Cutting calories doesn’t always have to be bad; you’re depriving yourself of all the tasty and delicious foods you love. It can be simple, easy, and gratifying.
Now, let’s recall the basics of living a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle. First, you have to consume fewer calories than you need to burn daily.
For almost everyone trying to lose weight, cutting calories from their day is the most logical place to start. Experts say that if you find a way to cut back 500 calories every day, then you’ll be able to lose almost a pound per week. Doesn’t that sound fantastic!
So, to help inspire you, we rounded up the top 10 ways you can cut calories from your daily diet.
Take a look.
1. Avoid Liquid Calories
We’re often so focused on how many calories are in food items that we completely forget about what we drink.
Some beverages, including soda, artificial fruit juices, and commercially produced coffees and energy drinks, are all laden with unnecessary calories.
For example, a 16-ounce Coke bottle contains over 44 grams of sugar and nearly 200 calories! That’s equal to a couple of strips of bacon or one glazed doughnut!
What’s even more disturbing is that studies show that they’re one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes, obesity, as well as a range of digestive problems.
2. Don’t Go Back for Seconds
It can be tempting to go back for seconds if you’re enjoying a delicious meal. However, indulge yourself in a second serving, and you’ll be consuming loads more calories than you should. It also makes it more challenging to determine how much you ate during that entire meal.
The best thing to do is to be prepared. If you know you’re eating at a restaurant or a get-together, eat some fruits and vegetables beforehand. This way, you’ll be half-full, and you won’t be tempted to go back for seconds.
3. Look for Low-Calorie Alternatives
Let’s say you’ve been watching your calories for several weeks now, and you’re making significant progress. But you get this urge for a burger. What do you do?
Well, nutritionists tell us that the best way to avoid cravings is to go through them, rather than avoid them. In other words, look for ways to make whatever you’re craving healthier.
Going back to the burger example, why not remove one slice of bread and make it an open-faced sandwich. Then, you’ll not only be able to enjoy your burger, but you’ll also be able to shave off a little less than 200 calories!
You can also take it a step further and remove both buns. Then, wrap the burger in layers of lettuce and make yourself a lettuce wrap sandwich.
Be as creative as you want. The important thing is to opt for healthier alternatives without depriving yourself to maintain a nutritious, well-balanced lifestyle.
4. Just Say ‘No’
If your family is used to fried foods, it’s time you made a change. Encourage them to find healthier alternatives rather than filling up on those heavy, greasy foods.
Also, stop buying junk food and storing it in your pantry. It’s easy to reach for processed, high-sugar, high-fat foods when you’re stressed or tired. So, the best way to avoid that is not to have it in the house, to begin with.
Starting today, consciously decide to say ‘no’ to unhealthy snacking and other detrimental eating behaviors that will add on the pounds without offering any nutritional value.
5. Use Smaller Dinner Plates
Studies show that today’s dinner plates average over 40% larger than in the 1980s. Unfortunately, this has led us to eat more without even realizing it, resulting in a slew of chronic health issues, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart conditions.
The best way to steer clear of all that is to get used to always using smaller plates. Even if you’re at an all-you-can-eat buffet, grab the small plate and fill it up to your heart’s content.
This way, you can try a little bit of everything on the menu. Best of all, you get to keep your portion sizes under control without the risk of overeating.
6. Cut Back on Alcohol
People who are keen on cutting back calories do a pretty good job during the week. Then, when the weekend rolls around, they binge drink.
The problem is that alcoholic beverages are packed with empty calories.
Instead, opt for drinks with fewer calories, like clear beverages, especially those with a low-calorie mixer. Try to avoid wine, beer, and cocktails.
7. Ask for a Doggie Bag
Restaurants typically serve out large-sized portions that contain far more calories than you need in any one meal. So, to avoid the urge of having to clean the plate and fill yourself up, ask for a doggie bag.
Better yet, split the food on your plate in half. Then, consciously make the decision to take one of the two halves home with you.
Just paying attention to what’s in front of you on the plate is enough to help you recognize when you’re full. Most times, we eat without being aware of how we feel or what the food tastes like.
So, the next time, eat mindfully, enjoy every bite, and stop when you’re full. Then, if there’s still food left on the plate, tell the server to wrap it for you to go.
8. Use Less Dressing
In fact, you shouldn’t eat dressing at all. But, if you must, you can at least order it on the side and use it sparingly. This way, you can control how much you’re consuming while adding a pleasant savory taste.
Creamy sauces and condiments also fall into this category. Here’s a quick example: one tablespoon of mayonnaise adds nearly 60 calories to your meal!
How about creamy Sriracha sauce? Just one tablespoon of that contains almost 90 calories!
9. Fill Up on Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Grabbing an apple or pear instead of a bag of crunchy nacho chips takes some getting used to. But, once you build that habit, your brain will start to seek out whole fruits and veggies whenever you’re hungry.
These convenient natural-made snacks contain a long list of vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants. Plus, some are juicier than others, like cucumbers and watermelon, which means you get some nice hydration as well.
Yet, the best part is that fruits and vegetables fill you up and give you an energy boost.
10. Count Your Calories
You’re probably thinking, ‘I tried counting calories in the past, and it was too time-consuming and frustrating.’
Don’t worry, you weren’t the only one thinking those very same thoughts.
Lucky for us, app manufacturers heard our pleas and now, we can choose from a long line of calorie-counting apps. They can help you keep track of what you eat and how much water you’ve drank.
Some can also sync to your fitness gear or come with a pedometer to help you count your daily steps. Best of all, you can use these apps for more than just recording your intake. They can also help keep you motivated and build long-term, healthy habits.