Simple Swaps

Many customers that I work with at Hy-Vee seem to believe the only way to achieve weight loss and a healthy lifestyle is to go through a complete (and painful) overhaul of their diet.  The dream up their perfect eating scenarios…”I’ll get up and run 4 miles, eat a healthy smoothie for breakfast, have loads of veggies at lunch and dinner and end the day with a simple square of dark chocolate as a treat.”  While I applaud their desire to adhere to a healthy regimen, most individuals that go from zero to sixty (processed food & inactive to clean eating & training for a 10K) end up throwing up their hands in disgust around day three.


So, instead, I try to coax my nutrition counseling customers to think of things in small, manageable choices.   Small steps really can lead to big results over time and can lead to much less frustration compared to the first scenario.  One of my favorite things to teach is how to make simple swaps to save calories and saturated fat and add tons of fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  And you can do all this while still keeping all the wonderful flavor.  Check out my favorite ideas below!


Cut carbohydrates; Add Vitamin C, Vitamin K, B Vitamins & Fiber


  •  Use as a rice substitute
    •  1 cup white rice = 242 calories, 53 grams carbs
    •  1 cup cauliflower rice= 95 calories, 13 grams carbs
    •  YOU SAVE – 147 calories, 40 grams carbs
  •  Use as a mashed potato substitute
    •  1 cup mashed potatoes (homemade with whole milk and butter) = 237 calories, 35 grams carbs
    •  1 cup mashed cauliflower = 61 calories, 8 grams carbs
    •  YOU SAVE –  176 calories, 27 grams carb
  •  Use as to make a pizza crust
    •  1/2 Boboli 12′ pizza crust = 541 calories, 96 grams carbs
    •  1/2 cauliflower pizza crust = 98 calories, 8 grams carbs
    •  YOU SAVE – 442 calories, 88 grams carbs
  • I’m also a huge fan of using this recipe for Vegan Mac n’ “Cheese” and using steam cauliflower florets in replacement of the noodles!


Add heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, Vitamin C, Vitamin K & Fiber


  • Use as a butter swap in cookies (Check out this avocado cookie recipe!  It’s my favorite.)
    •  1 cup butter = 1628 calories, 184 grams fat (116 grams saturated)
    •  1 cup mashed avocado = 384 calories, 35 grams fat (5 grams saturated)
    •  YOU SAVE – 1244 calories, 149 grams fat (111 grams saturated)
  • Use as a sandwich or wrap spread (Greek avocado sandwich…yummmmm)
    •  2 Tablespoons mayo = 180 calories, 20 grams fat (3 grams saturated)
    •  2 Tablespoons mashed avocado = 24 calories, 2 grams carbs (0.3 grams saturated)
    •  YOU SAVE – 156 calories, 18 grams fat (2.7 grams saturated)
  • Another great idea – Avocado Pasta.  And the recipe only takes 15 minutes!


Add antioxidants, fiber, protein, B Vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium & zinc


  • Make black bean brownies!
    •  1 serving traditional brownies made with mix = 180 calories, 8 grams fat
    •   1 serving black bean brownies made with mix = 162 calories, 4 grams carbs
    •  YOU SAVE – 15 calories, 4 grams fat…More importantly you add filling fiber and protein


A super versatile super food full of omega 3 fatty acids, soluble fiber, iron, calcium & antioxidants


  • Sub chia seeds for butter in recipes (Vegan Chia Chocolate Chip Cookies anyone?)
    •  Combine 1 Tbsp of chia seeds with 9 Tbsp of water and let sit for 15 minutes. You will have a gel to use for replacing fat. **aim to replace 1⁄2 the fat in the recipe
    •   1⁄2 cup canola oil = 964 calories, 109 grams fat
    •  1⁄2 cup chia seed gel = 50 calories, 3 grams fat
    • YOU SAVE – 914 calories, 106 grams fat
  • Sub chia seeds for eggs in recipes
    •  Mix 1 Tbsp chia with 3 Tbsp water per egg
    •   1 egg = 70 calories
    •  1 chia replacement = 50 calories
    • YOU SAVE – 20 calories…but more importantly you add fiber and omega 3 fat

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is a creamy product that is surprisingly fat free. It is a great source of protein, probiotics, & calcium.


  • 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt –> Save 359 calories, 48 grams fat
  • 1 cup oil = 3/4 cup Greek yogurt –> Save 1827 calories, 218 grams fat
  • 1 cup butter = 1/4 cup Greek yogurt + 1/2 cup butter –> Save 847 calories, 92 grams fat
  • 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup Greek yogurt –> Save 1300 calories, 159 grams fat
  • 1 cup cream cheese = 1 cup Greek yogurt –> Save 677 calories, 81 grams fat


This low-calorie squash is a great source of fiber and also contains potassium, Vitamin C, iron, calcium, & zinc


I hope you try a couple of these swaps.  They are really fun to experiment with…at least I think so.  I’ve tried most of the recipes I linked you to and have had great results.  Let me know if you come across other great swap ideas!

– Lindsay


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s