I'm all about making healthier choices that don't make me feel like I'm depriving myself. Even better? When I can cut a few calories at a time without missing them — those saved calories can really add up once you've finished the week.
If you're trying to lose weight, a mindful diet plan full of whole foods and lots of nutrients is as important as your exercise routine. But if you've got a healthy routine going but still feel like you'd like to save a few calories here and there, here are some suggestions to make those healthy meals even healthier and cut hundreds of calories in the process.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so make sure your meal measures up to the meal's significance. You should eat soon after waking up in order to get your body's metabolism revved up for the day ahead.
How to cut calories: Instead of granola, opt for oatmeal.
Why: Both are healthy options, but if you're looking to cut a few calories switch from your daily granola to a bowl of oatmeal. While granola and nonfat yogurt clocks in at about 290 calories, a packet of oatmeal (made with water) will set you back about 160 calories, saving you 130 calories. Using skim milk instead of water will increase the calorie count of your oatmeal to about 205 calories, but you'll still be saving a total 425 calories if you sub oatmeal for granola throughout the work week.
Check out more of my suggestions for shaving hundreds of calories from your day after the break.
A lunch that keeps you filled and energized is the best option for beating afternoon slumps. For me, a salad topped with tomatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and a healthy dose of protein ensures that I eat my veggies and steers me away from any fried food options. But while all the vegetables may be healthy, dousing a salad in fat-filled salad dressing can ruin any good caloric intentions.
How to cut calories: Steer away from prepared salad dressings at the salad bar.
Why: The fat and calorie count of prepared salad dressings may be a mystery. Not only that, but many salad bar ladles hold double the amount of a normal two-tablespoon serving, so you could be adding hundreds of calories to your salad without even knowing it. Opt for balsamic vinegar and olive oil salad dressing (50 calories per two-tablespoon serving). Or substitute salad dressing with salsa — a two-tablespoon serving of salsa is only eight calories, meaning you could be saving hundreds of calories if you dress your salad with salsa instead of normal salad dressing (Annie's Goddess dressing, for example, has 130 calories in a two-tablespoon serving).
Socializing after work doesn't have to be unhealthy. Be mindful of your options and share your snacks to keep calories down.
How to cut calories: Stay away from fried foods and sugar-laden cocktails.
Why: Subbing shrimp cocktail instead of fried calamari, for example, will save you around 230 calories. As for drinks, you don't have to stick with boring vodka and soda. Ask for one of these Summery cocktails that clock in under 200 calories, and you won't be missing that 500-plus calorie margarita.
A long day of working and working out can leave you feeling famished by the time you make it home. A balanced, healthy meal will keep you satisfied so the fridge doesn't look extra welcoming as the evening wears on.
How to cut calories: Cut the size of your starchy side and up the vegetable portions.
Why: When cooking at home, it can be easy to pile up your plate with serving sizes that are bigger than necessary. To shave a few calories off your end-of-day meal, try cutting the size of any higher-calorie sides like rice. Cutting a serving size of either brown rice or quinoa from 1/2 a cup (about 108 calories) to a 1/4 cup will save you about 50 calories. Or nix the grains entirely and opt for steamed vegetables to fill your plate — 5 spears of broccoli, for example, is only around 50 calories.
How do you shave a few calories from your day?