In your efforts to lose weight, it’s easy to focus on what you can’t eat. Here are 10 ways you can enjoy what you love, and still cut 100 calories throughout your day.
Blend your own breakfast smoothie. Smoothies from specialty shops and restaurants can contain between 250 and 400 calories. Reduce your smoothie to 185 calories by making it at home. Combine ¾ cup frozen mixed fruit, 1 cup skim milk, ½ cup fresh spinach leaves, 1 teaspoon honey, and puree in a blender until smooth.
Eat the whole fruit. One hundred percent juices may seem like a quick alternative for a fruit serving, but a 16 ounce juice – a medium in most restaurants – contains 220 calories. While you may get a few vitamins, you are missing out on the valuable fiber, which can keep you feeling full. Allow yourself a little extra time for peeling, and go for the whole fruit. A medium orange has only 70 calories.
Order a coffee drink without the extras. A Starbucks Grande Café Mocha made with 2% milk and whipped cream contains 330 calories. Lose the whipped cream and you’ve already slashed the calories by 70. Order it with skim milk, and you will reduce it by 40 more -- a savings of 110 calories.
Make your own trail mix. Packaged trail mixes can contain as many as 425 calories in a half cup. Combine a tablespoon of chopped pecans, a tablespoon of raisins, and a tablespoon of chocolate chips with ½ cup unsweetened puffed brown rice cereal, and you’ll reduce the calories to 180.
Select the single. The double patty or double scoop is always tempting when you’re hungry. Learn to be satisfied with a single and it will save you loads of calories. A typical fast food cheeseburger with a single patty has about 300 calories, but order a double and you’ll consume a whopping 450 to 500 calories. This double burger alone can knock out a third of your calories for the day!
Eat only half of your afternoon vending machine snack. Afternoon visits to the vending machine can mean a snack that is more like a meal when it comes to calories. A regular pack of M&Ms and a 1.5-ounce bag of Lay’s potato chips each contain about 240 calories. Eat only half of your snack at one sitting and you’ve cut over 100 calories. Seal the pack and store it out of sight. Enjoy the rest of it tomorrow, and not only will you save calories, but you’ll save money too.
Cook dinner at home tonight. Butter contains about 100 calories per tablespoon, and even heart healthy extra-virgin olive oil contains 120 calories per tablespoon. By cooking at home, you can control the added fats in your meals -- greatly reducing your caloric intake. Add 1 tablespoon of butter instead of two and you’ve already slashed 100 calories.
Choose light beer over the regular options. Heavier beers such as Budweiser American Ale, Sam Adams Winter Lager, and Sam Adams Double Bock contain 180 to 310 calories per 12 ounces. Choose a light beer such as Bud Light, Coors Light, or Sam Adams Light, and cut your caloric intake down to 95 to 120 calories per 12 ounces.
Substitute sparkling water for one daily soda. Each 12-ounce regular cola you drink contains about 144 calories. Break the habit with sparkling water. Combine 3 ounces of 100% orange juice with sparkling water for the sweetness and carbonation you crave, and it will only set you back 42 calories.
For a treat, indulge in dark chocolate. According to the National Institutes of Health, the benefits of chocolate come from the cocoa solids. Generally, the darker the chocolate the more solids, therefore the greater the health benefit. Candy bars are filled with sugar and fat, and less of the beneficial cocoa solids. Most regular-sized candy bars have 230 to 280 calories. Give yourself the treat of two Ghirardelli 60% dark chocolate squares and take in only 110 calories.