Instant Swaps to Skinny Your Favorite Recipes {$2500 Giveaway}

Hey guys! I’m so excited to be partnering with Kroger and a few of my favorite bloggers this month on their new “1 Little Victory” campaign. As you may know a few years ago I lost 30 pounds. You can read the full story here. But basically, I knew I couldn’t make a drastic change if I wanted to be able to last more than a day. I made small, doable changes that I could easily incorporate into my daily life. I cut down on calories and made healthier versions of my favorite recipes.

This month I’ll be showing you how I took my favorite recipes and made one small ingredient swap for a better-for-you version. And you can totally do this too with your favorite recipes. One small change is one little victory towards healthy eating.

This is the first of three posts this month where I’ll be sharing easy dinner ideas for the week and Instant Skinny Swaps to make them healthier. You can find all these products at your local Kroger affiliate store.



2% Cheese

Swap full-fat shredded cheese for low fat, part-skim, or 2% versions. You can try this in two of my favorite recipes below:


Spinach Artichoke Lasagna

Spinach Artichoke Lasagna


Cheesy Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Quesadillas

Cheesy Chicken, Bacon and Avocado Quesadillas



Ground Turkey

Replace ground beef with ground turkey. It has so much less fat and calories! I will admit it took me longer than most to try ground turkey. I was afraid it would not taste as good. But when incorporated into a cheesy, saucy pasta, you will never even notice. Try it in two of my favorite pasta recipes below! They will make you a believer. ;)

15 Minute Lasagna

15 Minute Lasagna


Cheeseburger Macaroni

Cheeseburger Macaroni



Greek Yogurt Cream Cheese

Try using Greek yogurt cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese. It’s creamier, has more protein, and less sugar. Win win! You can do this in one of my all time favorite enchilada recipes below.

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas


The Giveaway

To celebrate Little Victories, Kroger is giving away 3 HUGE prizes to help you stay on track in the new year.

1 Grand Prize Winner will receive (ARV: $1,500)

  • $1,000 Kroger gift card
  • $500 in kitchen products including:
    • $250 Kitchen Aid Mixer
    • $50 Magic Bullet
    • $200 in cookware (i.e., pots and pans)

2 runner-up winners will receive $500 Kroger Gift Cards (Good at any Kroger affiliate store like Fred Meyer, Smith’s, etc)


How to Enter

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t see the widget above, you can also enter here and here.

Good luck! What’s your favorite Instant Skinny Swap?

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403 Responses
  1. Kate

    I invested in snowshoes to keep the dog walking going on the trails despite the latest round of endless snow. With snow up to my hips, it’s a heck of a workout!

  2. Lisa G.

    I’ve already swapped greek yogurt for a lot of things when cooking… sour cream, cream cheese, as a helper to make sauces thicker & more nutritious instead of using so much roux. I’ve swapped out pasta and replaces it with its whole wheat counterparts… mac n cheese when made with whole wheat pasta is way more filling and tastes so much better… i’m working on walking, exercising, and drinking water more as part of my next “swap”

  3. gina o.

    Hi Amanda…thanks to you, Krogers and Jitchen Aid for the chance at these amazing prizes. I always like finding healthy substitutes not only for myself but for my mom whom I care for. She has diabetes and food is always a concern.

    Thanks again

  4. Nina Marie

    I’m sure it’s been said a million times, but 2% cheese is my favorite swap. It tastes almost exactly the same and you’re still getting cheeeeese!

  5. KJ

    Starting today, using the 2% cheese and drinking more water-my goal is to drink only water. I will know measure servings and eat 3 meals a day.

  6. Sandra Watts

    My victory has been I have lost 100lbs and counting. I still want to eat healthier and be more active and it is a victory each day I follow that.

  7. Margie

    I have lost 76 pounds. Every day is a victory for me. It is the small steps that make the big changes, like drinking water, walking instead of driving.

  8. kelly tupick

    My little victory for today was using i can’t believe it’s not butter on our toast. We are starting to eat healthier and my husband never noticed the difference.

  9. Michelle M

    My Little Victory for today is drinking water instead of soda and having an orange for breakfast instead of a donut. And I don’t even feel like I’m missing out!

