Cut Your Calorie Intake with Low-cal Food Substitutions

How to cut out hundreds of calories daily without depriving yourself of your favourite foods

Credit: Flickr/ulterior epicure

Choose fat-free cheeses for big calorie savings

A dietary approach to weight loss that constantly leaves you feeling deprived of your favourite foods is doomed to failure. But a little creative substitution can save a whole lot of calories without deprivation

Nothing makes you desire a food more than thinking you can’t have it. That’s why a well-rounded diet that includes modest amounts of occasional treats is much more likely to help you achieve your objective. 

Successful weight loss also doesn’t have to involve making revolutionary changes to what you eat.

If you’re already eating a reasonably varied diet, even small adjustments can dramatically cut calories without essentially changing anything. It’s about making the right choices. Here are 10 simple examples:.

Favourite Food vs. Calorie-cutting Choice


  • 3 oz./85 g skinless turkey, dark meat = 159 calories
  • 3 oz./85 g skinless turkey, white meat
 = 115 calories


1 cup/250 mL 2% milk = 128 calories
  • 1 cup/250 mL 1% milk = 108 calories


1 egg = 78 calories
  • 2 egg whites =


  • 1 cup/250 mL cranberry cocktail = 155 calories
  • 1 cup/250 mL half water/half cocktail = 76 calories


2 slices of whole wheat bread (traditional sandwich) = 140 calories
  • 1 slice of whole wheat bread
 (open face sandwich)
 = 70


  • 1 cup/250 mL Frosted Flakes = 140 calories
  • 1 cup/250 mL Corn Flakes
 = 101 calories


1 cup/250 mL cream of chicken soup = 188 calories
  • 1 cup/250 mL chicken noodle soup = 79


  • 1 oz./28 g cheddar cheese = 114 calories
  • 1 oz./28 g fat-free cheddar cheese
 = 40 calories


1 cup/250 mL mashed potatoes = 132 calories
  • ½ baked potato = 66 calories


½ cup/125 mL rich vanilla ice cream = 188 calories
  • ½ cup/125 mL vanilla frozen yogurt =


Total Calories

  • Favourite foods: 1,422 calories
  • Calorie-cutting choice: 808 calories

By slightly modifying our food choices, we were able to offer virtually the identical foods while saving a whopping 614 calories.

Examine what you eat and think about lower-calorie options, and be conscious of portion sizes too (just because a food is lower in calories doesn’t mean you should be eating more of it).

The bottom line is that you can cut calories without compromising on many of the foods you love.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.