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5 Food Swaps For Weight Loss

5 Food Swaps For Weight Loss
By Joy Bauer, PARADE

Just because you're trying to lose weight doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite foods.

Even red meat, nuts, and salad dressings are OK--if you choose right. With these easy tweaks, your taste buds and your scale will thank you.

Eating a bran or carrot muffin in the morning may seem like a good idea, but don't be fooled. These healthy-sounding options often are loaded with sugar, fats, and oils. Most store-bought muffins also have been super-sized to epic proportions. Raisin bran muffins at some popular chains can clock in at more than 400 calories.

A Swap for Muffins
A whole-wheat English muffin has 130 calories and good-for-you fiber. For added protein and a touch of sweetness, add a table­spoon of peanut butter.

Fruit Smoothies
Sure, all that fruit makes smoothies healthier than a milk shake, but your waist doesn't know the difference between the calories from bananas and soy milk and those from ice cream and chocolate syrup. In fact, some popular options have over 800 calories--more than fast-food shakes!

A Swap for Fruit Smoothies
You still can enjoy smoothies--just order smart or make your own. Light and all-fruit options are usually closer to 200 calories. Or try pureeing a sliced banana, one cup of strawberries, one cup of skim milk, and ice to taste. This healthy homemade concoction contains about 230 calories and is packed with vitamins and antioxidants.

Red Meat
When you’re in caveman mode and nothing but red meat will satisfy, you may be tempted to pick up super-fatty, calorific cuts like some brisket or chuck. Don't do it! You can have your steak and eat it too if you go for a lower-calorie choice.

A Swap for Red Meat
The words "loin" or "round" are a tip-off that you've found a less-fattening option. Three ounces of eye of round or top sirloin contain about 140 calories, while the same amount of brisket or chuck contains more than 300 calories.

Salad Dressing
One tablespoon of oil has more than 100 calories of pure fat, and mixing it with vinegar doesn't make a difference. Now think about how much you typically pour on, and suddenly your healthy bowl of greens is a major fat trap.

A Swap for Salad Dressing
Whoever invented vegetable-oil sprays deserves a special place in the Diet Hall of Fame. A few spritzes have about 10 calories and are enough to coat your salad without weighing it down. There also are many flavors of spray salad dressings that are just as low-cal. Just remember not to overspray.

For years, people avoided nuts--too high in calories, we were told, way too much fat. Then the tide turned, and nuts were the "it" food--loaded with protein and healthy fats. That's true, but they can still really pack on the pounds.

A Swap for Nuts
You still can enjoy nuts while watching your weight if you "dilute" them with something that has a lot of volume but fewer calories. Try mixing them with air-popped popcorn, healthy dry cereal, or a handful of pretzel nugget.

5 Food Swaps For Weight Loss


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