40 Easy Food Substitutions To Cut Calories and Lose Weight

One of my cornerstones of success to losing 90 pounds and keeping them off has been making smart food substitutions that taste great, are better for you, and cut calories all at the same time.

I personally use every single one of these substitutions and stand by each one!

High Calorie Drink Substitutions

Sweet Tooth Substitutions

  • Milkshake – Chocolate Protein Powder, Banana, Ice, and Milk of your choice
  • Candy – Red Grapes, Fresh or Frozen if you want a bit of a chew, Raisins if you want portability
  • Apple Pie – Baked Apples from the Microwave, or sauteed with a touch of oil, seasoned with cinnamon
  • Ice Cream – Freeze bananas, add cocoa and vanilla extract, puree, eat with a smile
  • Sugary Popsicles – Mash up and flavor your own fruit – and freeze in Popsicle Molds
  • Cookies  – Sliced Banana with cocoa powder or a light drizzle of maple syrup
  • Juice – Smoothie with Banana and frozen fruit of your choice, vanilla extract

High Carb Substitutions

  • Spaghetti – Spaghetti Squash
  • Pizza Crust or Bread – Low Calorie Tortilla
  • Tortilla Chips – Celery is great for chunky salsas/dips like Pico de Gallo
  • Pizza or Marinara Sauce – Classico Roasted Garlic Pasta Sauce or sliced tomatoes, basil, and italian seasoning with salt, very light olive oil
  • French Fries – Roasted Carrot or Sweet Potato Sticks
  • Store Bought Bread – DIY No Knead Bread – but replace half of the flour with Vital Wheat Gluten Flour, and add 1T of Sugar.  Adding 3G of lysine will make it a more complete protein but it’s completely optional
  • White Rice – Grated and Steamed Cauliflower or Quinoa
  • Mashed Potatoes – Again Steamed and Mashed Cauliflower to the rescue
  • Tortilla Wraps – Large Lettuce Leaves
  • Almost Any Carb -Try veggies such as Broccoli Florets, Carrot Sticks, Celery Sticks, Sliced Bell Peppers.  Carbs are basically edible utensils and you can season them the same way you season carbs
  • Croutons – add naked coleslaw mix to salads to get a crunch
  • Crackers – Sliced Cucumber  with salt or spices
  • Oatmeal – Quinoa

High Fat Substitutions

  • Peanut Butter – PB2
  • Velveeta – Heidi Ho Cheese Sauce
  • Tortilla Chips – Cut up 2 corn tortillas, lightly spray with spray oil – bake 15 minutes.  Bonus – No little crumbs left over
  • Full Fat Salad Dressing – Clinton Kelly’s Mustard Viniagrette, but go light on the oil, or just a straight balsamic vinegar with light oil
  • Sauced Vegetable Steamers from the Grocery Store – Any Unseasoned/Unflavored Veg, Fresh or Frozen, Nuked in a Microwave Vegetable Steamer, with virtually any spice blend.  I like Weber Kick N’ Chicken Seasoning
  • Nuts – Dry Roasted Edamame– 100 Calories, 8 grams of protein, keep a pack in your purse, desk, car, next to your bed, never go stale, add salt if you like
  • Full Fat Brownies – Brownie Mix with Pureed Black Beans as literally the only added ingredient – I will never make brownies the other way again, even if I don’t care about cutting calories, it’s that good.  Recipe here.
  • Chicken Noodle Soup as Comfort Food – Cup of Hot Water with Better Than Bouillion; Vegetable Base stirred in
  • Custard Filled Donut – Jell-O Instant Pudding in Vanilla, use Almond Milk to cut calories further
  • Oil for non-stick pan purposes – many times water will do just as well
  • Potato Chips – Popcorn from a Microwave Popper, after it’s done add as little oil as you can get away with and salt, or Nutritional Yeast instead of cheese powder
  • Mayonnaise – half of an avocado mashed up or mustard
  • Cream Sauces – Cashew Based Sauces – Here’s a super easy base recipe
  • 1 LB of ground beef – one cup of dry Textured Vegetable Protein and one cup of boiling water
  • Ranch Dip – Salsa

You’ll notice I didn’t include any high protein swaps.  That’s because eating high protein is good for you when you’re in a caloric deficit 🙂

You might also notice this list is vegan!  🙂  So keep it in mind if you’re ever jonesing to try a Meatless Monday.

This is just a start!  There are almost always ways to make a super swap and still remain satisfied.

Ponder what you eat – are there any swaps you could make to eat healthier?  Is there a food or recipe that you’re searching for a substitute for? Drop me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out!

You might also like other posts I’ve written about weight loss.

Wishing You Success,


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