Confession! I actually counted calories two years ago and lost 65 pounds in 4 months. Then life happened, had to have ankle surgery, got pregnant with our 4th child, etc. and stopped. I only gained 10 of those pounds back (even after having the 4th) Through those months of counting calories and my two weeks recently, I've picked up lots of little goodies as far as tips and replacement-type foods. So here are some of them! I will keep a date in the heading so you know when I've updated this post.
Pasta- We only use whole wheat. You can buy Kroger's (Baker's) version that's called Whole wheat, whole grain pasta or Ronzoni Healthy Harvest whole wheat blend. Kroger's is much cheaper. 2 ounces dry is 180 calories which is less than other wheat pastas and WAY less than regular pasta! It's the lowest calorie pasta I've found so far and believe me, I search for lowest cal...because I want to eat as much as possible!
Tortillas- By far, La Tortilla Factory tortillas are the lowest calorie out there I've found. Unfortunately Walmart quit selling them so I can only find them at Hyvee now. They are different flavors and the bigger ones are 100 calories!! Keep in mind that even whole wheat tortillas are usually at least 150 calories and you've just saved yourself 50 calories you can eat somewhere else. See next item for another variation of tortillas.
Flatbread- I use this as a tortilla and I just discovered these this week. LOVE them! Flat Out Italian Herb flatbread. Only 100 calories as well. They are shaped like a big rectangle verses a circle, so kinda fun. They come in different flavers and Walmart sells them as well as other grocery stores.
Wholly Guacamole- Why do I want to put "batman" after this when ever I read it or say it! lol This is SO yummy and a way lower calorie option verses fresh avacado. It's real avacado but pureed and you can buy it in little packets or in one big one. I buy the box of 8 little packets, each packet is 100 calories and trust me it's a ton to eat at once so I usually only use half and save the rest for another day. They freeze wonderfully too!
Laughing Cow light cream cheese- Man these are delicious and only 35 calories. I use them in cooking, putting cream cheese on a bagel, all sorts of things. My favorite is garlic and herb but the light also comes in french onion and swiss cheese. Sold at almost all grocery stores I've been to but cheapest at Walmart.
Kraft Fat Free Mayo- I was never picky about Mayo so I can't really tell a difference between this and real mayo. It's WAY lower in calories though. This is the lowest calorie fat free mayo I found.
Fat Free Pringles- OMG! Seriously, these are just as good as regular ones, especially the BBQ flavor. They also come in original and sour cream and onion. They are pricy, between $2-3 compared to the $1.25 sales you can get on regular pringles but only 70 calories for 14 chips.. that's insane! I sometimes eat 28 of them just because it's only 140 calories when I'm having one of "those" days. The Sunday paper always has a coupon for these too though, not just regular ones.
Sugar Free Jam - I have both Smuckers and generic in my cabinet. Absolutely the way to go if you are a jelly/jam eater. I was blowing so many calories on jelly for a PB & J that I started using this and one serving is almost too much jelly and way less calories.
Great Value drink mix- I might be one of the only people on earth it seems who doesn't like drinking water. Bleck! I just don't like the "taste" of it. I force myself to drink it sometimes but usually I am using this mix. I buy them at Walmart and it's so much better tasting than Crystal Light. It comes in Cherry, Apple, Iced Tea, Pink Lemonade, regular Lemonade (my favorite), Strawberry, Orange, Grape, Rasberry Ice (don't like) and a few other flavors. It's only 5 calories a serving but here's another confession. I do NOT count these calories.. because I don't want to discourage myself from drinking water.
Weight Watchers cream cheese wedges- Haven't tried these but I bought the Jalapeno Pepper one the other day and want to try it. These are exactly like the Laughing Cow cheese I mentioned up above except these are five calories less at 30 calories a wedge! A lot less choices in flavors though.
Athenes Hummus-Roasted Red Pepper- First time EVER I liked Hummus. Truly, I hate it by itself. But I tried this last night in a recepe I posted called Southwestern Chicken Pileup and it is by far one of my all time favorite recepes, even including non-diet food! I thought for sure I was wasting my money on this item because I just hate Hummus, but I'm so glad I took a chance.
