Magazines are full of diets and advice for losing weight, but most of this advice centers on telling you which foods you should avoid. Losing weight doesn’t have to mean giving up the foods you enjoy; here are 20 ways to cut calories without giving up your favorite foods.
1. Switch to ‘diet’ drinks
The average can of cola contains around 140 calories; the average can of diet cola contains less than 5 calories. Each two liter bottle of cola will give you a whopping 800 calories – almost half of your daily calories. Switching to diet drinks can dramatically reduce your calorie intake.
2. Use skimmed milk
Many people don’t like the taste of skimmed milk on cereals or in cups of tea and coffee, but most people won’t notice the difference when it’s used in baked goods, soups and desserts.
3. Choose medium-sliced bread
Thick-sliced bread can contain up to 125 calories per slice; medium-sliced bread usually contains around 80 calories per slice. A whole loaf of thick-sliced bread could contain up to 600 more calories than a medium-sliced loaf!
4. Trim the fat from bacon
Bacon rind and excess fat can double the amount of calories you consume from each rasher of bacon. Trim off the excess fat, or buy pre-trimmed medallions.
5. Order boiled rice
When ordering from takeaways choose boiled, rather than fried, rice. If you find the taste of boiled rice a little too bland, stir in a couple of teaspoons of soy sauce for extra flavor.
6. Switch to mature cheese
Mature cheese saves calories because you use less. Using mature cheese can save up to half the amount of calories you would eat when using mild cheese.
7. Use spray oil when shallow frying food
One tablespoon of oil contains around 120 calories; commercially-produced pump bottles of spray oil can contain as little as 1 calorie per spray.
8. Remove the skin from chicken breasts before cooking
Chicken skin contains a high amount of fat; even if you remove the skin after cooking, the chicken will have absorbed a large amount of this fat.
9. Bake lattice-topped pies
Pastry has a large amount of fat, and high calorie content. Using a lattice top on your pies, rather than a full crust, will reduce the amount of pastry you use.
10. Order thin-crust pizza
Deep-pan pizza can contain up to twice as many calories as thin-crust pizza. Avoid adding extra portions of high-fat toppings, and try to reduce the amount of cheese you put on top.
11. Choose low-fat condiments
Most condiments, such as tomato ketchup, mayonnaise or salad cream, are available in low-calorie or reduced-fat varieties.
12. Hold the cheese
One slice of processed cheese contains almost 50 calories; choose a hamburger, rather than a cheeseburger, or ask the waiter not to put cheese on your burger.
13. Don’t ‘go large’
Super-sizing your meal could double the amount of calories you consume. A large fries contains almost twice as many calories as a regular portion.
14. Buy medium-size eggs
A large egg can contain around 120 calories, whereas a medium-size egg contains 70-80 calories.
15. Stick to filter coffee
The average cappuccino gives you around 100 calories, while a latte or mocha could give you up to 600 calories per cup. A regular filter coffee contains only 5-10 calories!
16. Have a low-fat chocolate fix
Chocolate cravings are a common cause of excess calorie intake; as soon as you feel the urge to eat some chocolate, drink a mug of low-calorie hot chocolate. This should satisfy any cravings you have, and all for just 40-50 calories.
17. Choose baked snacks and crisps
Pick baked crisp snacks instead of fried potato crisps. The average full-size packet of crisps contains 185 calories; the baked snack options can contain less than 100 calories for the same size pack.
18. Fill up on fruit before a meal
Eating one or two pieces of fruit before eating your main meal can reduce the amount of food you eat. Choose fruits with high water content, such as melons and pears.
19. Cook thick-cut or ‘steak’ chips
The smaller the chip, the more oil and fat it will absorb. Slice your potatoes into thick wedges of chunky chips, rather than thin French fries.
20. Choose lean meat
Avoid fatty cuts of meat, especially lamb and pork, as even a thin layer of fat will add a considerable amount of calories to your meal. Choose chops and steaks that have been trimmed of excess fat.