When you’re trying to lose weight, there are two basic that you can do. The first is to increase the number of calories you burn, and the second is to decrease the number of calories you take in. Decreasing your calorie consumption can be difficult because, let’s face it, eating is fun. However, there are a number of easy tricks that can help you to cut calories from your diet. Give some of these a try!
1. Start Meals with a Salad
Salads are low in calories and high in nutrients, and they're full of fiber and water, both of which help you to feel full. If you add a salad to as many of your meals as possible and eat the salad first, this will help you eat less, without feeling hungry.
2. Drink Lots of Water
Often, people confuse sensations of hunger with thirst. If you keep yourself hydrated, you can avoid this. The next time you feel like you need a snack, drink a glass of water. Wait 20 minutes to see if you really were hungry or if the water has taken away the desire.
3. Snack Right
Eating between meals isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you’re eating the right foods. In fact, eating frequently may be able to help keep your blood sugar and energy levels consistent, keep your metabolism high, and help you from binging on unhealthy foods later. Try eating fruits and vegetables, or quality protein when you snack. These will give you important nutrients and help you feel full.
4. Avoid the Vending Machine
Nothing can pack on the calories in a less satisfying way than the prepackaged treats many of us rely on to get through the workday. Try bringing food from home instead. If the temptation to hit the vending machine is too great, don’t bring cash with you to work. This way, there’s no way you can break down.
5. Measure Before You Indulge
Everyone has times when they need to indulge in some junk food. This is fine and totally normal. But when you do indugle, measure out the amount you’ll eat before you start. If you eat straight from the bag or bucket or container, you’re likely to overeat without ever intending it. By measuring out your serving beforehand, you're making the conscious decision of how much you eat and enjoy, and you'll probably eat less.
6. Record What You Eat
With a smartphone app or a simple notebook, write down what you eat each day. Simply recording what you put in your mouth can help you to take ownership of your diet, and chances are that without even trying, you’ll cut calories.
7. Take Your Coffee Black
Instead of using creamer or getting lattes, drink your coffee black. This will significantly cut down on calorie count. If plain coffee seems too boring, try adding cardamom or cinnamon.
8. Cut Calories When Eating Out
Eating out alone can add calories to your diet. But if you’re smart about it, you can still cut calories when eating at a restaurant. When you place your order, try asking your waiter to package half your order in a to-go doggy bag. Often we don’t really need a whole order of restaurant food to feel full, and this way you won’t accidentally eat your whole meal simply because it’s there.
You can also consider getting an appetizer instead of an entree. Depending on the appetizer, this can help you to cut calories. But be aware that some appetizers, while smaller than entrees, are packed with calories and fat, so choose wisely. You’re better off getting the vegetable kebab than the onion blossom.
9. Eat a Healthy Dessert
Desserts tend to be extremely calorie-dense, so if you can swap your usual dessert for something healthier, this can help you cut a lot of calories. Fresh fruit with a little bit of chocolate sauce and some nuts can feel decadent while still being relatively low-calorie. Also, try making banana ice cream. Freeze bananas, then process them in your blender or food processor to make a delicious, creamy dessert the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. Try topping with cocoa nibs and almond slivers.
10. Replace Soda with Water
Soda is an extremely common source of empty calories. If you can replace just one can of soda per day with water, you can keep yourself better hydrated and cut out a significant number of calories around 180 for regular cola. If you’re craving a little bit of flavor, though, try mixing apple juice with an equal amount of water. This will both help you to cut calories and give you at least some nutrients, unlike most sodas.
11. Drink a Green Smoothie
Smoothies made with fruits and vegetables are great sources of water and fiber, which means that they can help you to feel full and not crave food as much. Try replacing one of your meals with a smoothie. You’ll get plenty of vitamins, cut calories and help stave off cravings.