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10 Easy Food alternatives to Help You Lose Weight

 Losing weight is not an easy thing to do. It requires a lot of dedication, hard work and discipline, particularly when temptations are all around. Nevertheless, being on a 'diet' need not mean that you must endure rice cakes and misery. Rather than going the full mile, tweak your meals with some smart choices and a little advance preparation. Doing so will ensure that you avoid hundreds of hidden calories and lose that extra stubborn weight. 

 

To help you do this, Nutrition guru and blogger Amanda Meixner built a huge social media following based on a number of smart choices. In fact, her advice and clever diet tips have proved to be a huge hit on Instagram, where she has over 700K followers. So, if you'd like to see a change in your body, follow these simple food swaps and healthy alternatives instead. 

 
1. Add these healthy substitutes to your routine
food swaps
A simple swap can make all the difference. A milk chocolate bar contains 44g of carbs and 41g of sugar, just 2g of fiber and 370 calories. Switching to dark chocolate would mean that you get 13g of carbs, 6g of sugar, 5g of fiber and 250 calories. Another great swap would be vegetable for olive oil. Vegetable and canola oils are highly processed, heated, bleached, refined and deodorized.
Due to the high heat, they are stripped off much of their omega-3 fatty acids. Alternatively, extra virgin olive oil is produced by cold pressing and doesn't use chemicals for refinement. It also avoids high heat treatment, leaving it full of heart-healthy fats. Sour cream adds about 40 calories and 6g of fat per quarter cup. But it doesn't add much from a nutritional standpoint. So opt for guacamole which will add antioxidants, about 4g of fiber, potassium and more per quarter cup. 
2. Same amount of calories, but which would you rather have?
food swaps
The first is a medium strawberry shake from a fast food chain that will set you back 590 calories. Alternatively, for the same amount of calories you can opt for a giant salad which includes 4 cups of spinach, 2 cups of cauliflower, 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, 1/2 orange bell pepper, 2 eggs, 3 oz kimchi, 2 beets, 1/2 avocado, 2 tablespoons balsamic, 1 cup whole strawberries. 
3. Make smart food choices
food swaps
Sometimes its great to treat yourself, but be aware of what you are getting. You can either opt for 15 jelly beans at 140 calories or, choose something more wholesome. For the same amount of calories, you can have 1 cup pineapple, 1/2 cup blueberries, 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds. 
4. What does it mean to start a new diet?
food swaps
A clean healthy lifestyle is all about loving yourself. And this doesn't mean that you have to make drastic changes overnight. When dieting, think of small, lasting tweaks that will eventually become a natural part of your day to day eating habits. 
5. Who said you need to stop eating chocolate?
food swaps
Ask yourself what you are hungry for? Sometimes, choosing the less healthy option can not only be more satisfying, it can save you a lot of calories. Sometimes, while trying to satisfy our cravings with healthy food, we end up by finding a way to consume more calories.
6. These swaps will save your waistline and your health
food swaps
The top row is full of processed foods, bad oils and loads of sugar. Meanwhile, the bottom row contains less processed and lower-calorie foods. So, swap your chips for some popcorn. Just 9 chips contain 150 calories 9g of fat, 16g carbs and contains sunflower/vegetable oil and fillers. While 3 cups of popcorn are only 93 calories and contain just the one ingredient: popcorn.
Meanwhile, frappuccinos are basically sugar bombs. A grande mocha with 2% milk contains 61g of sugar and 400 calories while an unsweetened iced coffee with coconut milk contains 25 calories and 2g of sugar. Rather than opting for a burger bun, choose a burger lettuce wrap which will save you the extra processed carbs. 
7. Feeling good also means treating yourself to the food you want to eat
food swaps
Feeling good is not only about eating clean. Treating yourself every once in a while will satisfy your cravings. And if you do binge eat, simply forgive yourself and get back to your healthy eating routine. 
 
8. Take note of these healthy swaps
food swaps
Instead of regular ranch dressing, which is full of inflammatory and artificial ingredients, including canola oil, added sugar, MSG and artificial flavors, opt for paleo ranch which is full of real, organic food and cage-free eggs. Ready orange juice is a sugar bomb with no fiber. Oranges, on the other hand, contain 87 calories per orange and 4.4g of fiber. The last item may seem a bit out of place. Iceberg lettuce is still good for you but spinach has 223% (DV), Vitamin K, 28% Vitamin A. 14% Vitamin C, 18% Folate + more minerals compared to a measly 7% vitamin A & 3% vitamin C in iceberg lettuce. 
9. Choose wisely
food swaps
The calories are just a small part of the picture. Fast food contains a number of chemicals - high fructose corn syrup which can lead to fatty liver and eventually diabetes and vegetable oil, the process of which involves pressing, heating various chemicals and highly toxic solvents. This can increase your risk of heart disease. 
10. Brown rice versus white rice
food swaps
In its natural form, rice is actually brown rice with the germ and bran removed. Though both have pros and cons. The macronutrient and calorie contents of the two are relatively the same. Brown rice is a great source of manganese, selenium, and magnesium. During the white rice production, a lot of its nutrients are stripped away leaving it with few essential nutrients.
But, brown rice contains phytic acid, which while it does offer some health benefits, it reduces your body's ability to absorb iron and zinc. White rice contains a much higher glycemic index (GI) which measures how quickly a particular food increases blood sugar. White rice has a GI of 89, while brown rice, a GI of 50/ This can be significant to diabetics and those with insulin resistance. White rice is also easier to digest and is great for refueling muscles with glycogen post-workout. 
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