10 smart swaps that will save you hundreds of calories



THE BIG BENEFITS: Lower the calories in your favorite spinach dip recipe by swapping the cream cheese or sour cream for plain fat-free Greek yogurt. “You get more protein and some calcium — and save on calories and saturated fat,” says Christy Brissette, MS, RD, owner of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago. Reduce calories even further by trading crackers and bread for sliced carrots, bell peppers and zucchini.

5. SWAP: SUGAR FOR SPICES IN GLAZED HAM

SAVE: 25-PLUS CALORIES PER SERVING

THE BIG BENEFITS: Rather than glazing your ham with a sugar-packed sauce, halve the sugar and add some low-calorie sweet spices like cinnamon.

6. SWAP: CHEESE SAUCE FOR PUREED SPLIT PEAS IN MAC AND CHEESE

SAVE: 100-PLUS CALORIES PER SERVING

THE BIG BENEFITS: Here’s a mac-and-cheese swap you likely don’t know about: Replace up to half the cheese sauce for pureed yellow split peas. In addition to lowering the calories, you’ll take in more fiber, helping to keep you fuller for longer.

 A Moscow mule can have as much as 6 teaspoons of sugar per drink. Anna Pustynnikova / Shutterstock
7. SWAP: BUTTER FOR AVOCADO IN BROWNIES

SAVE: 150 TO 180 CALORIES PER 2 TABLESPOONS

THE BIG BENEFITS: “Delicious in recipes like red velvet cupcakes, brownies or gingerbread muffins, use a one-to-one ratio of avocado to butter,” advises Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition in Atlanta, Georgia. “That means that for every 2 tablespoons of butter swapped, you’ll save 150 calories.” Make the same swap for shortening, and you’ll save 180 calories!

8. SWAP: BUTTER FOR GREEK YOGURT IN MUFFINS

SAVE: 35-PLUS CALORIES PER MUFFIN

THE BIG BENEFITS: Simply swap half the butter for low-fat or fat-free plain Greek yogurt in your favorite muffin or quick bread recipe — or whip up a muffin recipe already featuring Greek yogurt and less butter. Then reduce the sugar by a quarter and add ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract.

9. SWAP: SYRUP FOR A RUNNY EGG ON A PANCAKE STACK

SAVE: 140 CALORIES PER PANCAKE STACK

THE BIG BENEFITS: Pancakes are a must for holiday breakfasts, but save some calories — and add filling protein to your meal — by topping your stack with a runny egg instead of a quarter cup of syrup.

10. SWAP: OIL FOR VEGETABLE BROTH IN SAUTÉED VEGGIES

SAVE: 50-PLUS CALORIES PER SERVING

THE BIG BENEFITS: Even veggies can use a makeover: Skip the oil, instead sautéing veggies (think onions, mushrooms and more!) in low-sodium vegetable broth.

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