Smart swaps to help you weigh less

Swap this food for that food. How smart is that?

If you’re swapping what you enjoy for something you barely can eat, it’s not smart at all. If you’re swapping a small serving of this so you can have a huge serving of that, may also be a not-so-good idea.

Smart swaps are when you swap one food you love for one you love even more because it tastes just as good, and is a better fit with your weight and health-related goals.

Here are a few examples of smart swaps.

Swap this                                                    For that                              Why      

prime rib                                                    filet mignon                      fewer calories

2-crust fruit pie                                          fruit cobbler                      fewer calories

manicotti                                                     lasagne                           fewer calories

1 cup serving (anything)                       1/2 cup serving                     fewer calories

Swapping one food for another is a smart strategy. It’s not smart if the swap isn’t satisfying.

Swapping prime rib for filet mignon is smarter than swapping it for a chicken breast. Yes, the chicken breast has less saturated fat and fewer calories, but it’s chicken. Chicken is delicious when it’s chicken you want, but sometimes you want beef. When you want beef, chicken leaves you dissatisfied.

Swapping filet mignon for prime rib is a smart strategy. You get that rich, tender satisfying beef but significantly cut the saturated fat and calories. If it’s really prime rib you want, the smart swap strategy is to swap the 12oz serving for 6.

The fat throughout this cut of meat gives it flavor, tenderness, and a lot of calories.

The fat throughout this cut of meat gives it flavor, tenderness, and a lot of calories.

This filet mignon is flavorful and tender too, but a much leaner cut of beef so it's got fewer calories because it has less saturated fat.

This filet mignon is flavorful and tender too, but a much leaner cut of beef so it’s got fewer calories because it has less saturated fat.

Breast of chicken has fewer calories and less fat than beef, but it tastes like, well, chicken. Chicken tastes good, but not when it's beef you want.

Breast of chicken has fewer calories and less fat than beef, but it tastes like, well, chicken. Chicken tastes good, but not when it’s beef you want.

If it’s apple pie you want, swapping it for apple cobbler is a smart strategy. They taste pretty much the same but you reduce the calories coming from the double crust because cobbler is mostly filling and it’s more apples and less sugar than pie filling. Swapping a dessert of apple pie for an apple, may not be so smart.

Apples are a smart snacking swap, but may not deliver the satisfaction you expect to get from dessert. Another smart swap is swap a full serving for half of a serving. That’s probably all that’s needed to satiate when dessert is following a full meal.

In the mood for an Italian favorite? Swap manicotti for lasagna. Manicotti is large pasta tubes filled with ricotta cheese and baked with a red sauce and topped with gooey cheese. The red sauce may be marinara or a meat sauce. All the cheese makes for a lot of calories.

Lasagna tastes very much like manicotti, although less creamy, but cheesy enough to satisfy the cheese lovers. If it’s really manicotti you want, another smart swap is more salad and cut your serving in half so that you get 50% fewer calories.

What’s the smartest swap of all?

The smartest swap might be eating your first choice foods, but just less of it!

eat less

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.