Column: It's easy to shave calories from recipes

Do you often find yourself wishing your could lose weight, could fit into that favorite outfit, have more energy, or improve your eating habits?

How often do you take action to make those wishes come true?

Researchers have found that only about 20 percent of people with unhealthy lifestyles are willing to take action.

Wishing implies that you aren't planning on making changes. Wishful thinking is waiting for something miraculous to happen without putting forth effort.

Instead of wishful thinking, think about reality. Thinking realistically involves planning and taking action to make changes in your behavior.

Instead of making wishes, create a list of goals. Write down your goals and then determine a course of action to achieve them.

Remember that reaching goals takes effort. In the end you can achieve your goals.

You will no longer be wishing and waiting for something to happen. You'll be taking action to make them happen!

Here is a tip to help make your goals a reality: As you go through your treasured recipes and favorite cookbooks, have you ever thought about how substituting food items with lower-fat and fat-free ingredients makes a difference?

Making simple substitutions in your daily meals and recipes makes significant reductions in your calorie intake.

Here are examples of how many calories that can be saved substituting lower fat ingredients for high fat ones:

• One cup of skim milk instead of one cup of whole milk saves 60 calories.

• Substituting eight egg whites for four whole eggs saves 188 calories.

• Using non-stick cooking spray instead of oil or butter saves 135 calories per tablespoon.

• Using light margarine instead of butter saves 58 calories per tablespoon and 464 calories per one-half cup.

• Removing the skin from a five-ounce portion of chicken or turkey saves 360 calories.

• Using artificial sweetener instead of sugar saves 48 calories per tablespoon and 385 calories per one-half cup.

• Using plain, nonfat yogurt instead of cream in recipes saves more than 700 calories.

• Using plain, nonfat yogurt instead of mayonnaise in dressing recipes saves 480-plus calories per one-third cup.

Now that you have started cutting out fat and calories, don't make the mistake of thinking, "I have cut out a whole bunch of calories; now I can eat as much as I want."

Watch those serving sizes. Practice preparing those family favorites with low-fat and fat-free ingredients so it will become second nature.

Making small substitutions can make a big difference in the amount of calories you consume.

It's a little change that can make a significant impact on your weight.

Remember to stop by Diet Center for lighter recipes. Mention the tip of the week and you will get them at no cost.

If you would like to receive Diet Center's tip of the week on a weekly basis by fax or e-mail at no cost, contact me or send an e-mail to dietcenteraz@yahoo.com.