When it comes to keeping your waistline in check, calories do count! But who wants to feel deprived?
You don’t have to worry when you have these tasty, creative ways to cut calories so you can still enjoy all the munchies you love.
1. Looking for a ways to trim your favorite casserole dish or one pot meal? Try tucking in 1 cup of spinach, kale, or broccoli into your casserole while cutting back on 1/2 cup of cheese, pasta, rice or sour cream.
2. Searing is the key to making lean proteins sing with flavor. Searing your chicken, fish, or lean beef with salt. Heat a large skillet over high heat for 30-40 seconds. Add a tablespoon of canola oil and your protein. Add it to the skillet and cook 30-40 seconds without moving, then turn.
3. Looking for creamy without the calorie overload? Whisk one tablespoon of cream cheese in place of 1/2 cup heavy cream into any warm (but not hot) soup or stew.
4. Are you a beef lover? Go ahead and enjoy your favorite stew, flank steak, or chili, just serve it over a bed of greens, like baby kale, spinach, or beet greens in place of pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice.
5. Overactive appetite? Try adding chilies to your food. Ground cayenne, hot sauce, chipotle added to your favorite foods can help you to feel fuller.
6. Looking for ways to curb the mid morning munchies and cut a few hundred calories a day? Make a breakfast that is high in protein, like eggs. Studies show that eggs help you to feel fuller compared to other breakfast foods. Serve your egg with whole grains that are high in fiber in the form of a slice of 100% whole wheat toast, tortilla, or pita.
7. Do you love that “Venti” (extra large) latte in the morning? Go from a a venti to a grande or one size smaller and cut 70 calories or more. Drink a glass of water after to get the “full filling” you’re used to from the extra large.
8. Want more flavor with less calories? In place of cheese, butter, or other calorie-dense sprinkles, add freshly chopped basil, a sprinkle of curry, freshly ground black pepper, a spoonful of balsamic, or a squeeze of fresh lemon. You can cut 100 calories of more from your meal.
9. Do you love that glass of wine at the end of the night? I do too! Try serving half the amount in a small 4 ounce sherry glass, cutting around 70 calories.
10. Love to dip? Skip the chips. Enjoy your favorite dip with veggie sticks in place of crackers or chips and save calories while you snack.
11. You’re not hungry, you’re thirsty! People often mistake thirst for hunger, and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. Next time you feel like snacking, sip a glass of water and wait 20 minutes, chances are the hunger pangs will vanish.
12. Got a sweet tooth that just won’t go away? Replace you daily candy bar with an apple topped with one tablespoon of this delectable dark chocolate peanut butter. Save 110 calories and get fiber and cancer fighting compounds to boot.
13. When you travel, pack your lunch, and yes — sandwiches, pasta salads, and grilled veggies make it through the x-ray machine! Most fast food meals can clock in at 1000 – 1500 calories in just one meal.
14. Everyone loves take-out pizza, myself included. It’s so hard to resist that second piece. Munch on carrot sticks or have a salad with fresh squeezed lemon to fill up while you’re waiting for the delivery boy.
15.Looking for a chocolate fix that won’t trash your healthy eating efforts? Try munching 16 dark chocolate chips for only 80 calories.
16. Eat off a salad plate instead of a dinner plate. Studies show that people eat what’s on their plate, so to avoid portion distortion, start with smaller plates.
17. Make friends with fruit (but not fruit juice!). Swap our your snack of pretzels, crackers or chips for 1 cup of low-calorie fruits, like blueberries and apples. You’ll be saving hundreds of calories weekly, and ramp up on antioxidants. Their fiber and pectin content can also help to steady blood sugar, which means less cravings throughout the day.
18. Have wild hunger pangs that never seem to go away? You might have critters (colonies of bad bacteria) in your gut who hanker for sweets and alcohol. Try replacing your breakfast toast or cereal with a low-sugar probiotic yogurt or kefir that zap bad bacteria. Replenish the good bacteria you need, can not only help with stabilizing blood sugar, and a host of other functions, it can help banish your craving for junk foods.
19. Heat up your dishes with a little hot chili. Fresh chopped jalapeno, or a splash of hot sauce on your meal may mean that you’ll eat less. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chilies, not only helps you to burn calories more effectively, but it also tingles you tongue and makes you slow down while you’re eating.
20. Make your mealtime sacred. Turn off phones, computers, and the TV. Eating while typing or watching TV can turn you into a mindless eater, which not only means more calories at that meal but also more later in the day.
21. Seconds anyone? If you’re anything like me, I want to go for seconds right away. But rest at least 10 minute before going for a second helping. It may take up to 20 minutes for your digestive hormones to tell your brain that the stomach is full, and you may be overeating — which could add up to thousands of calories weekly.
22. Instead of eating a whole cup of cereal in the morning, eat 1/2 cup topped with 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries. Save 40 to 50 calories.
23. Little things add up: cut 2 teaspoons from sugar in your coffee in the morning, save 210 calories a week.
24. Are you a soda drinker? It might be hard to cut it completely, and you should. But if you cut just 3-4 sodas a week you can shred up to 600 calories.
25. Olive oil is a healthy fat, but watch the portion size. If you cook your veggies and protein in olive oil, cut just one tablespoon (that’s a capful) and save over 100 calories.
26. Do you go weak in the knees when you see cheese? Instead of loading up on cheddar, grate a little Parmesan to shave off 50 or more calories.
27. Love your ketchup and BBQ sauce? Use a little salsa instead to cut up to 40-50 calories.
28. Casseroles, stews, and chilies can be healthy, but caloric if you have more then a cup. Place a big handful of spinach or greens in the bottom of your bowl and top with a cup of steaming stew to cut 100 calories or more.
29. Grilled cheese is a tasty comfort food fix, but try an “open faced” version with one slice of bread and one slice of cheese to trim off 100 calories.
30. If you’re hooked on ice cream, try making your own frozen treats, to scale back on hundreds of calories.