7 Food Swaps That Will Help You Slim Down

Contrary to popular belief, you don't have to resort to a calorie-crash diet to see results quickly.
Cabbage or Collard Greens Instead of Bread

Summer means quick and easy sandwiches—less time in the kitchen and more time outside enjoying warm-weather activities! Avoid a postlunch energy crash by ditching your standard two slices of bread and instead wrapping your sandwich ingredients in a raw cabbage or collard-green leaf.

Carbs Avoided: 24

More Health Perks: Cabbage and collard greens promote healthy cholesterol levels. These cruciferous veggies also contain potent anticancer compounds.

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Summer Squash Instead of Hash Browns

Summer squash is a readily available, affordable substitute for carb-heavy potatoes. To prep, grate summer squash (zucchini or yellow summer squash), mix in an egg as a binder, work into patties, and fry in olive oil.

Carbs Avoided: About 15 grams per hash-brown patty

More Health Perks: Summer squash is a solid source of magnesium, a mood-regulating mineral that also protects heart health and reduces disease-promoting inflammation.

Spaghetti Squash Instead of Pasta

Switch out spaghetti for the noodlelike flesh of spaghetti squash and you'll enjoy the same consistency without the excess carbs.

Carbs Avoided: 30 grams per cup

More Health Perks: Winter squash is chock full of cancer-fighting antioxidants like alpha- and beta-carotene.

Cauliflower Instead of Potatoes

Potatoes are full of simple carbs that cause an unhealthy spike in blood sugar. Instead of mashed potatoes, try steaming fresh or frozen cauliflower, adding a bit of butter (the kind from cows raised on pasture is the healthiest), a bit of milk, and puree.

Carbs Avoided: 30 grams per cup

More Health Perks: Cauliflower is from the cruciferous vegetable family. People who ate just four servings of these vegetables a week slashed their risk of dying by 26 percent, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.

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Lettuce Instead of Hot Dog Buns

Don't let a starchy bun weigh down your summer cookouts! Instead, wrap your hot dogs in a nutrient-packed outer leaf of red- or green-leafed lettuce. Want extra crunch? Choose romaine.

Carbs Avoided: 19 grams

More Health Perks: Lettuce is loaded with isothiocyanate, lutein, zeaxanthin, and isoflavones, healthy compounds that protect against Alzheimer's, lung cancer, and macular degeneration.

Oatmeal Pancakes Instead of Flour Pancakes

Pancakes are a breakfast staple, but if you indulge in these refined-carb patties too often, you're likely to feel zonked by noon due to the food's energy-crashing effects. Instead, use a mixture of whole-grain oatmeal and protein-packed cottage cheese to create your own healthy pancake mix. Mix together half a cup of old-fashioned oatmeal, a quarter cup of low-fat cottage cheese, two eggs, and a dash each of vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Process in a blender until smooth. Cook the mixture like a regular pancake.

Carbs Avoided: 45 grams per pancake

More Health Perks: Add a tad of 100 percent pure maple syrup (not the kind sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup), and you'll be able to enjoy a pancake-light treat that also reduces inflammation and fights enzymes that can lead to diabetes.

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Portobello Instead of Pizza Crust

Forget that floury crust that wreaks havoc on your waistline and trade it for a nutrient-packed Portobello mushroom as a crust!

Carbs Avoided: 20 grams per slice

More Health Perks: Portobello mushrooms are bursting with selenium, a nutrient vital for immune-system health.

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