4 Calorie-Saving Food Swaps That Taste Like the Real Deal

POPSUGAR Photography
POPSUGAR Photography

I cannot keep sour cream in my house anymore, because I will polish it off in two sittings (OK, maybe one). We're all about the occasional indulgence over here — 80/20, anyone? — but if you're committed to losing weight, certain foods cannot be an everyday occurrence. It's important to recognize your trigger foods and try to find lighter substitutions that satisfy your cravings and palate. The following four food swaps slash calories but keep things tasting just like the real deal.

Instead of Butter or Oil, Bake With Applesauce
POPSUGAR Photography | Nicole Perry

Instead of Butter or Oil, Bake With Applesauce

Subbing in applesauce will give your dessert texture that's spongier and fluffier, but as long as you're using an unsweetened variety, it won't affect the flavor. Taste it for yourself in this moist and fluffy banana apple chunk bread that doesn't use any butter, oil, or egg whatsoever.

It's easy to sub in applesauce to your favorite treats. The ratio of applesauce to butter and oil is one to one: if a recipe calls for 1/2 cup of butter, simply sub in 1/2 cup of applesauce; if a recipe calls for one cup of oil, sub in one cup of applesauce.

Calories in butter (1/2 cup): 814
Calories in applesauce (1/2 cup): 51
Calories saved: 763

Instead of White Potatoes, Choose Cauliflower
POPSUGAR Photography | Camilla Salem

Instead of White Potatoes, Choose Cauliflower

We'll be honest: there's nothing that tastes like good, old-fashioned french fries. While sweet potato fries are a more nutrient-rich option, there are a number of other classic potato recipes where cauliflower can be a sneaky stand-in.

Instead of standard mashed potatoes or loaded baked potato soup, try these lower-carb and lower-calorie recipes for a cauliflower mash and baked potato soup that use some cauliflower to dramatically lighten things up. It doesn't end there, either. You can also use cauliflower as a stand-in for rice.

Calories in white potatoes (one cup, diced): 119
Calories in cauliflower (one cup, diced): 27
Calories saved: 92

Instead of Ground Beef or Pork, Choose Ground Turkey
POPSUGAR Photography | Lizzie Fuhr

Instead of Ground Beef or Pork, Choose Ground Turkey

No one will be asking "where's the beef?" when you sub lighter ground turkey. Whether it's your stuffed-pepper filling, a layer in your favorite lasagna recipe, or the star of your chili, it's hard to taste any difference. For years, my mom swapped out the beef in her chili for ground turkey before letting me and my dad in on the shocking secret.

Calories in lean ground beef (four ounces): 290
Calories in lean ground turkey (four ounces): 204
Calories saved: 86

Instead of Sour Cream, Choose Greek Yogurt
POPSUGAR Photography | Anna Monette Roberts

Instead of Sour Cream, Choose Greek Yogurt

I told you I had a minor problem with sour cream, and plain nonfat Greek yogurt has made my life taste so much better. With a strikingly similar consistency and tang at a fraction of the calories and fat, plus twice the protein, I can dollop on Greek yogurt wherever I please and completely satisfy my cravings. It also makes a great mix-in for your favorite ranch or french onion dip. Seriously, try this if you're not doing it yet.

Calories in sour cream (1/4 cup): 123
Calories in nonfat Greek yogurt (1/4 cup): 30
Calories saved: 93