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Tracking How Many Calories You Eat

Easy Ways to Cut Calories for Healthier Diets

Losing weight is simple math. If you cut 3,500 calories out of your diet in the course of a week without reducing your daily activity, you can say good-bye to one whole pound of fat.

Here are some easy changes to make:

  • Switch to low-fat or no-fat dairy products: Dairy products are the best source for the calcium that keeps bones strong. But these same products may also be high in cholesterol, saturated fat, and calories. You can reduce all three by choosing a low- or no-fat milk product.

  • Substitute sugar substitutes: Coffee has no calories, but every teaspoon of sugar you stir into your cup has 15 big ones. Multiply that by four (1 teaspoon each in four cups of coffee), and your naturally no-cal beverage can add 60 calories a day to your diet. One packet of sugar substitute has absolutely zero calories.

  • Serve stew instead of steak: If you stew your beef or lamb or pork rather than broiling or roasting it, you can skim off a bunch of high-calorie fat. Just make the stew and then stick it in the fridge until a layer of fat hardens on top. Spoon it off: Every tablespoon of pure fat subtracts 100 calories from dinner. You can also cut off all visible fat before preparing the meat.

  • Choose low-fat desserts: One half cup of Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream has 270 calories. One half cup of Häagen-Dazs no-fat chocolate sorbet has 140 calories.

  • Peel the poultry: Most of the fat in poultry is in the skin. A fried chicken breast with skin has 217 calories; without the skin, it has only 160. Half a roasted duck (with skin) has a whopping 1,287 calories; without skin, it’s only 444.

  • Use oil-free salad dressing: True, salad can be a low-fat, low-calorie meal. Throw in some breast of chicken and a couple of no-fat croutons or cheese cubes, and it’s still mostly crunch.

    But the dressing can do you in. For example, two tablespoons of Wishbone Italian Dressing or one tablespoon of Hellmann’s regular “real mayonnaise” have 100 calories.

    Two tablespoons of Wishbone Fat Free Italian dressing add just 15 calories. One tablespoon of Hellmann’s Light cuts the calorie count in half, to 50 calories. Or, you could just use a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar instead.

  • Make one-slice sandwiches: Depending on the brand, one slice of bread in your daily luncheon sandwich may have anywhere from 65 to 120 calories. Eliminating one slice and serving your sandwich open-faced can cut up to 840 calories from your weekly total.

  • Eliminate the high-fat ingredient: A bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich usually comes with three strips of bacon, each one worth 100 calories. Leave off one strip and save 100 calories. Leave off two, save 200 calories.

  • Season the veggies instead of drowning them in butter: Season your vegetables with herbs instead of greasing them, and you save 100 calories for every unused tablespoon of butter, margarine, or oil. Think dill on the potatoes, chives on the corn, or oregano on the green beans.

  • Wash the chopped meat: Heat a teapot of water. Put the chopped meat in a pan and cook it until it browns. Pour off the fat, turn the meat into a strainer, and pour a cup of hot water over it. Repeat two times. Every tablespoon of fat that melts or drains from the meat saves you 100 calories, plus cholesterol and saturated fat. Use the defatted meat in spaghetti sauce.

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