Eating healthier doesn't have to mean overhauling your diet. Making simple adjustments to the meals you eat every day can be an even better way to reach your wellness or weight-loss goals. Case in point: When researchers at the University of Colorado asked study participants to shoot for cutting just 100 calories a day, most ended up cutting out more like 300 calories over time, ending up with better results than following what the researchers called a more rigorous diet plan from the get-go.
That could be because making, and keep, small diet changes can also help you feel successful so you're motivated to do more over time. And even easier than subtracting things from your diet: replacing one or two of your less nutritious go-to foods with better-for-you ones. Here are some trades to try:
Instead of mayo … try mustard
Mayo and mustard are both classic sandwich toppers. That's where the similarities end, though. Mayo supplies a lot of calories — one tablespoon has nearly 100 calories — and not much in the way of valuable nutrients.
Then there's mustard. Made mainly of mustard seeds along with a liquid like water or vinegar and some spices and seasonings, prepared mustards provide around 10 calories per tablespoon. The condiment also supplies important nutrients like cell-protecting selenium; yellow mustards are made with the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric. If you're not ready to switch from mayo to mustard, try blending the two in equal parts to cut calories and saturated fat in half while adding nutrition to your sandwich.
Instead of pretzels … try popcorn
It's not unusual to crave a salty, crunchy snack. And there are plenty of healthier-looking options on the market, from sweet potato chips to veggie straws. You may have even switched to pretzels from a higher-fat choice like potato chips in an effort to do better.
But the clear winner when you've got the munchies is homemade popcorn. Air-popped popcorn is a high-volume food with only around 120 calories per 4-cup serving, meaning you get a plentiful snack. You'll also get nearly 5 grams of filling fiber in that serving, making the choice satisfying, too. Spray it with a bit of olive oil followed by your favorite savory or sweet herbs and spices, such as Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute or any flavor of Mrs. Dash.