Small changes can add up to big calorie savings. That means less pain (from feeling deprived) AND less gain. Watch the scale numbers finally fall with these simple food swaps.

Cauliflower “couscous”
A recent issue of Vegetarian Times includes a recipe for Cauliflower Couscous with black lentils and heirloom greens. Sounds interesting! You can use a food processer to grind cauliflower into tiny grains for a nutrient-packed couscous alternative that’s great if you’re going gluten or grain free. Short on time or no food processor on hand? The Green Giant brand sells cauliflower crumbles in the frozen vegetable section. Use them as an easy calorie saving swap for lots of things including mock mashed potatoes and pizza crust. Yes, you can make pizza crust with cauliflower!

Keep the veggie theme going…get a spiralizer and make noodles of zucchini or use spaghetti squash as a stand in for your favorite pasta dishes.

Greek yogurt
Try a substitute for the sour cream you love. Get the same creaminess and tang from Greek yogurt. Not only will you save calories you’ll also get an extra dose of protein, which promotes satiety (so you feel more satisfied) and supports muscle production. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even when you are at rest.

English muffins in a stack, isolated on white background.

Whole wheat English muffins
Have one instead of your usual morning bagel with cream cheese. Smooth it with peanut butter or a few avocado slices. English muffins are also a good stand in for hamburger buns where they will also save you a few calories. You can also enjoy your sandwich on a small tortilla instead of bread. Must have bread? Enjoy open faced and skip the top slice. Skip the mayo while you’re at it and reach for virtually calorie free mustard instead.

Try popcorn (brands such as Skinny Pop or air-pop at home) instead of potato chips for a satisfying crunch with less than half the calories. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, or cayenne pepper instead of butter to add zing without too many calories and fat.

Tonic water with lemon
Water with a squeeze of lemon won’t just save you calories over sugary soda, you’ll also get a good doze of vitamin C. Vitamin C gives your skin a little extra love and boosts your immune system, too.

Go for salsa instead of cheese dip
A dose of bright veggies livens up crisp chips coated with just the right amount of salt. Enjoy the fun of chips and dip without the scale tipping fat.

Oil and vinegar or a squeeze of lemon
Commercial dressings have so much fat and so many calories that your salad isn’t nearly as virtuous as you think. Spritz with balsamic vinegar and olive oil for healthy fat and huge taste.

Simple food swaps can save you calories painlessly. Use these tips and look for more ways to save calories at every meal. Saving just 500 calories each day will help you lose about a pound per week. Be creative and make a game of it. When you find ways to cut calories and keep the flavors you crave, you win.