Habits are formed over time. Change is gradual.

“Healthy” does not mean your meals have to be boring. Whether you need to cut back on carbs, fats or calories, or you just want better choices for your meal prep, there are ways to still enjoy your favorite foods without resorting to rice cake blah-ness.

All changes take time. Here are 7 ways to reduce your carbs, fats, and/or calories, but still enjoy some of your favorite foods.

1. Pasta- substitute spaghetti squash or zucchini spirals.

Pasta is comfort food, we all know that. You’re probably surprised I didn’t mention whole wheat pasta. Personally, I don’t like the taste of whole wheat pasta, and it’s hard to cook properly. Using spaghetti squash or zucchini spirals is a great way to cut the carbs and get some extra veggies into your body.

2. Taco flour tortillas- substitute corn tortillas, jicama, or lettuce wraps.

Flour tortillas taste the best, but are also packed with carbs, even more than a slice of bread. Luckily, there are a few choices for this hand-favorite food: Corn tortillas have less calories and are gluten-free. Jicama is a root vegetable. Slice it thin, blanche it in hot water to make it plyable, and you have a veggie alternative to those carb loaded food holders. Lettuce wraps are also a healthy alternative.

3. Ice cream- substitute a bowl of fruit.

Sometimes we just want something sweet. Sorbet may sound like a good alternative because it’s fat free, but it is also high in sugar. Fruit that’s high in calcium is much healthier in so many ways. Did you know that calcium helps with weight management? It’s true! Kiwi, oranges, tangerines, figs, apricots are great snacks that contain calcium. Don’t have these? That’s ok. A bowl of your favorite fruit will still be fat free and full of vitamins.

4. Sour cream- substitute yoghurt with lemon juice.

I don’t know who named this stuff “sour cream”, but it is awesome! Still, it has some fat and calories that are easy to avoid. Mix Greek yoghurt with some lemon juice and you have a healthier alternative that also adds protein to your dish.

5. Mayo- substitute avocado or hummus.

I’ve never been a fan of mayo, so this was never a problem for me, but some sandwiches do need a little something to not be so dry. Substitute mashed avocado or hummus as a healthy alternative. (Avocado has healthy fats.)

6. Cake frosting- substitute whipped cream.

Have your cake and eat it too! Holidays and birthdays can still be celebrated with a tasty topping. Make your own whipped cream (don’t get the store stuff), and mix in vanilla extract, cinnamon, or a few drops of a juice concentrate to give your sweets a zing!

7. Salt-substitute seasonings.

We use salt on way too many things. Experiment with seasonings instead. Oregano, chili powder or even crushed mint will spice up vegetables and meat better than salt ever could.

So as you can see, there’s plenty of ways to cut the calories without cutting out flavor. Take some time to experiment in the kitchen and let me know what other substitutes and alternatives you discover!

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