It’s not news that achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Being overweight puts you at an increased risk for a variety of diseases and makes it difficult to live an active, happy life. While weight loss sounds like a simple equation (reduce overall calories and expend more energy), we all know it’s easier said than done. Losing weight and keeping it off is an ongoing process and consistency is key. What you may not realize is that making small changes to your diet on a regular basis can make a big difference. Cutting back on calories and fat just a little bit by choosing healthier substitutions can help you drop those unwanted pounds. It’s important to remember, though, that no matter what you’re eating, portion control is essential, so even if you’re swapping in yogurt for sour cream, stick to the appropriate serving size. Consider these 9 substitutions to help you eat healthier and lose weight. The bonus? Most of the time, you won’t even notice a difference in taste! SKIP THIS Butter ½ cup, 800 calories, 90g fat SUBSTITUTE THAT! Applesauce ½ cup, 50 calories, 0g fat You can almost always use applesauce in place of butter in baked goods, and they’ll turn out just as delicious even with the substantial calorie and fat difference. Mashed bananas and avocados can also be used as substitutes for butter in other recipes. SKIP THIS Mayonnaise ½ cup, 720 calories, 80g fat SUBSTITUTE THAT! Mashed Avocado ½ cup, 184 calories, 17g fat (2.5 saturated, 11 monounsaturated, 2g polyunsaturated) Use mashed avocado instead of mayonnaise as a spread on sandwiches or wraps. It’s creamy and adds great taste. Plus, avocado is packed with “good” fats, which aids in lowering cholesterol. SKIP THIS Instant Mashed Potatoes with Butter and Milk 0.7 cup, 150 calories, 7g fat SUBSTITUTE THAT! Whipped Cauliflower ½ cup, 75 calories, 2g fat Whipped cauliflower is about half the calories and a third of the fat of mashed potatoes. The cauliflower also has a lot more fiber than white potatoes, so you won’t feel the need for seconds or thirds. For that buttery flavor, try adding a little Smart Balance Butter to your whipped cauliflower. SKIP THIS All Purpose White Flour Whole 1 cup, 455 calories, 3.4g fiber SUBSTITUTE THAT! Wheat Flour 1 cup, 407 calories, 14.6g fiber While there isn’t a significant difference in calorie or fat content, whole wheat flour is much better for you than white flour, as white flour is considered a “refined” carbohydrate. The process of refining a food removes the fiber along with most of the nutritional value (vitamins and minerals), and foods with refined carbohydrates have been linked to type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and some types of cancers. This includes sugar, sweets, soda, sugary cereals, white rice, white pasta and white flour products. Reduce or eliminate refined carbohydrates in your diet whenever possible. Go whole grain! SKIP THIS White Spaghetti 2 ounces, 200 calories, 1g fat, 41g carbs SUBSTITUTE THAT! Spiralized Zucchini “noodles” 1 zucchini, 33 calories , 0g fat, 6g carbs Look at the huge difference in the amount of calories and total carbohydrates between the zucchini and the regular pasta. Does it taste just like spaghetti? No, but with the veggie pasta, there is so much room to add even more vegetables, a protein, some light sauce or even low-fat cheese. It tastes delicious, and it’s so much better for you! If you just can’t part with pasta, at least convert to whole grain noodles. (Check out this spiralizer!) SKIP THIS Coconut Oil 1 tablespoon, 117 calories, 14g fat (12g saturated) SUBSTITUTE THAT! Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 tablespoon, 120 calories, 14g fat (10g monounsaturated, 2g saturated) While you may opt for coconut oil over butter, it is high in saturated fat, which has been linked to increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Canola oil and olive oil are good sources of unsaturated fats, which have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. SKIP THIS Sour Cream 1 cup, 492 calories, 48g fat SUBSTITUTE THAT! Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt 1 cup, 130 calories, 0g fat Greek yogurt is an extremely versatile, healthy option and can be substituted for many foods. Besides sour cream, use it in place of mayonnaise, oil, butter, cream cheese and buttermilk. Check out all the substitution possibilities in this Chobani conversion chart. SKIP THIS Peanut Butter 2 tablespoons, 190 calories, 16g fat SUBSTITUTE THAT! PB2 2 tablespoons, 45 calories, 1.5g fat We all love peanut butter, but sometimes it’s hard to control our portions. Try PB2 instead. You’ll save a lot of calories and fat, but still get to enjoy the peanutty spread. Put it on whole wheat toast for breakfast or dip fruit in it as a healthy snack! SKIP THIS Granulated Sugar 1 cup, 774 calories, 192g sugar SUBSTITUTE THAT! Splenda Sugar Blend ½ cup, 387 calories, 96g sugar Splenda Sugar Blend works great in a variety of baked goods – banana bread, cake, cookies and so on. You’ll still get the sweet result that you do with granulated sugar. Remember, this substitution only calls for half the amount. Want more? You might also like: 9 Ridiculously Yummy Heart-Healthy Dishes You Need to Try Are You a Healthy Omnivore, Flexible Vegetarian, or Modern Vegan? Discover Your Nutritional Style Healthy Comfort Foods? Yes! 9 Recipes Top Bloggers Are Cooking Right Now 10 Superfoods for a Happy, Healthy GutNote: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.