3 Food Swaps That Will Save Your Diet

PHOTO: Quinoa is one possible grain alternative for fried rice dishes.
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So much of the food we see deceives us. Drive-thru salads can pack more calories than burgers. New research out of Boston finds that culinary blogs regularly feature foods packed with saturated fat and salt. And other research shows that when fruit is added to unhealthy dishes, we tend to eat 35 percent more—thinking the food is healthier.

(You might not know you're missing vital nutrients, but here's how to get them by learning these 6 New Food Rules to Follow.)

Your TV has an answer: HLN's new show Cook Your Ass Off. On the show, which premieres Sunday, Dec. 1, at 8:30 p.m. EST, chef Richard Blais puts three cooks to the challenge every week. The task at hand: Spin an unhealthy dish into a nutritious one. Participants are asked to produce heart-healthy options, cater to the needs of diabetics, or simply help people with unhealthy food habits make better choices.

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Blais knows firsthand how simple food swaps can make all the difference: He lost 50 pounds doing what he shares below.

Try these three tips today to enjoy your favorite foods sans the guilt:

3 Food Swaps That Will Save Your Diet

Earth & Turf Burgers

Roast and grind mushrooms and swap for half of the beef. It's an obvious calorie- and fat-reducer, but adds more umami—the flavor of savory or what literally makes your mouth water—and this therefore increases flavor impact. It's a win-win.

3 Food Swaps That Will Save Your Diet

Oatmeal or Barley Risotto

Swap grains for rice in indulgent recipes. Substitute Stella cut oats for risotto rice, and quinoa or millet for a fried rice dish. This is a great way to add health benefits and come off as a creative genius.

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3 Food Swaps That Will Save Your Diet

Apple Turnover

Substitute combinations of cinnamon or vanilla where sugar is called for. Our minds register cinnamon and vanilla as sweet, but they aren't. This is a great way to cut back on calories and bad carbs.

Dieting doesn't have to mean losing your favorite foods.

Try these 6 satisfying alternatives.

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