Think twice before you pick up those cashews! Study up on these calorie-saving food swaps

Harley Pasternak

Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. Tweet him @harleypasternak.

Smart decisions can make the difference between flab and fit! Here are a few of my easy food swaps that will help you look and feel your best:

Almonds and cashews

Almonds over cashews. The truth is, both of these nuts are loaded with healthy fats, and both have a comparable amount of calories per ounce. However, almonds have almost four times as much fiber, and 20 percent more protein.

Blackberries and Acai Berries

Blackberries over acai berries. Forgetting the countless acai berry scams and false weight loss claims on the Internet, acai berries are not bad — they’re just not as amazing as blackberries. Per 100 grams, blackberries have triple the fiber, 40 percent less calories and infinitely more Vitamin C than acai. Moreover, blackberries are just as potent of an antioxidant, if not more, than acai.

Avocado and butter

Avocado over butter. Per 100 grams, butter has nearly 5 times more calories, only one-quarter the protein, and is fiber-less. Hass avocado, on the other hand, has a whopping 7 grams of fiber and is mainly heart-healthy unsaturated fat (butter is mainly saturated fat).

Wild rice and white rice

Wild rice over white rice. This one is a no-brainer. Wild rice is not only 30 percent lower in calories, it has quadruple the fiber and nearly double the protein of white rice. The net result is a grain that will make you feel fuller longer.

RELATED: Harley Pasternak: Is It Good to Go Gluten Free?

Beef Jerky

Natural jerky over regular jerky. One of my favorite snacks is beef jerky: it’s portable, it’s convenient, it’s packed with protein. But take a glance at the ingredient labels of some of the top brands, and you’ll see that all jerkies are not created equal.

Look for a short ingredient list with recognizable ingredients to avoid preservatives and additives. One to avoid: Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky, which has both MSG and nitrites. Smart swap: Oberto Beef Jerky, which has no artificial ingredients and no MSG. Lesson: Read your ingredient lists. Not all similar foods are made from similar recipes.


High-fiber bread over regular bread. Not all bread is evil! Yes, some bread has hundreds of calories’ worth of white flour per giant slice; others however, can be a healthful choice and a great addition to your diet. Look for breads that have fewer than 60 calories per slice, and have at least 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein. And generally, the more fiber the bread has, the more filling it will be! To cut on calories, try making sandwiches open-face style.

A few “better-bread” examples are: Sara Lee 45 Calories & Delightful 100% Whole Wheat Bread; Arnold 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins; Nature’s Own 40 Calorie Wheat Bread.

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