  10. Janice

    Getting back in shape for dance after injuring myself. Just signed up for a gym membership and definitely looking to revamp my eating habits. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead!

  11. Mary S.

    Hate to admit it but I am a fast food junkie, so one victory is cutting out fast food and making healthier versions of my favorites at home.

  12. David Smith

    My little victory for today was making it through almost the entire day without having to take pain meds. My lower back has 3 discs almost non-existent and I am in constant pain and cannot work, but I am trying to quit taking all the pain meds that I have been on.

  13. Susan Glenn

    We use fat-free half and half, fat-free cream, 2% milk and Land O Lake Light Butter with canola oil-all unnoticeable in most recipes and really save on the calories. We drink water, and not soda or juice. We also don’t keep any cookies/cake/pie in the house-our one concession to carbos is that for five years I have made my own bread (usually sourdough or rye, we have a sourdough starter named Fred Jr. that we made from the Tartine bread book, Fred Sr. died in a hurricane……..) We freeze slices of each loaf to avoid feeling like we have to eat the whole thing before it goes stale. One other tip I have is that exercise doesn’t have to be on a treadmill or in a gym. We have 7 semi tamed acres, and we tame them ourselves, no lawn crew. We do all the brush cutting, woodstacking, mowing, snow shoveling, leaf removal, compost maintenance, pruning, gravel hauling and spreading ourselves, and honestly, it just whips you into shape. Don’t hire other people to do what you could do-you save money and burn calories.

  14. Lindsey Mitchell

    LOVE your suggestions! I lost about 30 pounds in the spring and now that work has picked up since September, it’s been tough to get workouts in. Hopefully, these will help! Thanks for the giveaway!

  15. Kelly E.

    Applesauce in place of fats when baking. I will also sub in quinoa in place of rice or other grains, just to get some added protein in carb-y dishes. Greek yogurt is also a fab replacement for many things. Thanks so much for the chance to win.

  16. Jamie

    Still getting off the baby weight, but not lot looking for anything drastic. I take the dog for more walks or try to eat more veggies each day. Love this!

  17. Brenna

    I try to keep my water bottle filled up at all times of the day… I am amazed at the difference it makes in everything- my sleep, my skin, my hunger!

  18. Sarah Auerswald

    I’m on a weight loss path at the moment and need to get back into a fitness routine, so my little victory is working out when I didn’t even feel like it.

  19. Gretta

    I did not drink any sweet tea today (which is a huge accomplishment for me as I am addicted to sweet tea) and drank flavored water instead all day long!

  20. Janel

    Love Apple sauce instead of oil, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, swapping out pre made fruit yogurt for plain Greek yogurt with honey and frozen fruit, and making “Ice cream” with very ripe frozen bananas and a spoonful of nutella or pb.

  21. Relina

    Thanks! These substitutions will be put to good use. I’m trying out different recipes but I don’t want to add to our waistlines. Lol 😜

  22. Katie

    Thanks for hosting this! I like to use skim milk and reduced fat cream cheese instead of their full fat versions– it’s an easy swap and I always have them on hand!

  23. Natasha E.

    We always use greek yogurt instead of sour cream and often in place of other things. Now I don’t have to feel nearly as guilty when I eat all of our favorite french onion dip!

  24. Sarah T

    I made it back to the gym today – it had been 2 weeks. AND I chose healthy salmon for lunch instead of mac n’cheese. Those are big wins for me!
    I like to substitute greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes!

  25. Dahlia

    I like to swap sugar with honey in my tea. I hope to get use to just the flavor of tea without any sweetness added. For meals I think the best thing to do is use as much non processed food as possible when cooking. Thanks for your ideas Amanda will keep them in mind. :)

  26. Molly

    I am trying to hit 5-6 servings of fruits and veggies a day. If I am thinking about hitting my goal, it keeps me from eating unhealthy snacks in the afternoon & evening.

  27. Melanie T

    I love using Chicken Broth in recipes for flavoring to replace any part of a recipe that I know will save some calories.

