Food Substitutions

Breads | Fruit | Milk | Vegetables | Free Foods | Beverages | "No-Fuss Left-Overs" | Sandwiches | Frozen Entrees


One serving of bread is equal to approximately 80 calories. But what is one serving of bread? Following are several examples:

½ bagel (approximately 1 oz)
2 slices of reduced calorie bread
½ English muffin
1 slice of raisin bread
1 slice of white bread
1 waffle, reduced-fat (4.5 in square)
½ cup of cooked oatmeal
½ cup of cream of wheat
½ cup of cooked grits
½ cup of sugar-frosted cereal
¾ cup of unsweetened cereal
8 animal crackers
3 graham crackers
½ cup of rice (cooked)
½ cup of pasta (cooked)
8 reduced-fat classic golden crackers

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One serving of fruit is equal to approximately 60 calories. But what is one serving of fruit? Following are several examples:

1 (4 oz) apple
½ cup applesauce
½ cup canned apricots
4 whole apricots
1 small banana (4 oz)
¾ cup of blueberries
¾ cup of blackberries
1 cup cubed cantaloupe
12 fresh cherries
½ cup fruit cocktail (choose fruit cocktail packed in "light syrup" to save calories)
½ large grapefruit
17 grapes (3 oz)
1 slice honeydew melon
1 cup cubed honeydew melon
1 (3.5 oz) kiwi
½ small mango
1 small orange
½ papaya
1 cup cubed papaya
1 medium peach
½ cup canned peaches
½ large pear
½ cup canned pears
¾ cup fresh pineapple
½ cup canned pineapple
2 small plums
1 cup raspberries
1 ¼ cup whole strawberries
2 small tangerines
1 slice watermelon
1 ¼ cup cubed watermelon

100% "fruit juice" (not to be confused with a "fruit drink") also counts towards a fruit serving:

½ cup apple juice
1/3 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1 cup reduced-calorie cranberry juice cocktail
½ cup grapefruit juice
½ cup orange juice
½ cup grape juice
½ cup white grape juice

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1 cup of whole milk 150 calories
1 cup of low-fat (2%) milk 120 calories
1 cup skim milk 90 calories
1 cup non-fat yogurt (or low-fat 90 calories
yogurt sweetened with a
low-calorie sweetener)
1 cup low-fat yogurt 120 calories

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Vegetables are relatively low in calories. In fact one serving of vegetables contains just 25 calories. One serving of vegetables is equal to ½ cup cooked vegetables or 1 cup of raw vegetables.

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Free Foods

Free foods are those foods that contain 20 calories or less. These include:

coffee, black, sweetened with sugar substitute
green, herbal or regular tea sweetened with sugar substitute
diet soft drinks
1 tbsp fat-free cream cheese
1 tbsp non-dairy creamer
1 tbsp fat-free mayonnaise
1 tsp reduced-fat mayonnaise
4 tbsp fat-free margarine
1 tsp reduced-fat margarine
cooking spray
1 tbsp fat-free dressing
¼ cup salsa
1 tbsp fat-free sour cream
1 tsp "light" jam or jelly
2 tbsp sugar-free syrup
low-calorie sweeteners (sugar substitutes such as Equal®, NatraTaste®, Sweet 'N Low®, Sweet One®)
sugar-free gum and candies (watch portions)
salt, pepper, herbs and spices

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Many beverages contain calories including soda, fruit drinks and fruit juices. However, some drinks are reduced in calories such as diet sodas (zero calories) and low-calorie fruit juices/drinks. Additionally, tea and coffee can be low in calories, depending on the way they are prepared. Tea and coffee can be sweetened with sugar substitutes and non-dairy creamer without adding excess calories. On the other hand, adding sugar and creamers such as half and half significantly increase the calories. If you include sugar and/or creamers in your coffee, tea or other food or beverage, you should include these calories when figuring your overall caloric intake total.

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"No-Fuss Left-Overs"

Many of the meal plans contain "No-Fuss Left-Overs." Left-overs are a great way to ensure that food is not wasted - giving you the most bang for your buck. Left-overs can also be nutritious and they are "no-fuss" - meaning you don't have to cook anything extra for tomorrow's lunch. You can just put the extra helpings in a plastic container. The next morning - just grab and go! If you want to substitute a different food for the "No-Fuss Leftovers" listed in the meal plan, go to the original recipe to determine the amount of calories per serving and then choose another food with a similar calorie content using the Food Calorie Calculator.

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Sandwiches make a great meal. But beware, not all sandwiches are created equal. If you would prefer to eat a different sandwich than what is listed on your Meal Plan, you can use the Food Calorie Calculator to determine the fat and calories in various sandwiches. If making your own, choose low-calorie and low-fat condiments such as low-fat mayonnaise and mustard. Add lean meats (and low-fat cheese, if desired) and go heavy on the veggies to give your sandwich an added boost (without all the fat and calories). If you are eating at the local deli, be sure to keep an eye on the portion sizes. If necessary, save the other half for later. The following healthy versions of traditional sandwiches can be found throughout the Meal Plans:

Chicken Salad Pita Sandwich 195 calories
Italian Grilled Cheese and Tomato Sandwich 241 calories
Roast Beef and Horseradish Sandwich 334 calories
Ham Sandwich 245 calories
Tuna Salad Pita Sandwich 222 calories
Tuna Salad Sandwich 295 calories
Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich 216 calories

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Frozen Entrees

Frozen entrees make convenient meals. You should be sure to check the labels as the calorie level can vary substantially between brands. Choose lower fat and lower calorie versions of your favorite meals - there are many different varieties. You may have also noticed that many lines are now offering larger portion sizes. Look for the entrees that have increased their size by increasing the amount of vegetables. You should also be aware that frozen entrees may contain large amounts of sodium. If you think you may be "salt sensitive," be sure to check the label. If there is a certain food that you don't like and would like to substitute it with something else, frozen entrees are a great option. Simply choose an entree with a similar calorie level.