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 Melissa Kinstlinger, MS, RD, a dietitian educator at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

“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,” Kinstlinger says.

She 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,” she adds, offering up the following suggestions:

  • Plan ahead for meals to cut back on eating out. Make a weekly menu and grocery list. Using a slow cooker or instant cooker for meal prep will help you save calories and money.
  • Make vegetables the main event in your meals and snacks. Fill half your plate with a variety of vegetables. Vegetables are high in fiber and nutrients while low in calories.
  • Replace your morning bagel with one slice of whole-wheat toast. Top with an egg and avocado and add a piece of fruit. You’ll get fewer calories and more fiber and protein to keep you full.
  • Instead of warming up a cup of cream of broccoli or mushroom soup for lunch, both of which are high in saturated fat, stick with broth-based soups with chunks of vegetables.
  • Opt for mustard on your ham or turkey sandwich instead of mayo. 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. Top popcorn with a zero-calorie, butter-flavored spray. Other healthy options include veggies and hummus, and Greek or light yogurt topped with fruit.
  • For dessert, replace a cup of strawberry ice cream with a cup of strawberries. Even if you add a little bit of light whipped cream, you’re still consuming fewer calories and saturated fat.

“Losing weight becomes easier when you are mindful in making daily positive, healthy changes,” Kinstlinger 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.”

Featured in Discover Winter 2018 Magazine

Location Information

For the Diabetes and Nutrition Education Center, please call 443-777-6528.

MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9000 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237

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Learn more about our diabetes educators.