  28. Chelsey

    One of my little victories is mixing sriracha chili sauce (or other hot sauce) with mayonnaise or substituting mayonnaise completely on sandwiches or wraps. So much more flavor for quite a few less calories.

  29. Carley

    I am planning on making your green enchiladas this week, so I will follow you example and swap the cheese for a less fattening one!

  30. Jenny @ The Peachy Pair

    I use meatless crumbles in place of meat for things like soft tacos or spaghetti with”meat” sauce when I am looking for meat free meal. I also use laughing cow cheese wedges in place of cream cheese on things like bagels.

  31. matthew b

    my little victory was getting out of the house without eating any ice cream. having a bite after lunch isnt a bad thing, but it usually turns into a 5 min binge. Victory was mine today. (at least for now) EEK


  32. Donna G

    I was so excited to find that Greek yogurt cream cheese. I use it all the time, and take it to my mom when I remember to get extra (she doesn’t have a Kroger anywhere near her).

  33. Nikki

    Since today is my first day back at work since before Christmas, I’ve decided that this will be my real official start to the new year. I’m jumping back into healthy eating and will be getting back into running!

  34. Laura

    My victory is not eating all of the banana cake I just made :) And healthy swaps I try are using half and half instead of heavy cream and always opting for the low fat/low cal options. The cream cheese frosting on my cake is the greek you suggested, so I can call it healthy, right? :)

  35. Rachael F

    I started using smaller plates, which means smaller portions, and loading my plate in the kitchen and not bringing everything to the table.

  36. Margaret

    I eat pretty well. No beef, some pork, mainly chicken and fish. Big veggie lover, brown rice, brown pasta. I stay away from “prepared foods” and try to limit my sugar intake. The spinach/artichoke pizza sounds yummy!!! Happpy 2015 Everyone!!

  37. Stef

    We just got a puppy and I’ve been walking a lot more lately as a default. I already started the day with a nice walk outside with the pup! :)

  38. Cheryl Newton

    I’ve mostly switched to ground turkey or chicken, much to my family’s dismay. Besides it being healthier, it’s much less expensive. Win-win!

  39. Rachael

    I did a lot of these years ago (swapped ground beef for turkey, stopped sodas, use olive oil in place of butter) but the best thing I have done do far is join a CSA- community supported agriculture. I get a weekly farm basket that is packed full of organic veggies. Some known and loved, and usually every week at least one weird thing I have never seen before haha! So this forces 1. eating more vegetables (don’t want to waste what’s already been paid for!) 2. creativity in the kitchen. Which, I love cooking, so much, but even I get into ruts, and it’s great to be back out there with the ‘what can I do with this?’ excitement.

    Oh yeah (sorry for the long post) I ended up getting to a place where I told myself I can pretty much eat as I please, as long as the basket of veggies is consumed in the process. I can have a burger, just so long as those 3 lbs of zucchini disappear! And the fennel, raddichio, beets, endive, all of it. It’s a pretty good trick. :)

  40. April

    I have never heard of the Greek yogurt cream cheese! I will have to give that a try. My little victory is going to be eating a sensible lunch that includes yummy Greek yogurt.

  41. Jennay

    My little victory today was waking up and being able to go for a walk before it rained all day! At least I got in my exercise for the day!

  42. Alyssa

    I am trying to lose weight now (new years resolution) and I am trying to drink more water so I was told that if I feel hungry try drinking a glass of water and then if I still feel hungry 15 minutes later I eat then.

  43. Rushell Tuggle

    We had decent temps today so instead of going to the movies like we had planned, we decided to walk to the park and play. We also made a small picnic with fresh fruit and low fat cream cheese, yum!

  44. Tiffany Sanders

    I rely need new pots n pans! I all ready swap out the cheese & turkey, I’ll have to look for the Greek cream cheese

  45. Bethany

    i swap applesauce for oil in baking all the time, no one notices! My little victory today was a quick workout during naptime : )

  46. Heather Spooner

    Being aware of sugar content in food and beverages is my daily habit and it’s helping me kick the sugar habit. Thanks!

