Nutrition Articles

Make Smart Substitutions

Trade Up Without the Big Tradeoff

Why do so many people regularly eat potato chips and guzzle soda? Taste is partly to blame, but a big reason might be that people don’t have any good replacements. The Spark Diet helps solve this problem with smart substitutions.

Smart substitutions are small (seriously) changes to your diet that can really add up. Did you know that by using one teaspoon of mustard instead of mayonnaise, you save 54 calories? Or that one cup of airpopped popcorn has 100 fewer calories than one cup of buttered popcorn?

Suppose for dinner you want a pasta dish. You could either have fettuccine alfredo or spaghetti with tomato sauce. Both sound good, don’t they? Well guess what – the fettuccine packs 426 more calories! By simply subbing in the spaghetti, you save a bunch of calories and still eat a great tasting meal.

This is the basis for smart substitutions. None of the changes are earth-shattering, but they make your calorie goal a lot easier to reach. Some of them you might even prefer (such as mustard over mayonnaise). You don’t have to sub out every single fatty or high calorie food you eat, but a change here and there can be dynamite.

You’ll be amazed at the difference it can make. Even if you don’t do it all the time, if you make smart food substitutions a habit, you can speed up weight loss without putting yourself in dieter’s prison.

Here are some more suggestions for smart substitutions. Feel free to find your own and incorporate them to your daily diet.
Instead of
  • Regular potato chips
  • Pudding
  • Ice cream
  • Cream
  • Whole milk
  • Nachos w/ the works
  • Chocolate
  • Bagel w/ cream cheese
  • Ground beef
  • Baked potato chips
  • Applesauce
  • Non-fat frozen yogurt
  • Evaporated milk
  • Skim milk
  • Tortilla chips & salsa
  • Cocoa
  • Apple slices w/ peanut butter
  • Ground turkey

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Member Comments

  • Hi all,

    Im am just starting to us the sparks diet and I am finding it really good.

    I have just start the finding time slot in fast break, which inc. substitues and at first I am finding things hard to comprimise but I am getting there. will be up to scratch in a week:)
  • I use most of these wonderful solutions. I will use more. Thank you.
    im so glad that i decided to join
    so many helpful suggestions in choices of food, exercises, and health a newbie and going to start my program on sunday (tommorrow)...tha
    nk you
  • Very helpful with the information provided thanks. Although alot of these recommendations I do I will try some of these as new ad-ons with my lifestyle change.
  • Kale chips are pretty good; greek yogurt with blueberries and a teaspoon of slivered almonds is a nice treat.
  • ESCHO81
    a helpful substitute for mayonnaise is greek yogurt :)
  • Most of these suggestions are helpful, but I was turned off at the start of the article. If you want something creamy, mustard is NOT a helpful substitute for mayonnaise and tomato sauce is NOT a helpful substitute for alfredo. I agree that these are better choices in general but they are not going to satisfy the same craving.
  • I always add EXTRA in-season veggies I have on hand or check the freezer for opened bags of frozen veggies that need finishing. I also use ONLY olive oil for any kind of frying or browning. Seasalt and garlic are my MAIN spices but I also use italian herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary etc) for flavor
  • I really appreciate all the work spark people do to help others make informed choices. Thanks for the great info!
  • It's great to make small, smart changes.
    In the article, the pasta example could confuse someone who needs this info. The caloric difference is NOT in the choice between fettuccine and spaghetti, the difference between tomato sauce and Alfredo sauce is where the huge difference in fat and calories lies.
  • small way to do it . great .
  • Great but simply ideas. Thanks!
  • This article hit the nail on the head.

    Cabbage isalso filling. Since I can't have vegetables/fruit that contains seeds or produce seeds. I find so many ways to cook cabbage. I even cook them in eggs.
    I've heard beans used in place of fat.
  • What a helpful article! I'll be incorporating a few of theses ideas pronto!
  • TABRAHAM2009

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