Fitness Nutrition Forums

Calorie Saving Substitutions

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If you eat more calories than your body needs, your body will inevitable store them as excess weight. The trick is to reduce your calorie intake without feeling like you are depriving yourself - and you don't want to cut out foods that provide nutrition in the process. Take a look at some of your food choices to see if there are ways you can swap out some unnecessary calories with lower-calorie options.

Eat This

Not That

Spaghetti Squash


Two cups of baked spaghetti squash have only 80 calories. To prepare, just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and bake in the oven until tender. Use a fork to scrape out the spaghetti-like stands, and top with your favorite tomato sauce.


Two cups of regular spaghetti have over 400 calories! The majority of these calories convert to sugar quickly in your body and do not supply you with much nutrition. Try eating a smaller portion of pasta and mixing in spaghetti squash for volume.

Collard Wraps

Wheat Wraps

Dark leafy greens are among the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. This means you get tons of vitamins and minerals for minimal calories. One leaf has a negligible 10 calories. Cut out the tough inner stem, and you've got two wraps to fill with your favorite sandwich fillings.

One medium tortilla has around 160 calories. Like spaghetti, refined wheat products like this are nutrient-poor choices. They give you very little nutrition for the amount of calories they contain. Any kind of leafy green can be a substitute for a piece of bread - try topping romaine leaves with hummus or tuna salad.

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed Potatoes

One cup of cooked cauliflower has only around 40 calories. With this low number, you can enjoy several cups! Steam until very tender, and then mash them up with your favorite seasonings.

One cup of cooked potato has about 114 calories. Many recipes call for added butter and milk, increases the calories even more. Leave these out, and season them with no-calorie spices.

Kale Chips

Potato Chips

I know they sound weird, but they are surprisingly delicious! Simply break up a bunch of kale, toss with seasonings and a bit of olive oil, and bake at 350 degrees until crisp. As with other leafy greens, the calorie content in kale is extremely low - the only ones you have to watch here are from the olive oil. Half a tablespoon will only set you back about 60 calories.

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One small bag or one serving is usually around 150 calories with a lot of unhealthy fat. And who ever eats only one serving? It's easy to consume several hundred calories of chips in no time. Go with the kale, and you can eat the whole tray!

Sparkling Water


Sparkling water offers zero calories and all of the fizz! If you are a soda-craver, switching to plain water can be tough. For carbonation, try a calorie-free sparkling water flavored with lemon, orange, or raspberry or real fruit juice. For unlimited soda, invest in a siphon or other appliance designed to carbonate water.

At about 150 calories per 12 oz. can, drinking sugar water like this is a sure way to deprive your body of real nutrition. Eliminate the empty calories from soda and other sweet beverages to allow room for more nutritious foods.

Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition

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