  47. PenelopeAnn

    I just happen to go into one of my fave stores and all the gift sets and stuff from christmas went 75% off today! Got a few good things for super cheap! Oh and its my fiances 1 day off of the week so we are just relaxing as a lil family!

  48. Dawn

    Going on two(?) years now, I don’t put sugar in my coffee anymore, and since we have a yellow lab, I try and walk her 5x a week so she and I stay svelte!

  49. jenny z.

    although i was tempted to catch a couple extra hours of sleep, i woke up earlier so i could continue my resolution of exercising more regularly :)

  50. Janeen

    I didn’t know that greek yogurt cream cheese was a thing! And I just started using ground turkey. I had some hangups about it before (turkey wasn’t supposed to have that texture, in my mind), but since I tried it, I haven’t used ground beef since.

  51. Nicole Marie

    Mine was taking the extra few minutes to make a sandwich on whole wheat bread for my dinner tonight at work rather than hitting up the drive thru on my way to work like I usually do on days I hit snooze a few too many times

  52. Patty C

    I’ve found it hard to switch to ground turkey, so I am buying lean ground beef and lean ground turkey and mixing them together. So, I feel like I am making one change toward healthier eating. I hope to switch to more ground turkey and less beef as I get used to it.
    Also, I read or watch Netflix when I’m on the treadmill, which makes the time go by quickly. If I watch TV, I get bored with all the commercials. I’m not too thrilled with running, so lately I’ve been setting my treadmill to walk uphill to build leg muscles for hiking in the spring.

  53. Raylan

    I love zucchini noodles in place of spaghetti noodles!
    Btw, Kroger is my fave store. I’m seriously in there 3-5 times a week. It’s ridiculous!

  54. Amy Baker

    I did not know they made greek yogurt cream cheese! I will have to try it! I’ve been using applesauce in place of vegetable oil in my baking!

  55. Kay K

    My victory today was not drinking soda which I crave. I have been soda free since 2010 when I was diagnosed with diabetes. This giveaway is amazing and so generous of all of you. Thank you. Reading your blog and newsletters make my day, keep up the great job you do.

  56. Amy Tong

    I love my little victory for today. Instead of using heavy cream for my vanilla cake, I substitute with Green yogurt. The cake came out nice and moist and just as delicious. :) Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

    amy [at] utry [dot] it

  57. April W.

    I refill my water bottle at least 5 times a day and make sure I add some fresh lemon, lime or frozen fruit to keep things interesting!

  58. Jessica

    My little victory today was making lunch for my sweet husband and I when I really wanted to go grab something fast (or worse, order in!). I’ve not been feeling well this weekend and am often too quick to look outside of our walls for meals. New year, new motivation! :-)

  59. Malissa W

    To drink more water – less soda. It’s hard though – they stock our fridge at work for free! Def going to try that cream cheese! I always swap heavy cream with half and half. Never notice a difference.

  60. Amy Chambers

    I drank all of my recommended water for today! I don’t like plain water, so any time I can get all of it in, I’m excited!

  61. Talitha Culver

    Was just reading your weight loss story again the other day and was inspired to change a few little things. How fun that you are doing this series and give away with Krogers. Drinking water and not eating after 7pm are my best tips.

  62. Hanan

    Love this blog for the photography, especially the travel. Unfortunately not so much for the ‘recipes.’ Great giveaway though!

  63. Sue

    My little victory for the day was getting rid of the rest of our holiday sweets! Not by eating them but putting some deep in the freezer and taking some to work.

  64. Amy F.

    My little victory is passing up my favorite Starbucks drink and making my coffee at home so I can control what goes into my drink.

  65. Becky

    I like using Kroger neufchatel cream cheese which is lower in fat than regular cream cheese in my cheese balls and desserts. I love Kroger brand frozen terraki and lemon chicken patties that you can cook in the microwave to have on salads or as a main dish. Amanda, your diet hints rock. I can’t believe how you keep off your weight after going on your trips filled with yummy food choices. I hope I can stick to it and loose my excess weight I’ve gained back this year. Happy New Year !!!! Hugs, Becky

  66. Sally

    We avoid fast foods and try to cook at home more so we have control over the salt, sugar, fat, etc. I will look forward to trying your recipes! (Though I LOVE many of the decadent ones you’ve posted in the past!)

