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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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All the Flavor with All of the Benefits

Simple and healthy alternatives to high-calorie counterparts.

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Bowl of cocoa powder.Cutting calories doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite flavors. Try substituting these simple and healthier alternatives for their high-calorie counterparts.

  • Get the flavor of bacon in your recipe without all the fat. Instead, use paprika, peppercorns, or smoked salt, which all have a much longer shelf life.
  • Try truffle oil or truffle salt. A little goes a long way, and is great on popcorn!
  • Satisfy your chocolate cravings by using cocoa powder instead of baking chocolate in soufflés and cakes. Baking chocolate has about 70 calories per half-square, while cocoa powder has only 12 calories per tablespoon plus all of the great flavor and health benefits.
  • Replace cream cheese with protein-packed Greek yogurt. Strain the plain yogurt with a coffee filter and use as a low-calorie option for your spread. If you’re feeling adventurous, try adding different herbs to give it more of a flavorful kick. Chopped green onions or a little strawberry jam mixed in can go a long way.
  • Cut down on oil intake by using vinegar instead. Play with the various flavored vinegars that are offered in your grocery store. For example, Balsamic vinegar can be used in many sauces and marinades, and champagne vinegar adds a sweet touch to homemade salad dressing.
  • Swap traditional ground beef with beans in your favorite Mexican dish. Beans are a great replacement for meat and add lots of fiber and protein—just don’t forget the Beano (you'll thank me later!) Check out my blog article for more info. on beans and their various health benefits. 

Don’t get discouraged if you’re trying to cut down on calories. These creative alternatives offer all of the health benefits—and all of the flavor—of your favorite tastes, proving that you don’t have to stop eating what you love in order to lose a little weight.

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Tags: Cooking Healthy , Healthy Eating , Healthy Fats

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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