Pasta, creamy soups – they’re all delicious comfort foods. But if you’re watching your calorie count, those carbs and fats can really add up. Luckily, there are some delicious alternatives you can swap for some of your favorite high-calorie foods. Here are a few ideas:
Spaghetti – without the Spaghetti
If you look at recipes on the Internet, especially on Pinterest, you’ve probably come across the “zoodles” craze. Zoodles, or zucchini noodles, are simply zucchini cut into thin strips that resemble spaghetti noodles. You can create them in different ways – they’re easily created using a spiralizer, or a grater, a mandolin, or a julienne peeler can also do the job. Once they’re cut, you can simply sautee your zoodles and top with your favorite sauce, meat and/or veggies for a delicious, healthy meal.
Why zoodles? Well, according to AllRecipes.com, the calorie savings can really add up. A cup of cooked spaghetti can add up to about 220 calories, while a small zuchhini’s worth of zoodles is about 20 calories, plus the nutrients from the veggie.
Not a zucchini fan? Another noodle alternative is the spaghetti squash. First, you cook the squash – either in the oven, in the microwave or in the slow cooker (following all safety directions) – and then once it’s cool enough to touch, you simply use a fork to scrape out the flesh. The squash will come out in thin strips resembling spaghetti noodles – hence the name!
Creamy Soup – without the Cream
Nothing warms you up on a cold winter day like a bowl of creamy soup – whether it’s broccoli-cheese or loaded potato. But, many of these hearty soups have a calorie-laden drawback: heavy cream. Just one cup of heavy cream can pack 820 calories.
But, just because you’re watching your calories doesn’t mean you have to give up on creamy soups. Cooking Light offers an alternative in the form of a combination of chicken stock, low-fat milk and instant brown rice – which adds up to just 107 calories per cup.
Salad – without the Dressing (But with the Flavor)
Dressing is the difference between a bowl of raw vegetables and a salad. One tablespoon of ranch dressing can have about 73 calories, while a tablespoon of jarred salsa is only about 4 calories. One potential drawback of eating ready-made salsa from a jar is that it can have a lot of sodium. So, you might want to look for low-sodium varieties, or even make your own salsa at home – that way, you can control the ingredients.