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Eight Easy Swaps to Cut Cals and Boost Health

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Healthy Eating related image Photo: Getty Images

I hate diets. Not only do I detest them, I also suck at them. When I tell myself I'm not allowed something, I usually end up bingeing on that something as soon as the sun sets. Instead of starving and banning, I've decided to make simple swaps so I feel less like I'm die-eting and more like I'm living.

1. White rice for brown rice (or quinoa): One of the easiest swaps to make is to switch out white rice for brown rice for a double-dose of heart-healthy fiber. Up the healthy ante even more with quinoa, which has 15 fewer carbs, 60 percent more protein and 25 percent more fiber than even brown rice does.

2. Sour cream for Greek yogurt: As creamy and delicious as sour cream is, it's also full of fat. To get the creaminess without the fat, swap sour cream with fat-free Greek yogurt.

3. Regular mayo for light mayo (or avocado): A dry sandwich is b-o-r-i-n-g. Light mayo is an easy switch from regular mayo without sacrificing too much taste. To add in a punch of taste and a serving of heart-healthy fat, slather your bread with a quarter of an avocado.

4. Croutons for nuts: We all know what happens when you eat too many carbs. Instead of sabotaging your mixed greens, top 'em with nuts instead. Full of good cholesterol and crunch, they're the perfect salad topper.

5. Cocktails for red wine: Instead of downing sugar- and carb-filled margaritas on your next girls night out, opt for a glass of red instead. Red wine has a fraction of the carbs and calories of a mixed drink and a healthy dose of antioxidants.

6. Ground beef for ground turkey: It's no new news that red meat is full of saturated fat and cholesterol. Ground turkey has half the fat of 85 percent lean ground beef. If you can't commit to going totally turkey, make a fifty-fifty swap.

7. Tortilla chips and popcorn: When air-popped at home, popcorn has 80 percent less fat than tortilla chips and twice as much fiber. Stay way from the movie theatre stuff though; it's nothing but a bucket of bad news.

8. Soda for water: If you're a soda drinker, ditching the fizz is the easiest, most effective swap you can make.

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EmpowHER Guest

i love your tips! i don't think u have to completely swap out cocktails for red wine, though...when i want a cocktail on a nice summer day, it's all im going to be thinking about. i heard about this new low cal vodka called voli vodka that has a lot less cals than other vodkas. swapping voli with the higher cal vodkas might be worth a shot, especially on a hot summer day :)

May 22, 2011 - 9:05pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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