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Cutting calories on white backgroundDieting isn’t easy, but it should be extremely difficult either. They key to creating a dieting plan that is both easy to follow, as well as delicious, is to replace your usual high calorie options with tasty lower calorie alternatives. This allows you to thrive on the comfort of some sense of normalcy, whole also enjoying the benefits of eating food that still tastes great. No one wants to continue to eat a diet that tastes like cardboard. It’s harder to stick to a diet when you’re constantly craving a food or flavor you just can’t have. While these simple lower calorie replacement options can’t completely knock out your craving for certain foods, it can provide you with alternatives that don’t ask you to sacrifice taste. An added bonus? They also don’t ask you to sacrifice feeling satisfied after a meal.

Ditch the Mayonnaise for Something Green

No, I’m not going to tell you to throw lettuce on your salad instead of mayo. You’re not going to be stuck with a dry sandwich that is no fun. Instead, slice up an avocado, give it a little smash, and spread it on your sandwich in place of mayo. You’ll still get that nice smooth, rich flavor that mayonnaise offers, but you’ll be cutting the calories significantly. Additionally, avocados are loaded with healthy fats that are great for your body. Don’t eat an entire avocado, but you can be pretty liberal with it.

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Milk Alternatives

You may not realize it, but milk as quite a few calories. Whether it be milk with cereal, milk with morning toast, or milk with coffee, your milk habit is adding unnecessary calories to your daily diet. ¼ cup of 1% milk has 26 calories in it, so you’re probably adding around 26 calories to every cup of coffee you have. If you’re eating cereal, you may be adding more than that. Milk does have nutritional benefits to offer, but you’ll want to cash in on those in moderation, and try to get essentials like calcium from other sources, when possible. If you can limit the milk you consume on a daily basis, great! You’ll be cutting a fair amount of calories from your diet. If you don’t think cutting milk will be easy, replace it with almond milk. Almond milk offers fewer calories than even skim milk. ¼ cup of original almond milk contains only 15 calories. If sweetness isn’t your think, you can cut even more calories by using unsweetened almond milk which contains only 10 calories for ¼ cup.

More Creative Mashes

Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes? The creamy goodness of mashed potatoes is both delicious and comforting, but are you aware of just how many calories you’re taking in when you eat them? Calorie counts on mashed potatoes only go up if you add butter, milk, or cheese. And, let’s face, who doesn’t add at least one of these things? Instead of using potatoes for your mashed side dish, try mashing up cauliflower. The consistency is a bit different, but so is the calorie count! You’ll find that you’re able to free up some calories to indulge in dessert every now and again, or just allow your waistline to reap the benefits.

If you aren’t looking to cut potatoes entirely, why not cut the amount of potatoes in half by mixing your mashed potatoes with cauliflower? Don’t like cauliflower, try mashing parsnips instead. Both cauliflower and parsnips are a great option either alone, or in conjunction with potatoes and both will significantly lower the calorie count of your side dish.

Try Alternative Wrapping Methods

Nearly every wrap we use contains a lot of calories, and these are the main pitfalls of things like sandwiches, lasagna, tacos, etc. Re-imagine your routine and try some alternatives to bread, tortillas, and noodles. You don’t have to do it all the time, but replacing three to four starchy meals a day with less starchy options will greatly reduce your overall calorie count.

So, what can you use instead? Well, try making lettuce wraps instead of sandwiches. Use zucchini instead of lasagna noodles. Sub spaghetti squash for spaghetti noodles. Roll sushi in thinly sliced cucumber. Build your tacos in lettuce, or sub the tortilla of your enchilada with a hollowed out tomato.

If you’re going to stick with bread, be sure to go with whole grains like whole wheat. For tortillas, stick with corn, and for noodles, opt for vegetable noodles (like tomato or spinach) when possible. Every little calorie cut counts!

Greek Yogurt to the Rescue!

Greek yogurt has risen to popularity, and for good reason! It tastes great, it blends well with your favorite fruits, and better still, you can use it in everyday cooking. Replace sour cream, or other heavy creams in cooking, with Greek yogurt. The consistency is fairly similar, and plain greek yogurt even has a nice tangy flavor, so the flavors mesh well with many of the items we generally use sour cream with. Greek yogurt offers fewer grams of fat, as well as significantly more protein, so it keeps you feeling fuller while still reducing your caloric intake.