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In the Health | Diet section of this web site it is stated that monitoring caloric intake is key in maintaining weight. All calories are not created equal. One step further is to substitute better ingredients into the diet or recipes to increase the quality of calories and keep the body nutritionally balanced.

Counting fat calories is the first step in changing the quality of calories consumed. The information is usually found in the same section of the label. Find out how much of what you're eating is good calories and how much is fat calories (Calories vs. Fat Calories). This will help you choose foods which are better than others quickly. Pretzels are better than chips, bagels are better than donuts, etc. Both will fill you up, one will fill you with more fat. Do simple calculations, 1/3 of the food is fat, ½ of the food is fat, 100% of the food is fat, etc. This method gives a better understanding of what foods are snacks and which should only be treats.

Once the healthier foods are found, it's time to figure out what to do with all those old recipes. Don't throw them away, try modifying them with the newly found healthy ingredients. The following are examples of good foods that can replace less healthy ones. This doesn't mean that the number of calories consumed can increase. The difference is these substituted calories promote long term health. 

Ground beef is an over-used staple in todays meals. Chicken or ground turkey can be substituted into many recipes without a serious flavor loss. Make sure you don't buy the ground turkey in a tube where you can't see the contents. You want a nice, lean ground turkey in a clear package such as Butterball or Perdue brands. Mexican foods like tacos, enchilladas, burritos and chili are examples that are very flavorful without ground beef. Additionally try a favorite meatball recipe with ground turkey instead of beef then cover them with one of the packets of gravy from McCormick (Hunter; Green Peppercorn) or Knorr makes several yummy packets of gravy as well. Hamburgers and meatloaf would be bad places for substitution.



Olive oil for butter (in basically everything that calls for butter). Substitute 3/4 tablespoon oil to 1 tablespoon butter.

Margarine is a healthy substitute when olive oil can't be used. The key words in margarine selection are, "Trans Fatty Acids". Trans fats originate from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (the processing of liquid vegetable oil into a solid block or stick resembling butter). High levels of trans fats have been shown to elevate low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, which could increase the risk of heart disease. Avoid margarines that contain trans fats as they are as bad, if not worse, than the saturated fats contained in butter.

Soy milk replaces whole milk products. We've fallen from whole milk, through 2%, 1% and finally stopped at skim over the years. Skim doesn't even taste like milk anymore, so why bother? Try soy milk. Not in a glass, but first in recipes and box or envelope side dishes. Later try it in cereal and perhaps the chocolate variety in a glass. There are healthier ways to get the nutrients in milk. Use soy milk for cooking and drink water as a beverage.

Gravy made from an envelope will moisten meat and potatoes without adding all the fat from the bottom of the pan to your body. McCormick and Knorr make wonderful white and brown gravy packets that are very low in fat. Remember to add oil instead of butter when preparing them.

Egg whites can be used in place of eggs. Use 2 egg whites for any recipe that calls for 1 egg.

Whole wheat flour is loaded with nutrients compared to it's bleached white counterpart.

The body needs nutrients and we eat to provide the body its necessary ingredients. That would be considered eating sufficiently. Unfortunately we canít just keep feeding it or we gain weight. Therefore, we need to make sure we limit our calories. The trouble with controlling calories is the proper nutrients might not get consumed before the calorie limit is reached. The only way to squeeze all the required nutrients into a limited calorie diet is to eat efficiently.Click Health | Efficient eating to continue.