At the end of the day we all love to eat. It’s a social event. It’s a comfort. It’s an experience. And sometimes it’s just something to do …
Problem is, when you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t just eat whatever and whenever you want to. You have to plan carefully and eat the right things, especially when you’re snacking or eating out.
Here are six tips to help you cut calories so you can enjoy your food without maxing out your calorie card.
1. Eat the right cereal
If you’re a cereal-for-breakfast person then you could be making your biggest diet mistake just after getting out of bed in the morning. Many people love to eat muesli or granola, and think these are health foods.
If you want to eat cereal, go for a bran cereal of some sort
Unfortunately both of these products – unless carefully selected – are full of sugar and other things which make them both unhealthy and calorie-dense.
If you want to eat cereal, go for a bran cereal of some sort. They are lighter in calories and contain more fibre than the muesli or granola so you get a good start to the day.
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If you are stuck on muesli or granola, make sure that the one you choose contains no added sugar. Have a small amount mixed together with some chopped up fruit in the morning. Go light on added yogurt or milk.
2. Pop don’t crisp
Crisps – or potato chips – are a big deal when it comes to snacks. They are salty, provide great texture and are FULL of calories you don’t really need.
Not the kind that comes premade in a bag though, the kind you have to make yourself.Season with a bit of salt and you have the closest healthy thing to crisps at a fraction of the calories, plus you’re getting some fibre (bonus – you’re saving some cash too!).
3. Snack smart
Snacking is one of the leading reasons that dieters don’t lose weight. Why?
Because our go-to snacks are usually high in fat, salt, sugar and calories! So if you’re a ‘snacker’ then you need to snack on the right foods.
Fresh fruit, a small handful of nuts, a wholegrain cracker or two, some natural peanut butter spread on apple wedges, or some veggies (carrots, celery, cucumbers) are the best choices. Try to choose foods that you won’t be able to eat too much of, and ones you can’t just eat mindlessly by the handful.
4. Pizza can be ok
If you’re a pizza lover then I have good news and bad news. The good news is that pizza CAN be an OK food to eat every now and then. The bad news is you’re going to have to change the type of pizza you’re thinking of.
Standard pizzas with all sorts of meat, sauce and extra cheese are a calorie and salt nightmare!
If you want a bit of pizza, the rules are:
It should be thin base, as little cheese as possible, vegetarian or grilled chicken and no weird sauces or other extras. Get added flavour through garlic, chili, basil and other spices and herbs, not through sauces. This type of pizza can be amazing, and if you eat it on occasion, it won’t hurt your diet.
5. The best dip
If you’re going to splurge on some dipping crisps (like gluten-free nachos), or you want something to dip your carrot sticks and cucumber into, then there is a BEST dipping spread for you to use. Hummus. It’s easily made at home, or can be store-bought and it’s super low in calories (compared to other dips) and high in fibre and nutrients.
If you want to really cut the calories, opt for fresh veg to dip instead of the nachos.
6. Pasta la vista calories!
Pasta has become a staple of many busy Western households, and it is yummy. There is an issue though. Pasta is generally highly refined and processed and falls in the category of ‘not-so-good-for-you’ when it comes to diet foods. Add the fact that most people overeat on this type of comfort food because we go into a carb-induced fog.
If you love pasta but want to eat it without sabotaging your diet, choose wholegrain pastas or gluten-free pastas. These are made with much healthier ingredients and come with fewer calories and more nutritional value than the plain white ones. You also usually get a better-tasting pasta this way too.
When it comes to your sauce, choose a tomato-based sauce (preferably home-made) rather than something cheesy and creamy. Try different pasta and veggie combos too.