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Tips & Easy Ways To Cut Extra Calories From Your Diet
Stick to one serving of cereal.
A typical pour of breakfast cereal is equal to two servings. If you’re trying to lose weight, cut back on calories by accurately measuring one serving (usually ¾ to 1 cup, but check package labeling) into your bowl. You’ll shave off about 150 calories from your cereal and at least 50 calories in extra milk every morning. That’s a savings that equals 1,400 calories per week, 6,000 calorie per month and 73,000 calories per year — and that’s 21 pounds lost at the end of a year from this one simple tip!
Switch to skim milk.
If you’re still drinking whole milk or using it in your latte, cereal, or smoothies, do your heart and waistline a favor and switch to skim (fat-free) — it's one of the easiest changes you can make to improve your diet. Skim milk still has all the protein, calcium, and other nutrients that make milk so nutritious, but you get all this goodness for 70 fewer calories per cup and zero fat. Swap out two 8-ounce servings per day and you’ll save 980 calories per week, 4,200 calories per month, and 51,100 calories per year. That equates to a 15 pound weight loss at the end of one year!
Dilute your dressings.
Switch from regular salad dressing (up to 190 calories per 2 tablespoons) to a light salad dressing (look for brands with no more than 60 calories per 2 tablespoons). You can dilute the fat, calories, and sodium in commercial dressings even further by pouring extra plain vinegar (balsamic, red wine, or your favorite) right into the bottle and shaking it up. Since most people — and restaurants — douse salads with at least 4 tablespoons of dressing, if you make this slimming substitution for three salads a week, and you’ll effortlessly trim 780 calories per week, 3,120 calories per month, and 37,440 calories per year. That could knock off close to 11 pounds by the end of one year! If you’d rather make your own dressing, try my recipe for Light Balsamic Vinaigrette,which has just 60 calories in a 2-tablespoon serving.
Scratch the butter or spread.
I’m not saying you have to lose butter or spreads entirely from your diet, but if you cut back significantly, you’ll notice a difference. Eliminate a total of one tablespoon of regular butter or spread from toast, veggies, potatoes, and dinner rolls each day. At up to 100 calories per tablespoon, you’ll save 700 calories per week, 3,000 calories per month, and 36,500 calories per year. That means 10.5 pounds GONE at the end of one year!
Slash the soda.
Sugary drinks like soda are literally liquid candy. They're loaded with refined sugar and calories — and they're wasted calories, because liquids don't fill you up the same way solid food does. Swap your daily 12-ounce can of regular soda (150 calories) for a can of naturally flavored, calorie-free seltzer (0 calories). These seltzers are flavored solely with a shot of natural fruit flavor, such as lime, raspberry, or orange. They don’t contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners, so they’re not sweet — but because they are carbonated, they have that fizzy pop we love from soda. Substitute one can a day and you’ll save yourself from 1,050 calories of straight sugar per week, 4,200 calories per month, and a hefty 50,400 calories per year. That could translate a 14 pound drop on the scale!
The calories in starches can add up fast, so if you’re trying to reduce your calorie intake, be creative. One easy trick for minimizing starch is to eat your daily sandwich open-faced, on just one slice of bread instead of the usual two. At about 100 calories per slice, you’ll save 700 calories per week, 3,000 calories per month, and 36,500 calories per year — that figures to a 10.5 pound weight loss at the end of one year!
Start dinner with a veggie first course.
Studies show that by starting a meal with a fiber-rich, super filling bowl of broth-based vegetable soup (or a low-cal tossed salad, or any other raw or cooked vegetable), you can reduce your total calorie intake by 20 percent. That’s because the vegetable first course takes the edge off your hunger and you wind up eating less food at your main meal. So if you usually consume 1,000 calories at dinner, this trick will take off 200 calories per night, saving you 1,400 calories per week, 6,000 calories per month and 73,000 calories per year. That's more than 20 pounds lost at the end of one year!
Be strategic with cocktails.
Avoid sugar-loaded mixed drinks and frou-frou happy hour specials. The average fruity cocktail counts up to 250 calories — that’s just the beginning. A large frozen margarita can count as high as 600 calories (WOW). Instead order a glass of wine, light beer, or a mixed drink with calorie-free seltzer and a splash of juice (all 100 to 120 calories). Slim down four weekly drink orders and you’ll cut at least 600 calories per week, 2,400 calories per month, and 28,800 calories per year. One year later...you could be down 9 pounds from this one tweak alone!
Spray, don't pour.
Vegetable oils — like olive and canola — may be heart healthy, but they’re also high in calories, which can add up to big time weight gain if you use them liberally when cooking at home. Use a reusuable oil mister (or cooking spray) instead of oil straight from the bottle when you roast, grill, and pan sauté. If you cut just 1 tablespoon of oil from your meal prep each day (about 120 calories), you’ll end up saving 840 calories per week, 3,600 calories per month, 43,800 calories per year. That’s more than 12 pounds lost at the end of one year with hardly changing a thing! And, if you purchase a reusable oil mister from a home goods store instead of constantly buying the disposable nonstick spray canisters, you’ll save cash and packaging waste, too
Nix late night snacking.
Whether your snack of choice is ice cream, cookies, potato chips, or popcorn, we all feel the urge to munch in the evening. Exercise some willpower and skip your nighttime snack and you’ll save (on average) 250 calories each day. That translates to 1,750 calories saved per week, 7,500 calories saved per month, and 91,250 calories saved per year, a whopping 26 pound weight loss at the end of one year! Instead of reaching for something sugary or salty, sip a caffeine-free tea in the evening to help you relax before bedtime, or take a soothing soak in the bathtub to unwind — and get your mind off the munchies.
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