Simple Switch

17 Simple Switches to Save you up to 57 Pounds this New Year

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Let’s make this message simple: weight loss is complicated. In order to reach and keep a healthy weight, you must make changes that you can commit to for life. And you must at least consider food, exercise, sleep, emotional health, stress, occupation, and your environment.

SO, this post begins with a big caveat. While the focus is on swapping foods and highlighting calories, reaching a healthy weight requires so much more than calorie counting. Therefore, the calories listed in this post are simply meant to give you an illustration of how small choices can make a big impact over time.

Without further adieu, here are 17 swaps you can make this year that when combined, save up to 57 pounds worth of calories! 1

Swap out Sugary Drinks


Drinking sodas, juices, and energy drinks puts a lot of sugar in your body. In fact, one can of soda has the equivalent of 10 sugar packets. 2 Drinking sugary drinks puts you at risk for becoming overweight.

How to:
Use the nutrition facts panel to see whether your drink is full of sugar. Sugar is the 10th item on the panel, listed under Total Carbohydrates. It shows the number of grams of sugar per serving. But, check the serving size! Because some bottled beverages contain two or three servings, multiply the grams of sugar by the number of servings per container.


Simple Switches:

1. Choosing a can of seltzer over a daily cola each day will translate to saving 55,480 calories—over 15 pounds—in a year.

2. Instead of turning to an energy drink five times each week, choose a cup of green tea. Doing so will help prevent you from gaining over 8 pounds in calories this year.

3. Swap a daily lemonade for water with a squeeze of lemon to save 10 pounds worth of calories.

Substitute Refined for Whole Grains


Whole grains are full of valuable nutrients and fiber. Fiber is key to helping you feel full. Researchers from Harvard University recently found that people who swapped refined grains (like white rice, white pasta, and white bread) with whole grain versions reduced their risk of dying from heart disease.

How to:
Check out the ingredients label for the bread, rice, pasta, and other grains you buy. Make sure that the FIRST ingredient says “whole.” This includes: whole wheat, whole grain brown rice, whole grain oats, whole corn, etc.


Simple Switches:

4. Choosing a side of brown rice over white rice, (assuming you eat rice once per week) will help you avoid gaining ½ pound over a year, and adds a lot more total fiber to your diet.

5. Swapping white pasta for whole wheat pasta over the year, if you eat it as a side item once per week, prevents a little over ½ pound.

6. Save yourself almost ½ pound in calories this year (if you eat one slice daily) by switching from white to wheat bread. While ½ pound might not seem like much, it adds up!

Switch to Low Fat or Fat Free Milk

Whether you choose dairy or non-dairy milk, considering a low fat or fat free option will make a big difference in the long run. Not only will this reduce the number of calories you are consuming, but it also reduces saturated fat. The USDA recommends limiting saturated fat to 10% of your calories.

How to:
When you walk down the dairy aisle, look for milk and yogurt specifically labeled low (NOT reduced) fat. “Low” fat indicates that the food contains 3 grams of fat or less per serving.

Simple Switches:


7. Switch from two tablespoons of cream to low fat milk in your morning coffee. For those of us who drink coffee daily, switching to low fat milk will save 16,500 calories over a year, which translates to over 4 pounds!

8. Changing from whole milk yogurt to low fat yogurt, assuming you snack on it three days per week, prevents you from ½ pound over the year.

9. Swap a cup of whole to low fat milk in your cereal. If you eat cereal with whole milk five days per week, switching to low fat milk will help you avoid 4 pounds over a year.

Swap a Starchy Side Item for a Veggie

Most of us need more veggies in our lives. Vegetables are vitamin, mineral, and fiber powerhouses. Replace starchy side items like white pasta, white potatoes, and fried items with veggie alternatives.

How to:
Get creative! Replace your starchy ingredients with a vegetable. Or, if you want to keep your starchy side item, add veggies. For example, instead of a white rice pilaf, use brown rice, grated carrot, and frozen spinach for some extra flavor and bright color.

Simple Switches:

10. If you eat it once in a week, switching your starchy side of mashed potatoes to mashed cauliflower will prevent a gain of almost 2 pounds over the year.

11. Choose baked sweet potato fries over traditional French fries, if you eat them once per week, to avoid 1 extra pound this year.

12. Switch from once-a-week macaroni and cheese to broccoli cheese casserole for a savings of 2½ pounds in calories.

Satisfy your Taste Buds during Dessert

Dessert does not always have to be full of sugar to feel satisfying. Use the natural sugars in fruits to swindle your taste buds. A fresh, zesty tangerine after dinner can feel refreshing and satisfy your sweet tooth, while packing in a vitamin C and fiber punch.


Simple Switches:

13. Replace apple pie for baked apples and walnuts during your dessert for more fiber and less sugar. If you typically eat apple pie once per week, this switch can avoid a gain of ½ pound over the year.

14. Swap ice cream for nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt topped with canned crushed pineapple (in juice, not syrup!). The swap would save you close to 1 pound over a year, if you typically eat ice cream three days per week.

Cook (and Buy!) with a Discerning Eye


Whether you cook your own or order your meals, don’t be a slave to the recipe or the menu! With a discerning eye, you can lighten up and add flavor to heavy dishes. Be wary of these words: “crunchy,” “crispy,” “creamy,” and “buttery.”

Simple Switches:

15. Choosing roasted chicken over crispy chicken, if you normally eat it three times per week, saves you over 1½ pounds in a year.

16. Try topping your (whole grain) pasta with marinara instead of alfredo sauce. The change in sauce, for those of us who eat pasta once per week, can avoid up to ½ a pound!

17. Pour homemade nonfat yogurt dressing over your salad greens instead of bottled ranch to prevent over 3 pounds this year (assuming you eat salad with ranch five days per week)

What swaps have you made to achieve a healthier lifestyle?

Let us know by commenting below!

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  1. What do I mean by “saving” pounds? In a perfect world, if you lived the same life this year as you did last year (ate the same, slept the same, exercised the same, etc) and ONLY switched this one item, you would lose the “saved” pounds. Because we don’t live in a perfect world, these calculations are not a guarantee. Remember: this is meant to illustrate the big impact one simple swap could have!
  2. There are 40 grams of sugar in a typical can of cola, and a sugar packet contains about 4 grams of sugar
  • Anne

    Great suggestions, I drink only orginal unsweetened almond milk at 30 calories per 8 oz compared to skim milk at 90 calories per 8 oz, and it has 50% more calcium!

    • Wow, Anne. Sounds like it was a great swap for you. When did you make the switch? Have you seen a difference in your well-being since the change? Thanks for sharing!