10 Easy Ways To Cut Calories
More and more doctor, dietitians, and nutritionists are taking the position that eliminating certain foods from your diet to lose weight does not work. The key is not eliminating foods. It is modifying your diet by reducing your daily calories to number needing to maintain your ideal or desired weight.
If you do not know how many calories you should be eating use my simple calorie estimator. You will need Microsoft Excel or excel spreadsheet comparable software. Click here for more information about the calorie estimator.
Small changes can make big differences, and cutting calories is the easiest way to lose weight. Here are 10 simple ways to reduce calories in your diet.
1. Replace whole milk with 2%, 1%, or Non-Fat (skim) milk.
For many years diet experts have recommended replacing full fat whole milk (3.25% milk fat) with low fat (1%) or skim milk. Switching from whole mile to skim milk saves 70 calories per cup (54 percent reduction). Here are the number of calories per cup (8oz., 240 ml) for the four varieties sold in the United States:
Whole Milk: 160
2% Milk: 130
1% Milk: 105
Nonfat Skim Milk: 90
Calorie Savings: Up to 70 per cup
2. Replace biscuits with dinner rolls.
This simple substitution can cut calories in half. Biscuits, homemade or prepared, are a dense combination of flour and fat. One large biscuit has 170 to 200 calories before adding butter, jam, or honey. For biscuits made with butter, adding a pat of butter adds 30 or more calories. Biscuits made with butter are also high in saturated fat.
Lighter, yeast dinner rolls are made with little or no fat. You can add fat in the form of butter or margarine.
Dinner rolls have between 80 to 100 calories per roll depending on size, ingredients, and density.
Calorie Savings: Up to 90 per roll without added butter or margarine.
3. Reduce Red Meat Consumption
Red meats, beef and pork, can be very high in fat and saturated fat which translates into calories. The recommended serving size is 4-ounces. But most Americans eat far more than that; 8-oz. hamburgers, 16-oz steaks.
There are two ways to reduce red meat consumption:
- Reduce portion size
- Replace red meat with fish or chicken
Instead of a large ribeye steak, eat a smaller, leaner cut like beef tenderloin with a few grilled or broiled shrimp for added protein. Beef tenderloin is a more expensive cut, but you are paying for tender, lean meat with little fat and no bones.
Poultry and fish are excellent substitutes for red meat. They are high in protein and lower in fat.
Calories per 4-oz. Serving (precooked weight):
Beef (T-Bone): 200
Chicken Breast, skinless: 170
Fish, Tilapia: 145
Calorie Savings: 30 to 55 per 4-oz. serving
4. Limit Pasta Portion Size To Between 1 To 3 Ounces
Italians do not eat pasta as an entree. Inexpensive pasta is served as an entree in most Italian-America restaurants, and the portions can be huge. In Italy, a small portion of pasta is served like an appetizer before the entree.
One ounce of dry pasta has about 100 calories. A large bowl containing 4 to 6 ounces (precooked weight) of pasta has 400 to 600 calories before you add the sauce.
One cup of meatless tomato sauce adds about 100 calories.
Calorie Savings: Up to 400 including sauce
5. Replace Regular (Sugar Sweetened) Soft Drinks With Sweetened Teas
A 12-ounce sugar sweetened soft drink has about 150 calories equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar. Most people do not add that much sugar to 12 ounces of any beverage.
Tea has virtually no calories. Drunk without any sweetener saves 150 calories per 12-oz. serving.
Avoid sweetened bottled tea. Many have as mush sugar as soft drinks.
6. Replace cheesecake with cheese and Fruit
Cheesecakes are loaded with saturated fat and sugar. One slice can have anywhere between 300 and 1,000 calories.
A piece of fresh fruit has between 80 to 100 calories. An ounce of cheese adds 70 to 100 calories.
Calories Savings: 100 to 800 calories
7. Reduce Bread Consumption
Breads are a major source of calories and sodium in the American diet. By reducing the amount of bread in your diet you reduce both calories and sodium.
Open-faced sandwiches or half a sandwich (save 70 to 120 calories.
Substitute on slice of bread for a large bagel (save 180 to 230 calories).
Replace 1-oz. of pretzels (110 calories) with whole grain popcorn (55 calories per cup).
8. Reduce Pie, Cake, and Pastry Consumption
Most calories from pies, sweet and savory, is due to the crust a type of thin biscuit made of flour and fat (butter or shortening).
Instead of pecan pie, eat pecans.
Instead of strawberry, apple, or other fruit pies, eat fresh fruit or fruit with cheese (see item 6 above).
More than 50 percent of a cakes calories come from frosting made with sugar or fat (whipped cream) and cream fillings.
Eat plain cakes or cake dusted with powdered sugar instead of sugar or whipped cream frosted cakes.
9. Stick With Regular Coffee
Brewed coffee has about 2 calories per 8-ounce serving. That is nothing compared to the sugar and fat ladened confections served by many coffee shops. Sure they taste great. But, they are all 20th century inventions to lure customers into paying high prices for a meals worth of calories from sugar and fat in one beverage. You are no longer drinking coffee. You are drinking a coffee flavored dessert.
An 8-oz. cup of coffee with 2 tablespoon of 2% milk and one teaspoon of sugar has as about 35 calories. Even a 20-ounce (venti) coffee with milk and sugar can have less than 100 calories versus 300 or more calories for 20-ounce speciality coffee.
10. Replace Pepperoni Pizza and Wings With Grilled Chicken Pizza
You can slash up to 1,000 calories from your daily diet by replacing thick crust, saturated fat ladened pepperoni pizza and fried chicken wings with a thin crust grilled chicken pizza. Prepared meats like pepperoni and cheese is loaded with fat, saturated fat, and sodium. When you use high quality ingredients, you do not need as much to provide great flavor.
Buffalo Wings was a great invention for restaurant owners trying to use leftover chicken wings, but they are not good for your waistline. Combining fatty fried chicken wings (most of the fat is in the skin which people eat) with high fat pepperoni pizza can easily provide a half day or more worth of calories in one meal.