The easiest diet ever

Try these low-calorie versions of your favourite foods, and watch the pounds drop off

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Cutting calories works: Eat 500 less a day, and you’ll lose a pound a week. Sound hard? It doesn’t have to be, especially if you substitute with great-tasting, low-cal, filling alternatives. “Healthier options can often be just as satisfying”, says Kelowna-based registered dietitian Brenda Davis. Get inspired with these five 100-calorie swaps:

Ditch your juice
One of the easiest ways to cut your calories is to drink water frequently. To ease into it, opt for vegetable instead of fruit juice. A cup of tomato juice has only 50 calories, compared to the 120 calories in a cup of orange juice, and “green juice” made of ingredients such as kale, cucumber, and celery, can have as few as 30. “Plus, it’s packed with vitamins and antioxidants,” adds Davis.

Try muesli instead of granola
Substituting a bowl of granola for a bowl of muesli is an easy way to cut more than 100 calories at breakfast. Composed of mostly the same ingredients, granola is typically drizzled with honey and oil then baked, making it higher in sugar, fat, and calories than muesli. “Muesli is just as delicious and is an extremely popular breakfast in Europe,” says Davis. “Just pour milk or yogurt on top and let it soak overnight, and top it off with fresh berries in the morning.”

Change your spread
Instead of butter in your next wrap or sandwich, try salsa instead. According to Toronto registered dietitian Carol Harrison, you’ll cut out 98 calories per tablespoon. “You’ll still get that bit of moisture and you’ll add a lot of taste,” she says.

Make vegetable pasta
Forfeiting a bowl of spaghetti for a plate of spaghetti squash can satiate your pasta cravings while sparing you up to 150 calories. Cook it, then scrape out the stringy insides with a fork, and add your regular toppings. “You can have a nice, big portion size topped with your favourite sauce and vegetables,” says Calgary registered dietitian Sharla Stoffman.  

Have a healthy dessert
It’s not impossible to please your sweet tooth and be healthy. Start with a bunch of frozen bananas and blend them with a little soymilk and some berries in a high-power blender. “It’s just like soft-serve ice cream,” says Davis. “It’s absolutely delicious, and half the calories, if that, of regular ice cream.”