Taking charge of your overall wellness doesn’t have to mean eating like a bird. Sure, banning yourself from your favorite restaurant might help save a few calories in the short term. But in the long run, it could be counterproductive — especially if your goal is to create sustainable new habits that’ll stick. By starting small and managing how you eat out with just a few strategic food tweaks, you can see big changes over time.
Whether it’s in a drive-through line or the dining room of a white-tablecloth restaurant, deprivation is not the answer. Instead, try swapping out those empty-calorie offerings on the menu with satisfying food replacements that won’t shortchange your taste buds. And remember: slow and steady wins the race!
Here are 15 simple food swap suggestions to get you started:
1. Instead of a personal pizza with a side of breadsticks, stick to a slice (or two!) of regular pizza with a side salad.
2. Skip the bacon, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich, and opt for an egg white & veggies wrap.
3. Swap the breakfast pastry or muffin for a more nutritious breakfast oat bar and bananas.
4. Craving pancakes with syrup? Try an oatmeal bowl with fruit, and replace the syrup with peanut butter.
5. Instead of a whole sandwich with chips, have half a sandwich, along with a half-sized salad and an apple.
6. Swap a large soda for a mixture of unsweetened iced tea and lemonade.
7. Gotta have a frappe? Order an iced skim milk latte with 1 pump of flavor instead.
8. Exchange that burrito with “the works” for a food bowl with rice, fajita veggies, beans, chicken, salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese.
9. Trade that spicy chicken sandwich for a grilled chicken wrap with a splash of honey mustard sauce.
10. Go ahead and have that cheeseburger — but hold the bun (or even tuck it in a lettuce wrap!)
11. Instead of traditional fettuccini alfredo with chicken, go for whole wheat pasta with chicken, veggies, tomato sauce, and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
12. Feel like Chinese? Swap General Tso’s chicken for chicken & broccoli with brown rice.
13. Next time you’re craving french fries, go right ahead! Just order a small size instead of the large (moderation is the key!)
14. If you love a salad with croutons, cheese, and a creamy dressing like ranch or Caesar, try switching things up: order one with veggies and a vinaigrette dressing.
15. We all scream for ice cream! The next time you go for soft serve, just swap that large blended ice cream for the smaller, mini-sized version.
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