We all know that losing weight requires burning more calories than you consume. But if you are like me, yummy food is a weakness and cutting back on calories is easier said than done. However, with a little thought and extra effort, you will be amazed at how many calories you can save in one day. Here are 10 ways you can easily cut calories in your daily food intake.
1. Count your calories
It is important to eat a healthy number of calories each day. However, when you eat too much, you will suffer the consequences. There are a variety of apps or websites available that can help you count calories such as Livestrong or MyFitnessPal. With these free calorie counters, you can search for food you ate or manually enter calories. You don’t have to be exact when counting calories. By entering a close approximation, you can see how close you are to eating the recommended amount of food each day and where improvements can be made.
2. Avoid the sugary drinks
Calories from sugary beverages are often known as empty calories because they have very little nutritional value. You can save yourself up to 150 calories by choosing water instead of a can of soda. Plus, several beverages contain multiple servings in the bottle or can. If you drink the entire beverage, you can drink 300 or more calories without realizing it.
3. Leave food on your plate
You don’t have to eat everything on your plate. By leaving just a few bites, you can cut several calories from your daily intake. However, just make sure the food you do leave isn’t just your vegetables or fruits.
4. Turn off the TV
When you eat a meal, don’t eat it in front of a TV or computer screen. When you eat in front of a screen, your mind focuses on what you are viewing not what you are eating. You tend to overeat which can add several hundred calories to your daily intake if you are not careful.
5. Forget the toppings
You can save yourself a substantial amount of calories if you forget about adding all of the toppings to your salads, baked potatoes, soups and more. Depending upon the amount and type of toppings, you can add hundreds of calories to one simple dish. Save yourself the extras and eat your salads and potatoes a little plain. Your body will thank you later.
Instead of using a large scoop of sour cream, use plain Greek yogurt. Or, you can add 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 teaspoon of extra virgin oil to a salad instead of regular dressing. You can even substitute half of the oil in a recipe with applesauce, which can cut nearly 100 calories from the baked good. There are a variety of options you can use when substituting unhealthy ingredients.
If you are trying to lose weight, sleep is your best friend. When you get the proper amount of sleep each night you avoid snacking and eating late. Additionally, studies show that when you are sleep deprived you respond more strongly to fattening foods. The proper amount of sleep can help those veggies look a little more appetizing.
8. Use cooking spray
When cooking, choose non-stick cooking spray instead of butter when cooking eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches and more. In fact, you can saute vegetables with cooking spray instead of a large slab of butter. A popular option is to use cooking spray on air-popped popcorn to eliminate the excess butter, yet still give your popcorn a bit of that buttery taste.
9. Perform strength training exercises
When trying to get the most out of your exercise many people think cardio is the answer. But that isn’t always the case. While cardio is excellent for your heart, strength training will help you lose and maintain your weight. Strength training increases lean muscle mass and helps you burn calories throughout the day, not just during your workout.
10. Enjoy the sauce on the side
Instead of smothering your salad or your pasta with sauce, ask for the sauce on the side. You can save yourself calories by dipping your fork into the dressing instead of coating your food in calorie-rich sauce.
You don’t have to go to drastic measures to cut calories out of your daily food intake. With a little bit of effort, you can save yourself the calories and improve the way you look and feel about your body.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.