Top 10 Ways to Cut Calories

1. Meal plan. You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a huge fan of a good meal plan. In part, because of my very type-A personality and also because there just really are so many benefits to having one. I talked before about how meal plans can help you save money on your grocery bill, but another great benefit is that they allow you to plan your calorie intake. If you’re someone who is just trying to maintain your weight and a healthy lifestyle, I’m not suggesting that you actually calculate each individual meal. But if you know you’re going out with friends and will be consuming a large amount of calories in the evening one day, plan for a lighter breakfast and lunch to balance it out. If your goal is to lose weight, keeping track of your exact calorie intake is essential, and will definitely be made easier if you have an all-inclusive meal plan.

2. Portion out your foods. If you’re really trying to watch your calorie intake, controlling your portions is an obvious necessity. If weight loss is your goal, it’s not enough to “eyeball” things. Put your measuring cups to good use. For things like meat and snacks, I would suggest getting a kitchen scale so that you can portion out your foods exactly. 

3. Stock up on healthy snacks. It’s unrealistic to think that you’re never going to want to snack throughout the day. And honestly, it’s not even healthy! Our bodies run the most efficiently when we have 5-6 small meals each day because it helps keep our metabolism functioning at it’s peak. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand (and get rid of any junk!) so that you have a few options when you are feeling hungry. If you are counting calories, any snacks you eat throughout the day, no matter how small, should be included in your count. 

4. Cook with oil instead of butter. While oil and butter are both very calorie dense, oil is the better option in terms of how our bodies process it. As a general rule, fats that are solid at room temperature are not a healthy option and contain artery-blocking components that contribute to weight gain and heart disease. Stick to fats that are liquid at room temperature. I tend to use extra virgin olive oil the most often, but if you are cooking something, and you want to avoid that olive oil taste, opt for grapeseed oil because it has a very mild flavor that is pretty much undetectable. 

5. Fill up on veggies. A good trick I recently learned is to always go for your vegetables first when eating a meal. This not only sets a healthy tone for your whole meal, but it also will help you to fill up on the good stuff so that you consume fewer calories from complex carbs. 

6. Don’t mistake thirst for hunger. When you’re feeling hungry, and you know you shouldn’t be, try drinking a glass of water before heading for the fridge. A lot of times we mistake thirst for hunger, and all we really need is a little hydration. If you want to get fancy with it, throw in some cucumber and lemon to add in some flavor. 

7. Eat high-fiber foods. Foods that are naturally high in fiber help give us the feeling of being full. Most vegetables are very high in fiber so they tend to give us this feeling. Chia seeds are also high in fiber and do an excellent job of keeping hunger levels to a minimum. 

8. Switch to light sour cream. This is an easy one guys. And I promise, you won’t have to compromise on flavor either. Believe me, I know that some “low-fat” options taste like absolute garbage, but you won’t have that problem with light sour cream. The only difference is that it has a much thicker texture, but in most cases, this won’t be an issue at all since sour cream is typically used to mix with other things. Try it once and you’ll never buy regular sour cream again. 

9. Substitute hummus or guacamole for mayonnaise. Light mayonnaise is one of those things that tastes pretty darn gross. So just skip the mayonnaise altogether and give your sandwich some moisture and flavor with some hummus or guacamole. You get a lot more flavor payoff with these options than you do with mayonnaise, but with way less calories. And yes, I know that guacamole is fairly calorie-dense, but a little bit goes a long way, and keep in mind avocados are a source of healthy fats. 

10. Eat more pickles. Pickles are great for weight loss. They contain almost no calories, and offer a great crunch. Substitute pickles for chips as a side with your lunch and you will have saved yourself at least 100 calories. 

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