Does the word ‘calorie’ sound anything important to your health? A sweetened beverage can provide as much as 1200 calories, whereas one cup of pasta has 131 calories. Turns out that it really is an important word.
Calories are used to measure the energy value of your food. This difference in the energy value of different foods makes it important to cut calories from your diet through reducing or replacing the kind of food that you choose to eat.
20 Ways To Cut Calories
Have you ever considered reducing weight or maintaining it? If yes, here are 20 ways that will help you achieve your goal. The idea is to cut calories from your diet
1. Use Less Sauce
While having our meals, we do not consider that sauces are also calorie-laden stuff. Although it’s just one spoon of mayonnaise, it is also an extra 57 calories.
You might have heard that people get used to with things they practice.
If you are habitual at eating lots of sauce, you can try to lessen the amount gradually. Similarly, if you use low amounts of sauce, try eliminating it or moving to low-calorie options like tomato-based causes instead of creamy sauce.
The use of less sauce might sound like a simple thing, but it will significantly lessen your daily calorie intake.
2. Don’t eat in front of the TV
Most people have their TV screens facing the dining table. You are more likely to eat more in front of the television than what you would eat without distraction.
The over-eating problem doesn’t come from watching TV, but it happens because of lack of attention to the food and its taste.
Research from the University of Massachusetts concludes that you’ll eat up to 288 extra calories while eating in distraction.
Instead of eating in front of the TV, try eating at the table, and combine this habit with a one-hour casual walk. that way, you’ll easily burn 500 calories.
Related article: Here’s Why Everyone Should Walk 30 Minutes a Day
3. Manage stress
It is a common belief that stress makes people skinny, but that’s NOT true. The individuals under stress burn fewer calories than others. Moreover, they look for comfort-food that is usually high in calories.
A good place to start managing your stress will be 10 minutes of daily yoga practice.
4. Limit salad toppings
A big bowl of salad looks like a healthy choice, but a careful look at the toppings can bring you out of that illusion. Toppings such as dried fruits, nuts with caramel, avocado, croutons, cheese, sauces, and bacon can convert a healthy salad bowl into calorie-laden food.
If you are looking to cut calories from the food, limiting the salad toppings is a good idea. Go for just one topping and that too needs to have low calories.
5. Don’t drink your calories
You need to kick that soda and lessen the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages. Not only are these sweet beverages taking your calorie-graph on the high side, but they also increase your sugar intake.
A 500ml of coke contains around 200 calories and 44 grams of sugar.
A venti Green Tea Frap and White Chocolate Mocha Frappuccino at Starbucks have 550 calories each.
Similarly, Starbuck’s Venti Caffe Vanilla Frappuccinos made from whole milk and whipped cream has a total of 530 calories.
That’s a crazy amount of calories for just one drink!
If you are down to consume this much of calories in one glass, by all means, do so. But if you are looking to cut calories from your diet, you need to take a look at the calorie value of drinks you buy.
Related article: 28 Clean Eating Snacks You Can Eat on the Go
6. Use smaller plates
Our dinner plates are almost 40 percent larger as compared to those in the 1980s. Larger the plates, more are the chances of overeating.
A research study conducted on individuals at a buffet found that people with bigger plates ate much more than those who had small plates.
If you are using a 12-inch plate, swap it with a 10-inch version. On a small plate, the same amount of food looks big. You are tricking your brain by using a small plate that shows less food as large.
7. Don’t add sugar in tea and coffee
Tea and coffee are the drinks that most people consume more than once per day. Although these are healthy and have low calories, the amount of sugar you add in these drinks increases the total calories.
If you have been using 2 teaspoons per cup, try to reduce it to one and a half, then one, and eventually zero.
Better alternatives to sugar include stevia, xylitol, erythritol, and coconut sugar.
Trust me; it gets easier once you seriously decide to do it.
8. Chips are no exception
I have seen people buying extra large packets of chips and crackers with the intention to have them last longer. However, the reality turns out to be different.
When you open a packet of chips, you are more likely to finish it than preserve the remaining portion for later use.
Thin and crispy, these chips look innocent, but a large pack can have as much as 1300 calories. That’s crazy!
Similarly, crackers are mostly without sugar, and you think it’s okay to go overboard. However, these food items are adding significantly to the number of calories you consume.
A simple trick is to buy small packets of chips. If you have big packs, count your chips and crackers, and limit your intake to 8-10 chips and 4-5 crackers.
9. A little less pasta can help
One cup of pasta has 130-200 calories. But the typical servings at restaurants (and even at your home) are wayyy larger than one cup.
My trick for consuming less pasta and cutting some calorie intake is to share it with friends or get half the serving packed for taking home.
10. Vegetables are good
What are vegetables? They are the low-calorie food on your dining table that you mostly ignore.
Research says that majority doesn’t eat recommended amounts of vegetables.
