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7 Food Swaps for Weight Loss

7 Food Swaps for Weight Loss
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 8 min read

Food Swaps for Weight Loss

When you're trying to lose weight, you definitely need to be careful about the foods that you eat. Making simple choices to swap out unhealthy foods for healthier alternatives can make a major difference and help you maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight. You have to be careful and conscientious about every decision that you make regarding what you eat, and you'll be amazed at how big of a difference it can make to change just a few of the unhealthy foods that you might be eating on a regular basis out for healthy options. Try some of these food swaps for weight loss if you've been looking for ideas on how to make your diet a little healthier.

Swap black coffee for sweetened coffee

Black coffee is thought to have some potential health benefits like a high antioxidant content, and it may even help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite. But, you lose the benefits of black coffee when you add tons of sweetener, cream and sugar. Most of the coffee drinks that you'll find at restaurants are just not healthy, and some of them have up to 400 or 500 calories or more with all of the heavy cream, sugar and other additives. Try drinking coffee black which is the most ideal way to consume it, but if you have to have a sweetener and milk, use skim milk and stevia as a sweetener. The amount of calories that this food swap can save you can be quite dramatic, especially if you drink sweetened coffee drinks on a regular basis.

Swap bread out entirely

Pretty much every type of bread is your enemy when it comes to weight loss, and simply swapping wheat bread for white bread is not going to work as well as you think. When you need to lose weight you'll want to pretty much completely avoid the bakery and every type of bread. Bread and grains spike your insulin levels because of how quickly they break down into glucose, and this spike in insulin will almost always cause weight gain unless you happen to be a very active person. Meals that are high in carbohydrates from bread or grains can very easily result in weight gain. Look for any healthy substitutes that you can for bread; for example instead of having a scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast, try an omelet with veggies and fruit.

Swap out storebought yogurt for plain yogurt and fruit

Most brands of storebought yogurt add tons of extra sugar and are far from healthy. The extra sugar will almost always cause weight gain, even if you are buying Greek yogurt or low fat yogurt. You can easily avoid the harmful effects of sugar in storebought yogurt when you purchase plain yogurt and add your own fresh fruit to it. It's very easy to make, and it can save you anywhere from 60 to 100 calories per serving. Avoid adding any extra sugar or sweeteners to your homemade yogurt if you are trying to lose weight.

Swap out high calorie soups for vegetable soup

There are several high calorie soups made with cream, butter and other fattening ingredients. For example, several types of tomato basil soup or broccoli and cheese soup can be just as bad as eating pizza and other high fat foods, and they can certainly cause weight gain even though they have vegetables in them. Look for healthier alternatives to your favorite soup recipes if they aren't very healthy. Vegetable soup or minestrone soup made with broth are some good alternatives, and in some cases you might have to make your own recipes, but it's well worth the extra effort and it can save you over 100 calories per serving.

Swap salad for unhealthy appetizers

Unhealthy appetizers like fried calamari, cheese sticks, chicken wings or other appetizers are a major source of weight gain. They are high in carbohydrates and fat and can sometimes be 400 to 500 calories in a few servings. When you're trying to lose weight, most restaurant appetizers are your worst enemy. In the best case scenario you should avoid most restaurant foods, but when you are eating out be sure to stick to salads only if you are ordering an appetizer. You'll also need to be careful to pick a healthy salad, but even an unhealthy salad is a far better option than most of the items you'll find on a standard appetizer menu.

Swap out pasta for spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is an excellent healthy alternative to pasta, and most people don't miss regular pasta once you get hooked. It has a very mild flavor and it works amazingly well with a wide range of pasta sauces. Try a few of the available spaghetti squash recipes the next time you plan on making pasta and see if you enjoy it. Pasta is one of the worst foods to eat when you are trying to lose weight for the same reasons that bread is, as it breaks down into glucose very quickly. Even whole wheat pasta isn't really a good option for you; try any type of squash or simply combine your pasta sauce with your favorite vegetables, but do whatever you can to avoid pasta altogether.

Swap out regular meat for organic

Organic meat such as organic chicken or grass fed organic beef has quite a substantial difference in quality, and when you are trying to lose weight it actually can make a major differences. Hormones, antibiotics and other harmful compounds in regular meat can cause a wide range of metabolic problems and make it more difficult for you to lose weight, or increase inflammation. It's always preferable to eat organic meat whenever possible. For example, grass fed beef has a higher ratio of beneficial omega 3 fatty acids, and it also has fewer calories per serving and less fat per serving than grain fed beef. Switching to grass fed beef can reduce your calorie consumption by a dramatic amount, up to 16,000 calories per year if you eat the same amount of beef as a typical American, and although you can expect to spend more money on it, it is well worth it for the health benefits.


This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.