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Simple Ways to Cut 100 Calories (or More!)

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Who said it was hard to cut calories.  Found this great article on how to make simple swaps to cut 100 calories or more from your daily intake.  These are quick and easy and will reap big rewards in the weeks ahead.  I’ve tried all of these at least once and I promise you, it’s worth your effort.  Enjoy.

By Erin Hicks

It’s easy to pack in an extra 500 calories (or more) during a meal, but it seems a lot harder to shave off 100.  Still, there are basic techniques you can use that reduce your daily consumption and result in major loss over time. In addition to cutting calories, these simple tips will help you add more nutrients to your meals and snacks to help you stay satisfied and healthy.  Read on for 9 ways to trim calories and fight fat for maximum weight loss results.

1.) Munch on Popcorn Instead of Chips

Pour a bowl of air-popped popcorn instead of those greasy chips and you’ll gain nutrients and cut hundreds of calories.  Popcorn is a whole grain, so it provides valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which promotes satiation, says August McLaughlin, a certified nutritionist. “Replacing 2 ounces of potato chips with 3 cups of air-popped popcorn drops your snack from 410 calories to about 90,” she says.

2.) Make Fruit the Star

Like most Americans, you probably don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables, and that’s a shame because they’re full of fiber, antioxidants, and water—plus they’re low in calories.  An easy way to up your intake: Make fruit the star of a dish instead of the supporting role. For example, rather than top cereal with berries, fill your bowl with fruit first. While 1 cup of granola packs 600 calories, 1 cup of fresh fruit topped with 1/3 cup of granola provides about 250.

3.) Load Your Pasta with Veggies (and Hold the Cheese)

“A serving of pasta is about the size of a baseball. Adding fresh or frozen veggies to the mix to increases the bulk adds plentiful nutrients and cuts down on calories,” says McLaughlin. For example, there are about 220 calories in 1 cup of spaghetti and about 21 calories in a teaspoon of Parmesan cheese. Replace half of the spaghetti with 1/2 cup of zucchini and 1/2 cup of broccoli, and leave out the teaspoon of cheese to save about 100 calories.

4.) Go Vegetarian for a Day

Vegetables and plant-based protein sources are often leaner and lower in calories than meat. For example, legumes are rich in protein and other nutrients, yet are low in fat and cholesterol-free. “Opting for steamed soybeans or low-fat vegetarian chili instead of fried chicken wings or a fatty burger can carve ample calories and unhealthy fats from your diet,” says McLaughlin. The next time you’re planning dinner, make the dish you want but forgo the meat. For example, mushrooms are a savory substitute for meat in burgers, sandwiches, and pastas. A 4-ounce serving of ground beef contains 240 calories, while a cup of mushrooms contains just 15 calories.

5.) Skip the White Sauce

Pass up the ranch dressing or mayo on your sandwich and swap it out for mustard. It’s naturally low in calories, yet rich in flavor. A tablespoon of mayo has 57 calories compared with the 9 in a tablespoon of mustard. If you typically slather close to 2 tablespoons of mayo onto your sandwich or burger, swapping that for mustard will slash about 100 calories

6.) Swap Sugary Beverages for Water

“Studies have shown that soft drink account for about 10% of the calories in a typical American diet,” says McLaughlin. “Sugary beverages can offset your blood sugar, leading to appetite increases. Water is a terrific, naturally calorie-free alternative. If you drink water instead of a 32-ounce soft drink, you will save a whopping 400 calories. If you haven’t yet gained the taste preference for water, try adding a splash of fruit juice or cucumber slices.”

7.) Have Oatmeal Instead of a Bagel for Breakfast

Fiber-rich oatmeal can stave off hunger between meals, stopping unnecessary snacking. Oatmeal contains fewer calories yet more protein, vitamins, and minerals per serving than a typical bagel. A bowl of Quaker Oats oatmeal (1/2 cup) has 150 calories and 5 g protein, while a typical bagel contains about 350 calories—and that’s before you add the butter or saturated-fat-laden cream cheese. “For added satiation and nutrients, prepare oatmeal with low-fat milk and fresh berries,” says McLaughlin.

8.) Eat Fresh Fruit Instead of Dried Fruit

Whole fruits are rich in water and fiber, which makes them less calorically dense. When fruit is dried, the sugar and calories are much more concentrated. For example, you can eat a whole cup of grapes for 113 fewer calories than you’d take in from 1/2 cup of raisins.

9.) Nosh on Veggies Instead of Chips or Crackers

Vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, and celery are much lower in calories than crackers and are full of healthy nutrients. For example, 12 Triscuit crackers contain 240 calories, while 2 cups of baby carrots contain just 140 calories. Plus you’ll reap vitamin A and beta carotene.


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