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Easy Ways to Cut Mega Calories

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Better Your Breakfast

Follow these brilliant tips to scale back your calorie intake...by the hundreds! From breakfast tips to dessert ideas, get some great ideas that will make your diet totally doable.

1. Make your own parfait instead of buying one. Use a cup of fat-free plain Greek yogurt, a half cup of sliced strawberries or blueberries, and a quarter cup of Kashi GoLean Cereal. Save: 151 calories

2. Share your favorite brunch dishes with friends. "Split a 500-calorie waffle and a 600-calorie omelet four ways," says Leslie J. Bonci, RD, FITNESS advisory board member and director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "You won't overindulge or feel deprived." Save: 225 to 325 calories

3. "When ordering eggs, ask for them to be cooked dry," suggests Alyse Levine, RD, dietitian and the nutrition adviser for Livestrong.com. "Chefs often overpour the oil or butter." Save: 250 calories

4. Use 3 ounces of sliced chicken breast in your omelet instead of having 3 ounces of sausage with your eggs, says Marjorie Nolan, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. "Add veggies and salsa for a little kick." Save: about 120 calories

5. Slice your bagel lengthwise into thirds. Keep the ends and toss the center and "you'll have the illusion that you're eating a full bagel," says Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, FITNESS advisory board member and author of The Flexitarian Diet. Save: 120 calories

6. Order Canadian bacon instead of sausage on your breakfast sandwich. Save: 100 to 200 calories

7. At Dunkin' Donuts, get a medium iced coffee with skim milk and Splenda instead of a medium Coffee Coolatta with cream. Save: 560 calories

8. Eat half a grapefruit. "Its high water content can make you feel fuller and keep you from overeating at your main meal," Blatner says. Save: about 100 calories

Snack Smarter

1. Nosh on 20 salted edamame pods instead of 20 potato chips. Save: 100 calories

2. Have a tablespoon of peanuts and a tablespoon of chocolate chips instead of a pack of Peanut M&M's. Save: 127 calories

3. Dip baby carrots and slices of cucumber and bell pepper rather than 14 tortilla chips in your guacamole. Save: 220 calories

4. "Make your snack a small meal," Bonci says. Eat two Mini Babybel Light cheese wedges, a half cup of grapes, and two whole-grain Wasa crackers instead of nibbling your way through half a block of Cracker Barrel sharp cheddar cheese. Save: at least 400 calories

5. Rather than a Snickers bar, have a tablespoon of Nutella on a small apple. Save: 125 calories

Lighten Your Lunch

1. Use a teaspoon of dry-roasted sunflower seeds instead of croutons on your salad. "You'll get a healthy crunch with more protein, vitamins, and minerals," Levine says. Save: 30 to 50 calories

2. Swap candied walnuts for an ounce of raisins on your salad. Save: 115 calories

3. Choose a 6-inch turkey sub instead of tuna the next time you're at Subway. Save: 220 calories

4. Spread a wedge of light cheese on your sandwich instead of using a slice of Swiss. Save: 71 calories

5. Order a cup of egg drop soup instead of a cup of wonton soup. Save: 50 to 100 calories

6. Order a bowl of the Broccoli Cheese soup rather than the Loaded Baked Potato soup at Chili's. Save: 180 calories

7. Have a Burger King cheeseburger instead of the BK Veggie Burger. Save: 110 calories

8. Order any of Taco Bell's Fresco tacos or burritos instead of a salad. Save: 510 to 760 calories

9. Get an open-face grilled chicken sandwich with a half serving of fries and a side salad instead of a burger and fries. Save: 300 to 500 calories

Eat Out for Less

Restaurant meals tend to be loaded with more fat and calories than we realize, Levine says. Order healthy with these tips.

1. At Olive Garden, opt for the Mussels di Napoli instead of the fried calamari for your appetizer. Save: more than 700 calories

2. Top pasta with the Roasted Garlic Cream sauce instead of the Alfredo sauce at Macaroni Grill. Save: 250 calories

3. Ask for chicken and fish to be grilled instead of fried. Save: 150 to 250 calories

4. Order the Parmesan Shrimp Pasta instead of the Parmesan Chicken Pasta at Ruby Tuesday. Save: almost 400 calories

5. At Red Lobster, request extra lemons and limes for your lobster or shrimp instead of butter. Save: 350 calories

6. At Chinese restaurants, choose stir-fried dishes, like broccoli beef, rather than deep-fried, like orange chicken. Save: 200 to 300 calories

Downsize Your Dinner

1. Trade a cup of spaghetti for a cup of spaghetti squash. "The noodles have nearly five times the calories," says Susan M. Kleiner, PhD, RD, author of Power Eating. Save: 179 calories

2. "You don't have to change the foods you're eating to cut calories," Blatner says. "Just reportion them." Nonstarchy veggies, such as green beans, should take up half your plate, and carbs and protein, like potatoes and steak, should each fill a quarter of it. Save: 250 to 300 calories

3. Prevent late-night binges by dividing your dinner into two separate meals, Bonci suggests. "Eat half your portion of carbs, protein, and veggies at 7 p.m. and the rest at 10 p.m., when you would normally have a snack." Save: at least 250 calories

4. Toss your salad with a squeeze of orange and a teaspoon of olive oil instead of two tablespoons of ranch dressing. Save: 100 calories

5. Rather than saute veggies in olive oil, stir-fry them in fat-free vegetable broth and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil after they're cooked. Save: almost 200 calories

6. Instead of using oil to flavor rice, add a tea bag (try jasmine and green tea) to the cooking water. Save: at least 100 calories

7. Make cauliflower and cheese instead of mac and cheese. Save: 192 calories a cup

8. Swap sour cream on a baked potato for nonfat Greek yogurt. Save: more than 60 calories

9. Replace butter on asparagus with grated lemon peel. Save: 200 calories

10. Thicken soups with a cup of pureed white beans, not cream, says Katie Cavuto Boyle, RD, nutritionist for the Phila­delphia Phillies. Save: more than 500 calories a cup

Happy Endings

Yes, you can have dessert! Try these oh-so-sweet ideas.

Instead of: a slice of peach pie with vanilla ice cream
Indulge in: a grilled peach topped with two dollops of whipped cream
Save: 324 calories

Instead of: an ice-cream sandwich
Indulge in: Truwhip frozen topping sandwiched between two graham cracker squares
Save: about 100 calories

Instead of: a cup of vanilla ice cream
Indulge in: a half cup of frozen berries with a half cup of vanilla ice cream. "It'll look like a full bowl and give you antioxidants," Nolan says.
Save: more than 100 calories

Instead of: three biscotti
Indulge in: one biscotto with a mug of pomegranate tea. "It takes longer to eat dessert if you sip a hot drink, so you'll feel fuller," Bonci says.
Save: 200 calories

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