Jennie-O Turkey Burgers- Very tasty and not flat or cardboardish. I've tried other turkey burgers and bleck they are just nasty! This one is very thick and flavorful and 200 calories a patty. On a side note, I found out that I could have eaten a regular burger for 170 calories once I had eaten this because we now buy 93/7 hamburger meat which is so low in calories. That's okay, this burger was awesome.
Sweet Pickle Relish- Not a huge difference in brands as far as calories go, but this is a sweet treat for any type of food like tuna sandwhiches, burgers or hotdogs, etc. I love using it because I can use a lot for barely any calories (like 20 for tons of it)
Skinny Cow icecream sandwhiches- Okay, pretty pricy at $4 a pop for six of them...but SO worth it if you have a sweet tooth! These are usually 140 calories and super fat and filling. And very very tasty. I never feel guilty eating icecream when I eat one of these. Flavors so far I know about are vanilla, chocolate, mint, strawberry, and cookies and cream. You can get them at pretty much any grocery store. Sams club sells them in bulk and you can save some bucks by doing that.
Hostess 100 calorie packs- This is one of those annoying foods in some aspects. It's three teeny cakes. However!!..... the Chocolate cake cream filled ones are very rich and they really do satisfy a chocolate craving. They are super rich. I also bought the banana nut bread ones and eh... I feel like I need the whole box of those lol.
Popcorn- Okay here's my deal on popcorn. I hate the light stuff! EWW! So I splurge and buy the mini bags of Jolly Time popcorn. Yep, I like the blast o butter ones. So what! I can use 190 calories and eat a whole mini bag, and that's what I'm gonna do baby. I have to buy the mini's though or I find myself saying "I'll only eat this much" of a normal bag and pretty soon I want the rest of the bag.
Peanut Butter- By far, Skippy low-fat peanut butter is the lowest calorie one I've found and it's really good. I don't notice a difference and I'm a huge peanut butter fan. 180 calories for 2 T. Have you ever measured out 2 Tablespoons of peanut butter for a PB & J Sandwhich? It's gobs of it! I use this on bananas and 1 T goes a long way.
South Beach Living, Peanut Butter bars-When someone told me to buy these I rolled my eyes. Come on, we all know the South Beach diet is like starving yourself! But these bars are heaven. I eat one almost every single day. They are reall satisfying because they are chewy and super tasty. They are 140 calories each and have 8 grams of protein in them!! They also come in Chcolate and Cinimmon Raisin I think. I don't care for the raisin one, the chocolate is just okay but the PB one is to die for!
Pepperidge Farm Flats- Something I just discovered this week. Yum! These are little round flat breads that are 100 calories. I used them on the Southwest Chicken Pileup I meantioned up above in the guacamole blip. I only used them because I couldn't find Pita bread but I may keep on using them!
Chocolate- Also just found these this week at Baker's in the candy isle. Reeses 100 calorie bars and York 100 calorie bars. I haven't tried the York ones but the Reeses is exactly like the "normal" candy bars in taste. Really good.
Sugar- I am a Splenda user now! I don't care for the silly little packets, I buy the bag of it. I put it in a tupperware container and usually put a spoonful of it in my coffee. It's still not the same as sugar but who cares if it doesn't have any calories.
Coffeemate NO SUGAR- Something I've learned on this journey that really surprised me. No Sugar stuff is almost always less calories than low fat! True in this case as well. Coffeemate no sugar is 15 calories a serving verses low fat at I think it was 25. Regular is 35. And I like the no sugar french vanilla. Still, I've been using the regular at 35 calories because lately I've been wanting to try new flavors of things and now I'm hooked on the Irish creme.
Light Caramel- I forgot the brand and I'm being lazy in not wanting to run upstairs. But it's the caramel you buy in the tub when you want to dip apples in it. I learned that the Light is actually 100 calories and the non-fat is 115! So buy the light..which you can find at Baker's. This snack has been a favorite of mine the past couple weeks because 2 Tablespoons can go a long way and that's a serving.