I’m constantly surprised at how willing people are to unnecessarily part with their precious points. Myself, I’m all for substitutions. Below are the ones I always make, when possible. Maybe you already make a lot of them, but maybe there are a few more you could try. And please, feel free to share your substitutions with me in the comments!
I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray (5 sprays = 0 PointsPlus) or Smart Balance Omega-3 Light Buttery Spread (1 PointsPlus per tablespoon).
Hood Fat Free Calorie Countdown milk (1 cup = 1 PointsPlus). If I can’t find this (it’s only at some grocery stores,) I settle for Blue Diamond Vanilla Unsweetened Almond Milk—the kind with 40 calories (1 cup = 1 PointsPlus).
Arrowhead Mills Oat Flour (1 cup = 9 PointsPlus) instead of white flour (1 cup = 12 PointsPlus).
Center cut bacon (3 slices = 2 PointsPlus) instead of regular bacon (3 slices = 4 PointsPlus).
Coffee-mate natural bliss low fat vanilla creamer (2 tbsp. = 1 PointsPlus) instead of cream and sugar (2 tbsp. cream = 1 PointsPlus, 1 tbsp. sugar = 1 PointsPlus).
Fat free Greek yogurt (3 PointsPlus) with cherries instead of full fat flavored yogurt. I buy frozen cherries and defrost them for 30-60 seconds in the microwave before adding them to my yogurt. Or I put the yogurt in the blender, add a little water, 1/2 pound of strawberries, and a bannana. Just sweet enough!
Bisquick Heart Smart biscuits (3 PointsPlus)
Chobani pancakes (1.33 PointsPlus each). These are great because they’re not all carbs—the Greek yogurt gives them protein.
If you don’t like diet soda or Coke Zero (which I think tastes way better), you can try plain soda water, soda water with a splash of Trop50 juice (from Tropicana), the SodaStream Sodamix Sparkling Natural line, water with Mio (there’s also a Walmart brand), unsweetened iced tea (or add a drop of lemonade for a point and some sweetness), unsweetened green tea, or Crystal Light, all 0 PointsPlus, although I count a point for the juice since the splashes add up.
Baked Tostitos (3 PointsPlus)
Mission Carb Balance tortillas (2 PointsPlus)
Fat free refried beans
Fat free sour cream, although I use light in certain recipes
Trader Joe’s bagels (6 PointsPlus)
Neufchatel instead of cream cheese (1/8 brick = 1 PointsPlus) or reduced fat cream cheese (2 tbsp = 1 PointsPlus)
Fat free Breyer’s ice cream (½ cup = 2 PointsPlus)
Only 8 (1/2 cup = 1 PointsPlus) or Wow Cow (1/2 cup = 3 PointsPlus) instead of regular soft serve
No Pudge or Trader Joe’s No Guilt brownie mix (2 PointsPlus per brownie, brownie size is on package)
Steel cut oats with 1 tablespoon brown sugar (5 PointsPlus) instead of an instant flavored oatmeal pack, which is the same points value, but way less filling and full of junk you don’t need.
Weight Watchers caramel or peppermint patty instead of other candy (1 PointsPlus)
Better’n Peanut Butter (1 tbsp = 1 PointsPlus) or soynut butter (2 tbsp = 5 PointsPlus). I prefer soynut butter if I’m going for PBJ—it tastes just like peanut butter, but fewer points. It’s the same points as reduced fat PB, but without the chemicals.
Weight Watchers bread (1 slice = 1 PointsPlus)
Light hamburger or hot dog roll (3 PointsPlus), although some regular ones are the same value
Fat free hotdog (1 PointsPlus)
Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta (1 cup = 5 PointsPlus). More filling than traditional pastas.
Dried apricots instead of Craisins (0 PointsPlus). Be sure you get the kind without sugar, oil, or other ingredients. Trader Joe’s usually has them and BJ’s as well.
Trader Joe’s dried unsweetened mango instead of gummy bears, etc.
Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Chicken Burger or Morningstar Farms Veggie Medley Burger (3 PointsPlus each)
Ground chicken breast, 95% lean ground beef (both 1 PointsPlus per oz), or Boca crumbles (1/4 cup = 1 PointsPlus) instead of regular ground beef
Lloyd’s pulled chicken instead of pulled pork (1 PointsPlus per oz.)
Allouette garlic and herb cheese (2 tbsp = 1 PointsPlus) or Laughing Cow light garlic and herb spreadable cheese wedge (1 PointsPlus each) instead of pub cheese
Reduced fat wheat thins(10 = 2 PointsPlus) or reduced fat Ritz (5 = 2 PointsPlus)
Fat free cheese singles (1 PointsPlus each) or Land O’Lakes White American Slender cheese at the deli (2 PointsPlus each)
Air popped popcorn (3 cups = 2 PointsPlus) with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter or Smart Balance Light instead of buttered popcorn. If I don’t have time to air pop, I use plain or salted microwave popcorn and add the spray or Smart Balance light for the same points value.
Kellogg’s Fiber Plus Antioxidants Caramel Coconut Fudge bar instead of Samoas Girl Scout Cookies (A very satisfying 3 PointsPlus)
Honeycomb cereal (1 ½ cups = 3 PointsPlus) instead of others if I don’t have time for steel cut oats. Kix (1 ¼ cup = 3 PointsPlus) if Honeycomb isn’t available.
EAS Advantage Chocolate Fudge 11 oz. Carb Control Shake with 17 grams of protein (3 PointsPlus) instead of chocolate milk. They also have vanilla, strawberry, and dark chocolate for the same points value. I like them all.
Lay’s Light Potato Chips (2 PointsPlus per serving). These give some a stomach ache, but thankfully not me! If you eat more than a serving or two, I think the stomach ache’s probably unavoidable, so no binging on these! If you don’t like these, PopChips and Baked Lay’s are good options. Both are 3 PointsPlus a serving and most PopChips are vegan.
Canned pumpkin or applesauce instead of oil in recipes
Trader Joe’s Dark chocolate edamame (5 PointsPlus) instead of M&Ms. The protein in the edamame makes it much more satisfying so you’re less likely to go overboard. Plus, they’re full of other nutrients, unlike the candies.
If you can’t resist, reduced fat Oreos or Chips Ahoy (3 = 4 PointsPlus) instead of regular. Or even better, Atkins has 5-point meal bars in Chocolate Chip Granola and Cookies and Cream, which I think are awesome. The portion control is nice, as is the protein. A great pre-gym snack!
Boston cream pie (6 PointsPlus) instead of a donut, although some glazed ones are only 7. Note: points on donuts vary widely due to size differences. At Mom and Pop shops, like my favorite, Tony’s in Portland, Maine, you have to guess. By the bye, I count each of their donuts as a point more than usual, since they’re a little bigger.
Chicken chow mein (4 PointsPlus per cup) instead of chicken lo mein (9 PointsPlus per cup). Also, add a cup of steamed veggies to stretch the chow mein.
Brown rice instead of white, surprise, surprise—anything that keeps me fuller longer is definitely worth it in my book
Gardein crispy tenders (1 PointsPlus each) instead of chicken fingers.
Want to know what these products look like? See my Pinterest board: Products I Love