  67. Becky Shultz

    Your weight loss posts is one of the most inspirational posts ive ever read! I’ve read it several times in the last few years. I’m at that point right now where I’ve had 3 kids in the last 6 years and I’m ready to lose some weight. My goal would be to lose about 30-40 pounds. I love these tips! My favorite is to use whole wheat pasta instead of regular. I also love using ground turkey and you really can’t taste a difference most of the time. Plus it’s usually cheaper!

  68. Michele E

    My victory was choosing water over Pepsi for lunch today. Something that is really hard for me while eating Mexican food!

  69. ileana carlile

    great suggestions! thank you for the reminder and the incentive! little things like having stuff already cut up and parking farther away when you go shopping really helps me.

  70. Melinda Shapro

    I swap non fat evaporated milk for cream or half and half in some of my recipes. It skinnys up creamed spinach and still tastes great!

  71. Cheri

    I have used applesauce in place of oil in recipes and generally I look over a recipe and see where I can substitute something else that is healthier for us.

  72. Kim N

    My little victory is getting a pot of lasagna sauce on the stove. The recipe usually calls for a sausage and ground beef mixture. I substituted ground turkey for ground beef since the sausage gives so much flavor and I had one last frozen package to use up as I start to rid of all the unhealthy foods in my pantry/fridge.

  73. Diane

    Amanda… Making the choice for the New Year to not “get through the day,” but to live each day to the full and be a blessing to others. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    P.S. Since I’ve started eating lots of eggs and butter, there’s no more brain fog. Fats feed the brain. :) Yay!! Ditching sugar and most grains has been my key to thinness.

  74. KL

    I eat only whole foods. I don’t eat Processed , fried or fast food BUT I am trying to stay away from butter may go back to smart balance

  75. Emma

    I used to cook with heavy cream a lot, but I’ve found that a little 1/3 fat cream cheese or shredded cheese can give the same creaminess to a recipe as a lot of heavy cream, for far less fat and calories! Now the only time I use heavy cream is in the occasional dessert!

  76. Pam C

    being able to fall back to sleep after getting up at 3am, I’ve been dealing with insomnia for the last month, a nice little victory for me

  77. Tonya Atkinson

    I am getting more green leafy foods in my diet in the last few days drinking my water and cutting back on sugary drinks.

  78. Bernie B

    I started today with a fresh orange. For 2015 I will use as many fresh fruits and veggies as I can, plus I need to stay away from salty snacks!

  79. Ms. Sew N Sew

    In the last 6 months I have lost 30lbs by drinking 8 ozs of water first thing in the morning eating fresh fruit and yogurt followed by a protein shake at 10 a.m. A big lunch and light supper! Of course 2 litres of water during the day. Also started free style yoga! Never felt better full of energy and motivation!

  80. Ciara

    Not eating the donuts my hubby brought home this morning. :)
    Can’t wait to try the Greek yogurt cream cheese. Thank you for the tip!

  81. Christina

    Greek yogurt cream cheese sounds wonderful. I’m adding more fruits and vegetables to my meals and drinking more water.

  82. Tina

    I’m trying to cut out sugar as much as possible (most recipes don’t need nearly as much as they call for!) and I use coconut oil instead of butter in many recipes.

  83. Susan LP

    I swap out “fake” hamburger crumbles (Morningstar Farms or Boca) for regular hamburger in tacos ,chili, enchiladas, and use the patties for hamburgers.

  84. Kara B

    Love swapping Greek yogurt for sour cream or cream cheese. We also use almond or coconut milk instead of cow’s milk and eat whole grains like quinoa or barley instead of plain rice. For bread, we swap in healthy whole grain high fiber low calorie or low carb wraps. I’ve learned to always read the labels!

  85. Kylea Johnson

    I wonder how the Greek Cream Cheese would fair in a cheesecake. All of these recipes look amazing! I may have to run to Fry’s (Krogers) to get some groceries to make one.

