Healthy Swaps

Cauliflower pizzaThe world of food is definitely full of nutritional roadblocks and landmines. I know it’s hard to not indulge in some of the fatty, sugar-high snacks and treats that surround us. As a nutritionist, I always tell my clients that it’s important to live their lives, and not their diets.

I have some tricks to make it easier to get the most out of healthy foods in a way that won’t break your calorie bank or your wallet. A lot of times, people don’t realize that small tweaks to already delicious foods, such as ingredient substitutions, can make a HUGE difference. Below are some great trades you can make to have delicious food that’s still good for you.


Drop the carbs, not the taste, by whipping up a cauliflower crust-based pizza! Simply chop cauliflower florets, pulse in a food processor and saute in a skillet. Mix the cauliflower with an egg to bind it and then spread out into a crust. Top with skim milk cheese and your favorite veggie toppings for a filling pizza night that is lighter on calories, but not on taste. The same crust can also be made into gooey cheesy bread by topping with mozzarella cheese, oregano and minced garlic!


Clients often find it hard to give up the notion of breaded chicken and vegetables in parmesan dishes. But instead of bread crumbs, use unprocessed bran or crushed fiber cereal. I also really like Aleia's Gluten Free Italian Bread Crumbs.

Sour Cream

Sizzling fajitas without a creamy topping are no fun at all! Instead of sour cream, use 2 percent Greek yogurt to cool down that jalapeno flavor without as many calories.


Swap carb-laden pancake batter for a packet of plain instant oatmeal, egg whites, cinnamon and cottage cheese.

Salad Dressing

Salad dressings are typically oil-based, loaded with sugar and high in calories. Start making your own dressings by using nut or seed butters as the base, and flavoring with lemon juice, salt, pepper, honey and vinegar. The dressing may end up at the same calorie level, but you'll be skipping hydrogenated oils, sugar and preservatives.

Chicken Salad

When making tuna or chicken salad, substitute 1 tablespoon of hummus for regular mayo. You'll still have the creaminess of a salad and save about 40-50 calories. I like Sabra — they have so many flavors to choose from!


You can actually swap butter for avocado. Bake with pureed avocados instead of butter and you'll save 75% of the calories. Warn your kids beforehand that their typical blueberry muffins may look a little green.


Opt for flavored soy milk instead of flavored syrups in coffee. Three pumps of flavored syrup (the amount typically in a tall) pack in 60 calories. You can use 1/4 cup of vanilla soy milk for only 30 calories and still get a hint of flavor.

These are easy, simple tricks that will help you save loads of calories. Happy swapping!

Heather Bauer, RD CDN
Heather Bauer, RD CDN


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