especially true when it comes to dieting; we choose things that we are going to give up, only to find ourselves wanting them more than ever. The trick is swapping ingredients rather than banning foods.

What about, "Get skinny quick," diets, you ask? Most women have already tried their share of fad diets and can all attest to the same thing; they just don't work. A healthy diet is about more than just losing weight; it's about being healthy and feeling good. You can drop the pounds without suffering or jeopardizing your health.

To help you lose weight, all you need to do is swap out some of the ingredients in your favorite foods rather than giving them up altogether. It's astounding how many calories you can skip with just a few minor changes.

Take Advantage of Yogurt

By using fat free yogurt when a recipe calls for mayonnaise or sour cream, you are cutting out a significant amount of calories. Consider some of your favorite vegetable dips, dressings, or even toppings; yogurt could easily replace the more fattening ingredients and everything would still taste just as good-if not better!

Greek Yogurt is a great replacement for sour cream and swapping ingredients since it's just as thick, while regular yogurt can replace mayonnaise or ranch dressing. With this one minor adjustment, you would be eating only 30 calories instead of over 120, and you're also saving yourself up to 11 grams of fat.

Use Egg Whites

By using two egg whites instead of one whole egg in any recipe, you're vastly reducing the fat content of your food. The even better news is that one egg white has half the protein of a whole egg, so by substituting, you are still getting the same amount of protein.

When making scrambled eggs, try using one whole egg and three whites. Be more cautious when baking though; only replace up to half the number of eggs with egg whites. An egg white has absolutely no fat and a whole 17 calories. What does this mean to you? With this one simple swap, you are cutting out 5 grams of fat and almost 60 calories.

Break out the Applesauce

Two of the most common diet-busting ingredients in delicious desserts are vegetable oil and shortening. This is why desserts are usually the first banned item when starting a new diet. Fortunately, by swapping ingredients, you can enjoy every bite of that piece of cake, and cut out the guilt along with the fat. Replace half of the required amount of oil or shortening in a recipe with applesauce; just make sure it's unsweetened.

The finished product will be lighter but you won't notice anything different about the taste. In just a quarter cup of oil or shortening, you'll find an alarming 50 grams of fat and 450 calories. Meanwhile, the same amount of applesauce has almost no fat and only 25 calories. This makes a huge difference when you are on a diet and craving cake; you save nearly 50 calories and about 6 grams of fat.

Cut Back the Oil in Your Vinaigrette

Vinaigrette recipes come with a ratio. Generally, the oil-to-vinegar ratio is 3:1. Many people think they can solve the oil issue by using olive oil. While it is healthy, it's also high in fat and calories, and too much can sabotage your diet. For a real solution, try substituting part of the oil requirement with more vinegar or lemon juice.

You can also mix your recipe with a pre-bottled dressing that is oil based. Vinaigrettes generally have 10 to 15 grams of fat and over 100 calories in just 2 tablespoons. See how even your salad can be detrimental to your diet? With a simple substitution, you save yourself from 5 grams of fat and an extra 50 calories.

Coconut Milk

All of those delicious creamy soups get their creamy goodness from (what else?) heavy cream. It's so easy to completely eliminate heavy cream from a soup not change the taste at all, that we can't figure out why more people don't do it! Replace the heavy cream in your recipe with half coconut milk and half chicken or vegetable stock. Swapping ingredients in this case will save you 5 grams of fat and over 40 calories.

Cooking Spray

Any time a recipe says to sauté anything, the first thing we do is reach for the butter or oil. Save yourself the calories by coating your pan with cooking spray and adding a teaspoon or less of olive oil. The cooking spray makes the oil thin as it heats, which means your cooking is not affected, but your diet is; in a very positive way. A single tablespoon of olive oil has a whopping 14 grams of fat and nearly 130 calories.

By cutting this in half and adding cooking spray (which has no fat or calories), you save yourself 10 grams of fat and over 80 calories. It's easy to see how changes so small they don't even affect your food can have a huge impact on your health and diet. By cutting only 117 calories each day, you will lose one pound every month.

To speed this up to a pound each week, cut your calorie intake by 250 calories per day and burn an extra 250 as well. This can be done with a simple hour long walk! Swapping ingredients is a great jump start to any diet, but it's also a long term change that will have a wonderful impact on your health.

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Updated October 26, 2011

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