Simple Food Swaps for a Healthier You


If you want to lose weight in 2018, you are not alone. Research shows that weight loss is the most common New Year’s resolution. Yet few people succeed in meeting their weight loss goals.

“I applaud those who resolve to lose weight. Individuals who are overweight are at higher risk for developing many chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and numerous other conditions,” explains Luis Rivera-Ramirez, MD, an endocrinologist at the Diabetes and Endocrine Center at MedStar Harbor Hospital.

Luis Rivera-Ramirez, MD

“The reason so many people are unsuccessful in losing weight is that they go about it the wrong way. Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a ‘diet,’ it’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating habits,” Dr. Rivera-Ramirez says. 

He stresses focusing on small simple changes that can make healthy eating more manageable and sustainable over the long term.

“There are many ways to cut calories and eat healthier without feeling deprived,” he adds, offering up the following suggestions:

  • Replace your morning bagel with two slices of whole-wheat toast. Skip the butter and flavored cream cheese and spread on fat-free cream cheese instead. Your calorie count is lower, and you still get lots of great flavor.
  • Instead of warming up a cup of cream of broccoli or cream of mushroom soup for lunch, both of which are full of calorieladen cream, stick with broth-based soups with chunks of vegetables you can sink your teeth into.
  • Watch what you put on your salads. Ranch and other creamy dressings are loaded with calories, which defeats the purpose of eating a salad. Instead use a light vinaigrette dressing.
  • Opt for mustard on your ham or turkey sandwich instead of mayo whenever you get the chance. Mustard is much lighter on the calories and you have a variety to choose from such as Dijon, spicy, and yellow.
  • For a healthy snack, trade potato chips for air-popped popcorn. To add flavor, top popcorn with a zero-calorie, butterflavored spray.

Losing weight becomes a lot easier when you invest in making positive, healthy changes,” Dr. Rivera-Ramirez says. “You can lose five pounds over the course of one year just by eating 50 calories less than you normally do every day. The goal is to make a habit out of choosing foods that taste good and are good for you.”