Since you are looking to cut calories from your diet, it’s good to have double benefits. What you need to do is fill up half of your plate with vegetables. This will help you cut back on high calorie food.
11. Count Your Calories
One of the best ways to cut calories is to count them. This used to be time-consuming to practice in the past, but not anymore. There are multiple calorie counters and nutrition trackers, such as my fitness pal and lose it, that help you track what you eat. Even better, some apps also provide healthy lifestyle tips.
12. A low-calorie starter
Studies and my personal experience show that having a low-calorie starter can prevent you from overeating. Since the starter has already filled some space in your stomach, you are likely to feel fuller by eating fewer amounts of the meal.
13. Drink water before you start eating
You might have seen individuals on diet drinking water before they eat. It is believed that this will help them feel fuller and resultantly they will eat less.
One study found that people who drank 2 cups of water before their meals ate 13 percent less calories than those who eat without drinking water
14. Mini version is the best version
Mini is your new friend if calorie intake is a concern. Sweets and desserts are high in calories. A piece of brownie has more calories than you think. One brownie, 2″ square contains 112 calories.
Seems low? Well, you need to walk for 29 minutes to burn those 112 calories.
Now think of the number of calories you get from that giant piece of brownie.
I prefer to go for the mini version of desserts and sweets. Mini versions help you cut back on the number of calories while satisfying your sweet tooth at the same time. You can also cut your large portion to share with a friend.
15. Eat with focus
Distractions can make you eat up to 30 percent more snacks that otherwise. It happens every day. People eat large portions of food while sitting at their computer, reading a book, watching a movie, or using their cell phones.
With this reality, it is better to eat with focus. Be mindful of what you are eating and how much of it you consume.
It takes no more than 20 minutes to finish your food plate. You can surely take off this much time from your other activities.
16. Get half packed when eating out
We have all committed the overeating mistake when dining out. The amount of food you eat is also linked to the person with who you are eating with.
If your friend orders the largest burger (or another food item) on the menu, you are likely to copy him. This large sized meal can fulfill an entire day’s calorie intake.
A smart decision is to ask the waiter to wrap up half the food for you to take home. Alternatively, you can share it with a friend.
17. Swap your food with some healthy item
Food swaps are a foolproof way of slashing calories. These swaps are intended to replace unhealthy fat and sugar with healthy and low-calorie nutrients.
No one’s asking you to eat leaves and starve yourself. In food swaps, you have to see which food has more calories and which one is low in that terms. For example, if caramel chocolate has more calories than dark chocolate, you can opt for the dark one.
No food is banned, just a high-calorie food is swapped with some delicious low-calorie food.
18. Look for proteins
Whether you want to lose weight or maintain it, proteins can help you. These macronutrients help boost metabolism, reduce your appetite, and change the levels of hormones that can add weight to your body.
By reducing the hunger hormone, proteins help you significantly lower your calorie intake.
Moreover, proteins need calories while they are being digested. Therefore, up to 30 percent of the calories taken in the form of proteins are burnt as the body digests and metabolize them. Not only this, but proteins also help you burn more calories by boosting your metabolism.
Not yet convinced?
Okay. Proteins reduce that late-night snacking desire and cut cravings. You no longer need to school yourself against the unhealthy cravings. A high protein diet can do it for you.
19. Skip the extra cheese
You believe that a thin looking slice of cheese would do not harm? Or maybe the thought of cheese toppings adding extra calories to your food never crossed your mind?
But a slice of cheese can add up to 100 calories to your food. You can try low-calorie cheese such as parmesan, goat, and feta cheese, or reduce cheese toppings from your food.
20. Change your cooking style
Although deep fried chicken has it’s own delicious taste, but you can easily replace deep frying with healthier options that will cut calories from your food without affecting the taste.
Alternatives to deep frying include
- baking combined with stir-frying
- oven roasting
- grilling the food
- braising and stewing
It’s difficult to replace your favorite fried snacks with some other food, but if you are serious about cutting calories from your diet, you need some better alternative. Some healthy and comparatively low-calorie options are given below.
- Potato chips (Don’t eat more than 6-8 chips as each one has around 10 calories.)
- Baked potatoes instead of french fries
- light baked cinnamon donuts balls instead of fried donuts
- Baked banana instead of fried banana chips
- Grilled fish instead of fried one
It takes an effort to cut calories from your daily food intake. Sometimes, that medium cup of chocolate shake or a bar of chocolate seems like the only option to boost our mood. And other times, you don’t want to think that the word calorie means something important to your health.
Amid this, the only way is to trick your brain into thinking that you are still allowed to have all of your favorite food items is to gradually reduce the intake and make delicious (but healthy) swaps. With some practice, you’d find it easier to cut calories by making smart decisions like opting for the tomato-based sauce instead of creamy sauces and having grilled fish instead of fried chicken.