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I originally wrote this article for my former website whyamiunhealthy.com which I sold in January 2016
With the ever-increasing pressure to look good, from pictures in magazines to our favorite stars on the red carpet, it’s no wonder that we are flooded with information on how to lose weight and cut calories. Of course, exercise is a mandatory facet of staying healthy, but many of us have long working hours, and a trip to the gym is the last thing on our minds.
The following is a list of tips regarding seven everyday, common foods and ingredients that, with the right amendments, can help you effortlessly cut calories:
7 Easy Tips To Cut Down Your Daily Calories
1) Switch To Plant Based Milks
One of the easiest ways to cut out daily calories is by swapping dairy for an alternative such as almond, walnut or hemp. Milk is a widely used ingredient in many recipes, and is also used by people in tea and coffee, and on breakfast cereal each morning. It’s rarely drunk alone, which is why swapping dairy milk for a plant based alternative will barely register with your palate, but will make a marked difference to your calorie intake.
Dairy milk is rich in saturated fats, and one glass contains around 150 calories, comparatively more than the 80 or less found in almond, hemp or walnut milk. Moreover, plant based milks often contain more calcium than dairy milk.
2) Cook With Healthier Oils
Oil has been used in cooking for thousands of years, and is so well integrated into our methods that we almost couldn’t cook without it. However, most types of oil are calorie-dense. Coconut, olive and vegetable oils all have around 120 calories per tablespoon, and usually more than one tablespoon is used. Using non-stick sprays during cooking is one way to massively reduce your calorie intake, as they spray a fine layer across the whole surface of the pan, thinning out the oil, rather than pouring out a whole mass, using guesswork. This means that you end up using less of it, and thus consume less calories.
3) Eat Dark Chocolate
Many people around the world enjoy eating chocolate. In fact, it is arguably the most popular choice of treat for both adults and children, yet unfortunately, it is also very high in calories. However, there are healthier options when it comes to eating chocolate, so you don’t have to entirely cut it out of your diet. For example, dark chocolate has more cocoa solids and less sugar, and is therefore less calorific, whereas white chocolate is made entirely of cocoa butter, with no cocoa solids at all. This makes it incredibly fattening, and is best avoided if you are at all health conscious. Moreover, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, all the more reason to opt for dark over milk or white.
4) Watch out for Salad Dressing
Eating salad is of course a very healthy option, and should be encouraged. However, many people don’t realize that by eating a lot of salad, they could actually be consuming more calories than they they would by consuming something else, like a burger. This is because of the salad dressing. A French dressing in loaded with oil and mustard, and depending on the brand, can have as many as 150 calories per serving! Other dressings are rich in buttermilk, mayonnaise and other sources of saturated fats, and are best avoided. Dressing your salad with balsamic vinegar is a great way to reduce calories, and doesn’t compromise on flavor.
5) Quit Drinking Sugary drinks
Many people don’t associate drinks with calories, and assume that because they are not not solid they somehow ‘don’t count.’ However, this is an incredibly archaic attitude. It has long been acknowledged that drinks, such as lemonade and cola, are incredibly bad for your health. A can of cola contains 139 calories, and is drunk by many people regularly throughout the day. However, in a can of diet cola, there are fewer than 5 calories, so it really is worth the switch. You can also make your own lemonade, using freshly squeezed lemons, sugar and water. This allows you to control the amount of sugar that goes into your drink, and thus reduce calories.
6) Reduce Alcohol Intake
Following on from this idea, alcoholic drinks are another unwitting source of calories. The worst offenders are beer and cider, and depending on the brand, the calorie count is often well into the hundreds. However, many people like to relax and enjoy their weekends after a difficult week at work, and are unwilling to forgo this pleasure. Cutting out calories is as simple as making an informed choice of which alcoholic beverage you drink. For example, a shot of gin has only around 50 calories, and can be mixed with slimline tonic, and vodka has even fewer, at 30. If you are a wine drinker, then drier wines have fewer calories due to the reduced levels of sugar, so whether you prefer red or white, stick to dry.
7) Increase Chewing
In recent years, there has been an explosion of ludicrous suggestions to help you loose weight, including using dark coloured plates and liquefying all your meals. Whilst chewing your food more may at first sound like one of these harebrained schemes, there is actually truth behind it. It takes around 20 minutes for the brain to register that the stomach is full, and if you’re a fast eater, then you may have already finished an entire plate (and seconds) in under 20 minutes without realizing that you’ve eaten too much. However, by chewing your food more, you actually slow yourself down. Then, in 20 minutes time, you may decide to stop eating before you go for seconds. You therefore consume less calories in a single sitting.
It seems that cutting out calories and losing weight has never been easier. With the right amendments made to your favorite food groups, it wont even feel like dieting at all. It’s just a matter of making the right choices, and choosing the lighter options wherever possible. Of course, combined with exercise, the health benefits are augmented, but as this list proves, you don’t need to make drastic lifestyle choices to stay healthy.
If you enjoyed this, check out the 12 foods to eat for a flat stomach.