  86. Rebecca

    Hi Amanda!
    Thanks for an awesome giveaway!
    My husband and I have a total of 200 pounds to lose.
    And we will do it! With help from people like you.
    My husband quit coke zero ,cold turkey. He drinks water or unsweet tea.
    We are starting slow as you advised, making small changes. Cutting portion
    sizes….less sodium….less carbs….less sugar

  87. Ellen

    Healthy fruit packed smoothies as a midday snack instead of chips or crackers. I can’t wait to find the Greek yogurt cream cheese!

  88. Shelli

    My little victory today was waking up early. I enjoyed my break with my family too much, but its back to the routine on Monday! :)

  89. Alvina

    I’ve actually started cooking with ghee/butter/coconut oil instead of processed oils. A little goes a long way, and food tastes infinitely better!

    Going to go make myself eggs and sweet potato hash now :)

  90. Theresa Sea

    My little victory included waking up and letting the dog out while the hubs slept in. :) It’s still early, so I’m planning on some more little victories today.

  91. kristen

    sticking to my grocery list and NOT giving in a buying those ” extra things” i see that i think i “need.” (mostly snacks or junk.) when i get home i never have the guilt or the regret! i also steer clear away from soda at home or at restaurants. i never miss it.

  92. Jade

    I love using applesauce or mashed banana in place of some of the fat in baking recipes – I actually find that it can make for lighter texture, too!

  93. Barbara Swoyer

    I use non-fat Greek yogurt almost daily. And switched from sweetened yogurt with Grape Nuts to a fruit, yogurt and coconut smoothie.

  94. Elizabeth

    My skinny swap is turkey bacon for bacon in anything, and Cabot 50% reduced fat cheese for anything that needs a sharp cheddar flavor. I also LOVE Bolthouse Farms’ salad dressing…so flavorful and SO much better for you.

  95. Nini~

    I have done most of your suggestions for years, it does help keep the extra weight off! I didn’t know about greek yogurt cream cheese! I never eat cream cheese because of it’s low protein, but I’m excited to find some and give it a try! Thanx for that info!


  96. Carol Douglass

    Making a grocery list with lots of healthy, non-processed food. I will be putting it all to good use in the months to come.

  97. Becky Schneider

    I love using Kroger Carbmaster vanilla yogurt in smoothies- much higher protein and delicious! Thanks for these recipe ideas.!

  98. Laura Adams

    It is so great that you are doing this. Just 2 days ago, I had retread your post about how you lost your weight. This morning I woke up resolved to start AGAIN! I thought about what you had written, and I decided to read it again. I came to your we page and saw this post! I believe in being God-driven and I believe God brought you to mind this morning again! Thank you for the giveaway! My victory is that I started yesterday getting my life focused on what is important- my health!

  99. Kathleen

    Instrad of using bread to make a sandwich, I use iceberg lettuce to wrap the sandwich. I also use only corn tortillas now instead of flour ones –less carbs and calories!

  100. Cathi

    My swap is to walk the treadmill while watching TV, instead of sitting. Although at the end of my busy days, I want my comfy chair! Thanks for the great suggestions, Amanda!

  101. Regina

    Hello! I don’t believe in drastic eating habits, they simply do not work. That’s the right way to go, changing habits, changing ingredients, substituting them for a healthier & less caloric product. That’s a great idea to help others to achieve a healthier habits.

  102. Susie in MO

    I’ve never seen Greek yogurt cream cheese! Going to give that a try. My swap will be a dog walk for couch time :-) .

  103. Rebecca

    I am going to search for the Greek yogurt cream cheese – that sounds amazing! My big victory has been to follow a healthy eating lifestyle since July. My little victory today, my weigh day, is that I am feeling encouraged by my progress (and your post) and not discouraged that the scale has not budged in two weeks.

  104. Tami Patino

    Excited to try the Greek yogurt cream cheese….did not know it was out there. My healthy swap is water for juices and pop.

  105. Kathleen

    Thanks for the tips. I didn’t know Greek yogurt cream cheese existed. My newest favorite swap is plain Greek yogurt for sour cream. It works shockingly well and sometimes tastes better. Thanks for giveaway- Kroger is our regular go-to grocery store.