Since deciding to count macros as part of my lifestyle (not going to say diet because this is permanent) I have learned several tricks to cooking to save on calories. I will say that all of these substitutions are so subtle in a meal that none of my family realizes it is any different than it ever used to be! I decided to share because I think this is important. Why add extra calories when it isn’t necessary? So here are a few of my most used substitutes.
Calorie free cooking sprays. I use zero calorie olive oil cooking spray all the time! Any time a recipe insists on pouring in the olive oil, I will just use a quick spray. It has always worked just as well for me in most situations. In some cases you may actually need olive oil (for sautéing maybe) but a lot of the time I can use a spray as a substitute. I use it daily to make my eggs every morning. This can really help keep the fat content of a recipe down without the added oils or butter!
Sugar substitutes. A lot of people have a sugar substitute of preference. Mine is stevia. It does take time to adjust to all sugar substitutes and stevia is no different. However, any time a recipe calls for sugar you can use a substitute and most likely it will go unnoticed!
Fat free cheeses. I use these quite a bit. They may not melt quite the same but in my opinion the taste isn’t all that different. Kraft makes a fat free cheddar cheese. One serving is 2g of carbs and 9g of protein. That is a pretty good macro profile! Same with cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese. Unless you need the extra fat these are all good options to keep fat and carbs low but protein high 😊
Go lean. I always pick the leanest kind of meat for any recipe I make. My family has been eating 93/7 ground beef for as long as I can remember. I use it for everything I make that requires burger. It tastes just as good but without the extra grease and fat. This is the same for ground turkey and steak. Save the fat for something better. Like peanut butter. 😃
Fat free milk. My family drinks 1% so this is what I use most of the time in recipes. I drink Fairlife (fat free) which I swear tastes amazingly exactly like real regular milk. Any time I make a shake or dessert for myself I use Fairlife because it has no fat, less carbs, and more protein. I also use fat free half and half for my coffee and any time a recipe calls for it. So far I haven’t noticed a difference in any meal by using it in place of regular half and half.
Butter spray. I can’t believe it’s not butter makes a spray butter. Honestly I have no idea what makes it taste like butter but I swear it does. And it has no macros. So I spray it on anything I used to put butter or margarine on. Toast, bagels, veggies. My family uses it too and no complaints!
Peanut butter. I try to eat real peanut butter any time I can but sometimes the fat is too high to fit my protocol for the day. This is when I turn to PB Fit powder. You can find it in any grocery aisle near the regular peanut butter. It has far less fat and you can still get the same flavor out of it. If you are making something that requires a butter consistency just add a little water to the powder to make a creamy consistency. And voila, peanut butter 😀
I think I could go on and on with this so I may add to this list at a later time. But I just want to say that when you are reading a recipe try to be open minded with the ingredients. It definitely doesn’t have to be black and white! Don’t be afraid to substitute and save calories where you can!