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Switcheroo: Healthy Alternatives for Bad-for-You Foods

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Give up great tasting food to stay svelte? No way! In fact, you can enjoy delicious food—and more of it—and stay bikini-ready long after swimsuit season comes to a close for most of us Betties. Just follow my “no ‘diet’ food required” ideas to indulge in savory and sweet favorites during all of your autumn activities. 


Screen Cuisine—Reality TV Watching and Game-Day Gatherings 
1. Hummus is nutritious, but the calories can add up quickly. Plan hummus and other beans into meals instead of for light snacking and have 160 calories to spare. 


  • Instead of: 15 pita chips with 1/2 cup hummus (380 calories)
  • Swap with: 20 blue corn tortilla chips with 1/2 cup salsa (220 calories) 


2. It takes more fatty dressing to coat macaroni than potatoes. Savor potato salad plus a veggie side to save 150 calories. 


  • Instead of: 1 1/2 cups classic creamy macaroni salad (590 calories)
  • Swap with: 1 1/2 cups home-style potato salad and 6 cherry tomatoes, halved, and sprinkled with balsamic vinegar and fresh basil (440 calories) 


3. Cup per cup strawberries have fewer calories than grapes; ounce per ounce goat cheese has fewer calories than brie. Follow this rule-and relish more-while cutting 140 calories. 


  • Instead of: 2 cups grapes and 2 3/4 ounce Brie cheese (470 calories)
  • Swap with: 2 1/4 cups strawberries and 3 ounces soft goat cheese (330 calories) 


4. Sip wine the more hydrating and slimmer way to slash 140 calories by way of 0 calorie fizzy H20. 


  • Instead of: 2 (6-ounce) glasses white wine (280 calories)
  • Swap with: 2 (8-ounce) glasses light white wine spritzer: 5 ounces seltzer water + 3 ounces wine + orange slice for garnish each (70 calories each; 140 calories) 


Total savings = 590 calories! 


Laptop Lunches—Back-to-Work Routine or Fuss-Free Weekend Fix
1. Bagel chips contain lots of hidden fat. Save 180 calories by munching on more SunChips, which have nothing to hide. 


  • Instead of: 20 plain bagel chips (400 calories)
  • Swap with: 25 SunChips (220 calories) 


2. Have a more filling sandwich by pumping up its volume with veggies and fluffier egg salad instead of dense PB&J. Cut 210 calories without cutting satisfaction. 


  • Instead of: PB&J sandwich: 3 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 tablespoons jelly on whole wheat (530 calories)
  • Swap with: egg salad sandwich: 1/3 cup egg salad, 1 cup arugula, 3 tomato slices, and 2 onion slices on whole wheat (320 calories) 


3. Muffins have enough calories to be a full meal, albeit not a balanced one. Rather, bite into a much better-for-your-bod fruit-n-cereal bar. You can have juicy fresh fruit, too. All for a whopping 280 fewer calories! 


  • Instead of: 1 bakery-style blueberry muffin (510 calories)
  • Swap with: 1 SOYJOY bar and 1 cup fresh blueberries (230 calories)


4. Sure, yogurt is a healthful food, but its sugar calories add up quickly. Choose cottage cheese as your best bet to avoid an extra 150 calories-and that dreaded “cottage cheese” appearance on your thighs. 
  • Instead of: 8 ounces fruit-flavored low-fat yogurt with 3 tablespoons Grape-Nuts cereal (310 calories)
  • Swap with: 8 ounces low fat cottage cheese and 1/4 cup diced cantaloupe (160 calories) 


Total savings = 820 calories! 


Outdoor Eats—Backyard Barbecues or Tailgate Parties
1. Opting for veggie burgers instead of the beefy kind and plant-based toppings instead of cheese is better for the planet and for you. It’s tastier for your palate, too, as you can load on divine toppings-and still save 160 calories. 


  • Instead of: Quarter pound cheeseburger on bun with 2 teaspoons ketchup (480 calories)
  • Swap with: Veggie burger on bun with 1 cup salad greens, 2 slices avocado, 2 slices onion, 2 teaspoons ketchup, and 1 teaspoon mayo (320 calories) 


2. Consider baked beans as an occasional food. When corn is in season, it’s the slimmer pick-with butter! You can even add a helping of homemade slaw and still be 150 calories better off. 


  • Instead of: 1 cup baked beans (340 calories)
  • Swap with: 1 ear grilled corn with 1 teaspoon butter and 3/4 cup cole slaw (190 calories) 


3. You don’t need to pass up the sweetest part of a cookout. Cookies have sugar and fat; marshmallows just have sugar. You’ll cut 150 calories by indulging in a dozen of these gooey grilled treats for the tastebuds.


  • Instead of: 2 (1 1/2-ounce each) homemade chocolate chip cookies (420 calories)
  • Swap with: 12 large toasted marshmallows (270 calories) 


4. Have more spirit at the bash by opting for a bit of spirits instead of straight-up way-too-sweet party punch. The fact that you’ll sip 130 fewer calories is cause for more partying. 


  • Instead of: 2 cups fruit punch (220 calories)
  • Swap with: 2 tall glasses spiked punch: 1 1/2 cups seltzer water + 1 ounce fruit punch + 1/2 ounce splash of vodka + fresh mint and lime wedge garnish each (45 calories each; 90 calories)


Total savings = 590 calories! 


Finger Foods—Swanky soirées or Not-So-Glamorous Get-Togethers

1. Have twice the savory picks on sticks by picking shellfish over poultry-and dipping into a high flavor sauce that’s naturally low in fat. You’ll downsize 150 calories by doing so. 


  • Instead of: 2 (2-ounce each) grilled chicken breast skewers with 3 tablespoons Thai peanut sauce (290 calories)
  • Swap with: 3 (6 large shrimp each) grilled shrimp skewers with 3 tablespoons spicy cocktail sauce (140 calories) 


2. Get triple the nutty pleasure by counting on pistachios instead of uber-rich macadamias—and you’ll have 180 calories less to count. 


  • Instead of: 20 macadamia nuts (370 calories)
  • Swap with: 60 pistachios (190 calories) 


3. Pâté is passé. Be more politically-and calorically-correct by indulging in velvety guacamole. You’ll save an animal and save 200 calories. 


  • Instead of: 3 1/2 ounces smoked goose liver pâté (460 calories)
  • Swap with: 1/2 cup (4 ounces) guacamole and 1 cup red bell pepper strips (260 calories) 


4. Beer can be sexy when served and sipped properly … especially since it comes in at 160 slimmer calories than a sugary cocktail. 


  • Instead of: 1 (10-ounce) Mojito cocktail (260 calories)
  • Swap with: 1 (12-ounce) light beer (100 calories) 


Total savings = 690 calories! 


So eat more food, more flavorfully, and be around 2700 calories slimmer, by … well, eating. Then, repeat! 


By Jackie Newgent, RD for Betty Confidential 

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