I have preached time and time again that whole, nutrient dense foods are of the utmost importance when it comes to weight loss. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains should always be the majority of your diet—they will keep you fuller longer, supply your body with energy, and overall just make you feel better.
Many people find weight loss to be difficult and boring due to eating the same foods over and over again. Luckily, as health and nutrition have been on the rise within these past few years, many companies are coming out with healthy alternatives to some of the foods that we love most.
Below you will find some of my favorite healthy alternatives to typical higher caloric foods. Incorporating these into your diet will not only liven things up a bit, but will still allow you to stay on track and achieve your weight loss goals.
Nutrition: 45 calories per 2 tablespoons, 1.5g fat, 5g carb, 5g protein, and 1g sugar.
Compared to Regular Peanut Butter: 190 calories per 2 tablespoons, 16g fat, 7g carb, 7g protein and 3g sugars.
While regular peanut butter does have health benefits, it is definitely something that can be easy to overdo. If your anything like me, it is not uncommon to have the urge to grab a spoon and eat it straight from the jar. PB2 is an incredible alternative to peanut butter because it lacks the excess added sugars and hydrogenated oils. PB2 is a powdered peanut butter containing only roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt. To prepare it, simply combine two parts PB2 to one part water, and stir. Although it is not as thick and creamy as normal peanut butter, it does not lack taste and has become a staple in my diet. I love it on top of oatmeal for breakfast or paired with an apple as an afternoon snack.
*Purchase at any grocery store. (or if you’re like me, save some money and buy in bulk on Groupon—yes, I eat this that much).
- Halo Top Ice Cream
Nutrition (Vanilla Bean flavor): 60 calories per ½ cup, 2g fat, 14g carb, 6g protein.
Compared to Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla Ice Cream: 250 calories per ½ cup, 16g fat, 21g carb, 4g protein.
If I was an angel and I could sing, I would sing about this ice cream. Let me tell you, Halo Top Ice Cream is a gift and one that we should be thankful for. I have tried many low calorie ice creams and none even compare to this one. Halo Top has definitely made a name for themselves because unlike their competitors, these actually taste good. All of their ice creams are low-sugar, low-carb, low-fat, and high protein. I promise, you will not even be able to tell that the ice cream you are eating is low calorie. Although it is on more of the pricier side at around $5 a pint, if you are in need of a treat this is well worth it. Of the flavors I have tried, Vanilla Bean has been my favorite, however they just came out with a lot of new fun flavors like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Peanut Butter Cup, Sea Salt Caramel, and more. You better believe I will be getting my hands on Peanut Butter Cup soon.
*I have purchased mine at Kroger, but Whole Foods seems to have the best selection. Go to https://www.halotop.com/where-to-buy/ to find a location near you.
- La Croix
Nutrition: 0 calories per 12 oz can, 0g fat, 0g carb, 0g protein.
Compared to Regular Coke: 140 calories per 12 oz can, 0g fat, 39g carb, 0g protein.
You might have read this and thought “basic white girl”, however please let me finish. Soda consists completely of empty calories, processed sugars, and chemicals. Not only are all of these things detrimental when it comes to weight loss, but soda has been linked to higher blood pressure, and damages to your teeth and bones. Long story short, avoid it at all costs. La Croix is simply sparkling water with flavors derived from the natural essence oils from whichever fruit is named in the flavor. La Croix will give you a similar experience as drinking soda due to the carbonation, without all of the negative effects.
*Purchase at any grocery store.
- Silk Almond Milk Hazelnut Creamer
Nutrition: 15 calories per 1 tablespoon, 0g fat, 3g carb, 0g protein.
Compared to Nestle Coffee-Mate Hazelnut Creamer: 35 calories per 1 tablespoon, 1.5g fat, 5g carb, 0g protein.
Although these comparisons might not look like much, coffee creamer is another item that is often overdone. Your morning cup of coffee could be something you do not even think twice about, but what you put in it should definitely be something you consider. Even a small pour of regular creamer can add up to easily be 100 calories, which is significant if you are in a calorie deficit (to put this in perspective: it would take you approximately 10 minutes of running on the treadmill to burn that off, no thank you).
My sister introduced me to this creamer, which is lower in calories and fat, without lacking taste. Portion sizes are extremely important when it comes to tracking your intake and calories, so take the time to measure everything using measuring cups and spoons. You may be surprised what an actual serving size is compared to what you are used to, but reading labels and measuring will give you insight to proper amounts and what you should be consuming.
*Purchase at any grocery store.
- Lean Cuisine Vermont White Cheddar Mac and Cheese
Nutrition: 260 calories per one container, 6g fat, 35g carb, 14g protein.
Compared to Marie Calendar’s Mac & Cheese: 380 calories per one cup, 21g of fat, 33g of carb, 14g of protein.
Any of my nutrition professors would probably faint, have a heart attack, or want to strangle me if they saw that I was recommending a frozen meal item to be a part of your diet… but I like to live life on the edge. Frozen meals are known to have very high amounts of sodium and truly, the less processed, the better. With that being said, if you occasionally crave comfort food and maybe feeling a little bit lazy (me, lazy? Never)—this is a good option compared to some of the rest. It is lower in fat than most and has a good amount of protein as well. The portion size is large and will definitely keep you satisfied due to its creamy texture and richness. Pair this with a green vegetable to make me feel a little bit better about recommending it, please.
Happy eating 🙂